Wisdom's Lilly Roy (left) and Fort Kent's Julia Cyr both have their eyes set on the ball at a soccer game between their teams on Monday, Oct. 17 in St. Agatha. Credit: Jessica Potila / St. John Valley Times

Eight-player soccer has been set into motion by the Maine Principals’ Association, pending a vote in April. The move would make Maine the first state in the country to offer eight-player soccer at a high school level.

How would the sport work? Here’s what we know.

How did the MPA decide on eight players?

Teams need a minimum of seven rostered players, per National Federation of State High School Athletics rules. Starting eight players gives teams wiggle room in case a player gets sent off from a red card or leaves due to injury. If the number of players on the field drops below seven, the team has to forfeit.

Will eight-player teams still be able to play against 11-player rivals?

The teams that decide to play the eight-player version next season will be able to play 11-player teams four times a season. The teams can negotiate how many players will play on each team. If there is not a consensus on the number of players, teams will field their normal amount of players.

Which classes will be affected?

The current Class D North and South ranks would be the only ones that change numbers, with some teams moving to eight-player. There are currently 36 teams in Class D North and 25 teams in Class D South.

Classes A, B and C are all staying the same, according to MPA Assistant Executive Director Mike Bisson.

The new eight-player class will also include a North and South designation.

Will eight-player teams play on smaller fields?

Even though there will be fewer kids on the field, the field dimensions will still need to be within NFHS standards for eight-player games. All high school soccer fields must be within 55 to 80 yards wide and 100 to 120 yards long.

When do schools have to decide whether to switch to eight-player?

If the class is approved, Maine high school Class D teams will have until July to decide to join eight-player soccer or not. At least 21 schools from Class D North and 20 from D South have already expressed interest in joining the new class.

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Adam Robinson

Adam Robinson is a native of Auburn, Maine, and graduate of Husson University and Edward Little High School. He enjoys sports, going on runs and video games.