The MASL today announced a goalkeeper possession rule change ahead of the 2021-22 season designed to increase the offensive pace of the game. The change comes after research, training sessions, and discussion determined that teams were playing the ball back to the goalkeeper too many times during a possession.
Once the goalkeeper, or sixth attacker, deliberately releases the ball from his possession by foot, he is not permitted to touch the ball again in his defensive half of the field until:
- After an opponent has touched the ball;
- The ball has gone out of play (out of bounds);
- Any other whistled stoppage of play for fouls, infractions, injury, timeout, etc.
A ball released by hand from a save or goalkeeper distribution shall not be considered the first possession, so the goalkeeper is permitted an additional possession after release.
If the goalkeeper is in violation of this rule, the opposing team will be awarded a free-kick at the point of the foul, or if it takes place within the goal box, a restart at the top of the arc.
The new rule will be in effect beginning with MASL pre-season games and as explained by Commissioner Keith Tozer, “In the MASL we want the ball going forward as much as we can. Our research found that too many balls passed back to the goalkeeper tended to slow the game down. Our game is very technical and geared to offensive play so modifying this rule can only enhance our game.”
The MASL regular-season will kick off on Friday, November 26 with the St. Louis Ambush hosting the Kansas City Comets.