This comes courtesy of media spokesman Bruce Howard of the National Federation of State High School Associations:
In a continued emphasis on improving sportsmanship, the "soft red" has been eliminated in high school soccer.
Effective with the 2012-13 season, a second yellow card not only will disqualify a player, but the team will not be permitted to substitute for the disqualified player. Previously, a team was permitted to replace a player who had received a second yellow card.
This significant change was one of three rules revisions passed by the NFSHA Soccer Rules Committee at its Jan. 23-25 meeting in Indianapolis. These changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
Another change in Rule 12-8-1f now will disqualify a player who deliberately handles a ball in his/her own penalty area to prevent it from going in the goal only when the attempt to deny the goal is successful. If a goal is scored, the penalty is now a caution.
Previously, a player was disqualified for trying to stop a goal from being scored, whether the try was successful or not.
"Obviously, with two of our three changes this year in Rule 12 (fouls and misconduct), the Soccer Rules Committee continues to focus on improving the level of sportsmanship in high school soccer," said Mark Koski, NFHS director of sports and events and liaison to the Soccer Rules Committee.
The other change approved by the committee involves the taking of a penalty kick.
If some unusual situation occurs after the penalty kick is properly taken and before the ball is played or touched by another player, or before the ball hits the goalpost or crossbar, which necessitates a temporary suspension in play, the penalty kick shall be retaken. Previously, this would have resulted in a drop ball.
"As an example, if the ball deflated immediately after a penalty kick was taken and play was suspended, the player now will have the opportunity to attempt the penalty kick again," Koski said.
Soccer is the fifth-most popular sport for boys and girls at the high school level.
According to the 2010-11High School Athletics Participation Survey, 398,351 boys are involved in soccer and 361,556 girls participate in the sport.