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High School Notebook: New season brings few minor rules changes

Photo credit: Ed Thompson

Finally, after three plus weeks of preseason preparation, and a full off season to prepare, high school teams will begin to play in games for real starting Friday afternoon.

We’ve begun coverage this week as our contributors Ryan Kelly and Ed Rosensteel have posted players to watch both for boys and girls. (see below)

There have been a few rules changes — and I’ll get to those below as well.

This season Pittsburgh Soccer Now plans to stay on top of the WPIAL scene throughout the regular season with coverage of a few featured matches, provide the latest and ongoing news, occasional features, a weekly notebook and nightly scoreboard blog with the latest updates.

Follow @pghsoccernow on Twitter or Facebook page for the latest updates.  If you have any news or updates to report, you can send us a direct message on those platforms or email us at

On Twitter, we encourage all teams posting updates be sure to use Hashtag #WPIALSoccer throughout the season or include @pghsoccernow in any key updates (halftime or final scores, photos, goals with or without highlights)


WPIAL boys soccer players to watch (2019)


WPIAL girls soccer players to watch (2019)


Also, while the big news in July was that WPIAL’s proposal to have a pilot program that would switch officiating from three whistles to one was rejected by PIAA board, under the current system, there have been a few rules changes of note.

  1. The clock shall be stopped when a substitute by the team in the lead is beckoned on the field
    in the final five minutes of the second period (or overtime).
  2. Improperly Equipped Players: Allows a player, who is improperly equipped, to correct the issue immediately or to be removed from the contest and legally replaced. The team does not have to play short-handed unless it is the choice of the coach
  3. Allows for a restart of the game with a drop ball following a temporary suspension of play for an injury or unusual situation and the goalkeeper is not in
    possession of the ball.
  4. Any number of players may contest a dropped ball and that the referee may not decide who should contest the dropped ball.
  5. A dropped ball shall be dropped again if it touches a player before it touches the ground or leaves the field of play after it touches the ground without touching a player.
  6. If a dropped ball enters the goal without touching at least two players, play is restarted with a goal kick if it enters the opponent’s goal or a corner kick if it enters the team’s own

Also, for clarification, the PIAA re-issued this information regarding its overtime rules for the regular season.

Regular Season Tournament Overtime – Overtime during regular season matches AND regular
season tournaments will be 2 ten minute sudden victory periods. The periods cannot be shortened.
For regular season tournaments if no team scores during the 2 ten minute periods, proceed to penalty kicks to determine a winner.

You can find more on these rules changes in much more detail in PIAA Soccer preseason bulletins for July and August.


Regular season games begin this weekend most boys and girls teams will begin play. Many will be taking part in tournaments with games extending to a few very rare Sunday matches that are allowed due to Labor Day weekend.

Pittsburgh Soccer Now will be bringing updates through the weekend by kicking off our daily scoreboards, but we’ll also be kicking off our featured coverage of select games this season with the East-West Classic at Highmark Stadium. As part of our featured coverage of this annual tournament that brings together six top teams from the West and East, we’ll also be providing audio broadcast on Facebook Live, with Spencer Witt on the play-by-play, and Ryan Kelly joining him at times with analysis.

Boys teams from Quaker Valley, Mt. Lebanon, and West Allegheny high schools will represent the West. Exeter, Fleetwood, and Wilson high schools will represent the East. 

“It’s the ultimate litmus test,” Bill Perz, Mount Lebanon’s head coach, said. “Playing against real quality opposition, this early in the season is the best way to put our players in uncomfortable positions.”

Tournament organizers have created this pretty nice video/commercial that celebrates what’s become an annual tradition for more than 20 years.

Look for more on the East-West classic including the schedule, game previews and more on PSN shortly.

Matt Harkins will also have a preview of South Hills Classic — and will join me at the East-West Classic reporting on the matches.  Our Ed Thompson will begin another season of capturing WPIAL action for us as well, as he’ll be at Highmark too.

Other key match-ups/tournaments of note include:


  • Peters Township Tournament – six teams across most classifications will clash here on Friday and Saturday including: Peters Twp, defending 3A WPIAL champions Franklin Regional, Greensburg Central Catholic, Thomas Jefferson, Penn-Trafford and North Catholic.
  • Chartiers Valley is hosting a tournament that includes the WPIAL 4A finalists from last year, Norwin and Seneca Valley, though they won’t be playing each other.
  • Last year’s 3A PIAA runner-up Deer Lakes will be stepping out of the WPIAL to host Erie Cathedral Prep on Saturday.
  • South Fayette vs Montour renew acquaintances in a non-section match between nearby 3A rivals on Saturday


  • The South Hills Classic is the biggest tournament in the area, with eight schools participating on Friday and Saturday. The list includes Chartiers Valley, Butler, Peters Township, Erie McDowell, Pine-Richland, Mt. Lebanon, Mercyhurst Prep and South Park.
  • Maybe the most fascinating Friday match pits 4A North Allegheny vs 3A WPIAL runner-up Mars.
  • Saturday brings a terrific match-up between the two WPIAL champs in 3A and 4A last year — Seneca Valley vs Oakland Catholic.
  • Canon-McMillan travels to Franklin Regional in a 4A vs 3A match on Saturday
  • Moon takes on neighboring West Allegheny in a cross-section match between 4A and 3A teams


Sharpless ruled ineligible

Last week, WPIAL ruled that last year’s girls leading goal scorer across all classifications, Jayden Sharpless, was ruled ineligible after transferring from Freedom to North Catholic.

Sharpless ruled ineligible by WPIAL after transferring from Freedom to North Catholic

Important dates to remember

Also, we re-posted some information that was in previous Notebook, so you have something to bookmark when looking at the key dates this season.

Key dates in WPIAL/PIAA 2019 soccer season



John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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