USA Field Hockey

All questions, unless otherwise indicated, are answered by Steve Horgan, our nation's rules interpreter. If you have a question, please look through the questions that have already been answered. If your question hasn't been asked, please use this form to submit your question.


Q: When the goalie kicks the ball in the air and it goes 20 yards, that is a penalty corner correct?

A: The goalkeeper is allowed to kick the ball into the air. If in doing so the goalkeeper is judged to have played dangerously, a penalty corner will be awarded. The judgement of danger and where the umpire feels the dangerous action occurred will determine where the free hit is taken or if a penalty corner should be awarded.


Q: With 3 seconds left in regulation a 16 yard hit is awarded to the defending team who is ahead 2-1. The defender taking the hit turns and takes a big drive to the back-line and sends the ball directly out of bounds. Deliberate out of bounds?...penalty corner? or game over?

A: If the ball goes beyond the back-line before time expires, the umpire should award a penalty corner. If time expires before the ball crosses the back-line, the game is over.


Q: I would like a clarification on a ruling for a high school game or NCAA game. What would the penalty be for a defensive player who picked up the ball using their hand in front of the goal cage and put it out of bounds? The ball was in play in front of the cage and there was a potential of a goal. The umpire gave a yellow card to the player and gave a stroke to the attack. Could or should a red card be given in this situation? It was deliberately done by the player in front of the cage. Thank you for your clarification. I have been umpiring for 25 years and playing longer and have never seen or heard of this before. It happened in a game last night in a high school game.

A: A penalty stroke should be automatic as the action you described prevented a probable goal or the chance for a player to legitimately play the ball. This is the technical penalty for the action.

Due to the fact that the action described is a total disregard for the rules and parameters of the game, a red card would be the appropriate personal penalty at any level of game.


Q 2011-09-23: At our college game the umpire said to let her know when the suspension was over so she could manage the player's return to the game. I thought our timer was supposed to time the suspension and release the player. Does it matter?

A: When the time indicated by the umpire is served properly, the player may enter without notification or any administration from the umpire.