Per the AYSO guidelines, with limited exceptions (illness, injury, late-arriving players), each player on a team must play at least two quarters. In addition, no player can play in four quarters unless all other players on the team play in at least three quarters - this is called the three-quarters rule. In other words, no player can play in all four quarters when other players only play in two or fewer quarters. A player is considered to have played in a quarter when they are on the field of play at the start of the quarter. If a player must leave the field of play after the start of a quarter, for example due to injury, the quarter is not counted for the substitute player.
The same players should not play in more quarters than other players in every game. The players that get to play in more quarters for a game should be rotated each week. Thus, by the end of the season, all of the players should have played in approximately the same number of quarters.
Exceptions are allowed when a player will not be in attendance for the entire game. When a player arrives after the start of the second quarter: a player that arrives duing the second quarter must play in the final two quarters and a player that arrives during the third quarter must play in the fourth quarter. If a coach knows that a player is going to need to leave a match early, the coach must take that into account in order to still be in compliance with the minumum playing time requirements.
Illness and injury can also be a reason for a player participating in fewer quarters than normally required.
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