The SPL is sanctioned as a fully amateur league. It is important for all teams to understand the rules of amateurism. Each member Club should ensure players maintain amateur eligibility, as the Club would be held responsible for jeopardizing amateurism if there is a violation. The United States has two governing bodies on amateurism: FIFA and the college (NCAA/NAIA/NJCAA/etc.).
College amateurism and eligibility will be put in jeopardy if an athlete:- Receives compensation that exceeds actual and necessary expenses- Receives compensation for media appearances based on your athletic ability or fame- Endorsing commercial products or services- Accepting prize money beyond the actual/necessary expenses- Accepting money from an agent or agency- Participating with a player, on the same team, who is considered a professional player
No amateur teams should ever use the terminology "professional" or "semi-professional" as the term "professional" could jeopardize amateurism. All players must sign a registration form from the Club and SPL that reinforces if a player is amateur or professional. A player who wishes to sign with a professional team must have completed college eligibility or be advised that upon signing as an amateur player on a professional team, the player will lose college eligibility.
A professional player may be reinstated as an amateur only with the permission of that team and the Amateur National State Association or Professional League with which the Club is affiliated. An application for reinstatement to amateur status must be made on the USSF Amateur Reinstatement Form and both the completed form and the applicable fee ($50.00) must be filed with the appropriate Federation. The Federation shall issue approval of the reinstatement to amateur status within fourteen (14) days after receipt, appropriate fees, and compliance with Federation rules. However, the player's reinstatement to amateur status is not effective until the day after the thirty (30) day time period has elapsed from the day that the player competed in his last match with his/her team as a professional player. This is in accordance with FIFA's Regulations Governing the Status and Transfer of Football Players.
A professional player who is not currently registered as a professional player with any professional division team or league, who has not been a party to a professional player contract with a professional division team or league for a period of one year or longer, and who has not applied for reinstatement as an amateur, shall be automatically reinstated to amateur status by the Secretary-General unless the player affirmatively states in writing that he/she does not wish to be reinstated to amateur status.
College Player Eligibility for SPL
- Any player signed to or enrolled in college on scholarship or as a walk-on qualifies as a collegiate player for that school.- Any Division I, Division II, Division III, or NAIA player, with or without remaining NCAA eligibility, is permitted to play on an SPL amateur team.- College players are not permitted to train, practice or play with any SPL amateur teams during their scheduled season.- SPL amateur teams ARE NOT to promote the respective league as professional or semi-professional.- SPL amateur teams cannot provide any players more than actual and necessary expenses or they will be considered a professional team.- SPL amateur teams are permitted to employ college players as camp coaches for summer youth soccer camps, but no amateur or professional players on an SPL amateur team are permitted to receive any compensation for playing.- College players are also not permitted to receive any complimentary equipment or apparel from SPL amateur or team sponsors. College players must either turn in all team equipment at the end of the season or purchase it from the team at fair market value.- A student-athlete may compete outside of the institution's declared playing and practice season as a member of an outside team in any non-collegiate, amateur competition, provided:- Such participation occurs no earlier than May 1st.- The competition is approved by the institution's director of athletics.- No class time is missed for practice activities or for competition.- A student-athlete may compete outside of the institution's declared playing and practice season as a member of an outside team in any non-collegiate, amateur competition during any official vacation period published in the institution's catalog.- NO SPL clubs may play with more than five (5) student-athletes with eligibility remaining in NCAA DI. There is no limit for NCAA DII, DIII, NAIA, or NJCAA.- NO NCAA student-athletes with eligibility remaining may participate with an SPL team if there is a member of the institution's soccer team involved in any capacity, at any time with the team.
Before initial full-time collegiate enrollment, defined as participating with a team or in the fall/spring term, an individual may compete on a professional team provided he/she does not receive more than the necessary expenses on the team.