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There are a number of ways that play is started in soccer. They are outlined below:
The kickoff is used to start each period in soccer and to restart the game after a goal. Generally the kickoff for the first period is determined by a coin toss. The other team then gets to kickoff for the second period. When one team scores a goal, the other team gets to start the next kickoff.
For a kickoff the ball is placed in the very center of the field. Each team must stay on their side of the field and only the kickoff team can enter the center circle. The player who kicks the ball first cannot touch it again until another player has touched it. In other words, he must pass the ball to another player to start.
Fun fact: It is legal to score a goal directly from a kickoff.
Soccer Free Kick
A free kick can be awarded by the referee to a team when a foul occurs. There are two types of free kicks.
Direct - On a direct free kick the ball can be kicked directly into the opponents goal.
Indirect - You can not score a goal on an indirect free kick. The ball must touch another player first.
Rules for free kicks:
- The ball is kicked from the point of the penalty. If a direct free kick is awarded within the penalty area, then it will be a penalty kick.
- Opponents must stay at least 10 yards from the point of the kick. Often players will form a "wall" of players at 10 yards to try and protect the goal on a direct kick.
- If the ball is kicked into the opponent's goal on an indirect free kick, no goal is scored and the opposing team gets a goal kick.
- If the ball is kicked into your own goal on a free kick, then the other team gets a corner kick.
- The kicker can not touch the ball a second time until after another player has touched the ball.
When the attacking team kicks the ball over the goal line, a goal kick will be awarded to the defending team. The goal kick is taken from anywhere within the goal area. Anyone can take the kick, but it's usually taken by the goal keeper.
Rules for goal kicks:
- The opposing team must remain outside the penalty area.
- The kicker can not touch the ball again until after another player has touched it.
When ball crosses the goal line and it was last touched by the defending team, a corner kick is awarded to the attacking team. Corner kicks are exciting and goals are often scored as a result. Many times goals are scored by players heading the ball into the goal from the corner kick.
Rules for corner kicks:
- The ball must be placed in the corner arc. The nearest corner arc to where the ball crossed the goal line is used.
- Opponents must be at least 10 yards from the ball.
- The kicker can't touch the ball again until another player has touched it.
Soccer Out of Bounds
The ball is considered out of bounds or out of play when it completely crosses the goal (end) line or touch (side) line. It must completely cross the line, meaning that 100% of the ball must cross 100% of the line.
All that matters is that the ball is over the line. The player's position doesn't matter. Also, it doesn't matter if the ball is on the ground or in the air, if it crosses the line, it is out of bounds.
When the ball crosses the touch (side) line it is considered out of play and a throw-in is awarded to the team that did not touch the ball last.
Rules for throw-ins:
- They are taken from the spot where the ball went over the touch line.
- The player throwing must face the playing field and have both feet touching the ground. The feet can be on the touch line or outside the field, but not inside the field.
- The player must use both hands to throw the ball and must throw the ball from behind, over the head.
- You can not score a goal from a throw-in.
- Opponents must stay 2 yards away.
- The player throwing the ball cannot touch the ball again until another player has touched the ball.
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