Soccer Rules – An Introduction
This is the 3rd part of a 3 part series on the 17 basic rules in the game of soccer
11. The Offside Rule – It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.
A player is in an offside position if:
• he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent
A player is not in an offside position if:
• he is in his own half of the field of play
• he is level with the second last opponent
• he is level with the last two opponents
Committing an Offside Offence
A player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:
• interfering with play
• interfering with an opponent
• gaining an advantage by being in that position
There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from:
• a goal kick
• a throw-in
• a corner kick
12. Fouls and Misconduct – There’s a difference between fouls and misconduct that many people fail to understand. A foul can occur when a player tries to get the ball from his opponent and kicks him or pushes him away accidentally, whereas misconduct means that a player willfully targets his opponent and punches, kicks or pushes him away.
Fouls can only occur when the ball is in play, but misconduct can occur when it’s out of play as well. Depending on the seriousness of the foul or misconduct, the referee can penalize it with a yellow or red card in addition to a free kick or penalty kick.
13. Free Kicks – Players from the opposing team must be at least 9.15 meters away from the position where the free kick will be struck. Also, the player that kicks the ball initially on a free kick cannot touch it again until a teammate or opposing player touches it.
14. Penalty Kicks – Penalty kicks are conceded when a defended player fouls or commits handball inside the 18 yard box (the penalty box). It’s important to know that not all offences inside the penalty box are punished with a penalty kick. For example, if a player commits dangerous play inside his own penalty box, the referee will award an indirect free kick from the place that the offence occurred.
When the penalty kick is taken, the only two players in the 18 yard box are the penalty taker and the defending team’s goalkeeper. Everyone else must sit outside the box and can only move towards the ball once it is kicked. So if the penalty is saved by the goalkeeper or strikes the bar, a player could run from the edge of the box and gain possession.
15. The Throw In – When the ball goes out of play on the side lines, the opponent of the player who last touched the ball will take a throw in. The throwing method has to follow some rather strict rules; otherwise the referee might dictate a throw in for the other team. The player taking the throw must keep his feet outside the side line, with the sole on the ground and the actual throw must be executed with the ball over the thrower’s head.
16. The Goal Kick – The goal kick is a means of restarting play after the attacking team took the ball over the defending team’s byline. The goal kick acts as a direct free kick, so if a player would kick the ball so hard that it would reach the opposing team’s goal and score, the goal would count.
One extra soccer rule regarding the goal kick states that the kick must be powerful enough to pass the penalty area. So in case the goalkeeper executes the goal kick and passes the ball to a teammate in his own penalty box, the goal kick is re-taken.
17. The Corner Kick – The last of the 17 rules of soccer refers to the corner kick, which occurs when the ball passes over the defending player’s goal line, with a defender having touched the ball last. The corner kick acts as a direct free kick taken from the corner of the pitch (if the ball passes the line on the left of the goal, the corner is taken from the left corner and if it passes on the right, the corner is taken from the right corner).
The same rules as for a direct free kick apply, in that opposing players must be at least 9.15 meters away from the corner, the corner taker may score directly from the corner kick and the kicker can’t play the ball a second time until it’s touched by another player. The only additional rule is that the ball be placed in the corner semi circle.
I hope that this series has enlightened and educated on the complex rules regarding the incredible game of soccer.