One of the most complicated rules in soccer is the offside rule.
What does it mean to be offside?
You are offside when you are on the opponent's side of the field and you don't have either the ball or two players from the other team between you and the goal. We'll go through some examples below to help make sense of this.
Other things to know:
Offside position versus offside offense
- The goalkeeper counts as one of the two players.
- You are not offside if you are even with either or both of the two players.
One thing to know is that just because you are offside, it doesn't mean you get a penalty. If you are just standing offside, that is generally okay. If you are standing offside and then get involved in the play, then that is an offside offense.
Other things to know:
- Your offside position is determined when the ball is touched by a member of your team. This means that if you are not offside at the moment your team member kicks the ball to pass it to you, then you can legally pursue the pass.
- Offside can be a very difficult call to make for the referees. Different angles can make the same play look different to different people playing the game.
- The penalty for an offside offense is a free kick for the opposing team.
The player is offside because only one player (the goalkeeper) is between the player and the goal when the pass is made.
Here the player is not offside because two players are between him and the goal.
In this example the player is not offside because there are two players between him and the goal at the time when the ball is kicked for the pass.
Can you ever be legally offside?
Yes, there are a few exceptions:
Why do they have the offside rule?
- During a corner kick, goal kick, or throw-in you can't be offside.
- If the other team kicks the ball to you while you are in an offside position, you will not be called offside.
- Like we mentioned above, you can be in an offside position, but as long as you don't participate in the play, you will not be called offside.
The idea behind the offside rule is to keep forwards from hanging out by the goalie all the time. This would make scoring a goal much easier. Without the rule there would be lot more scoring, but the game might not be as interesting or challenging.
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