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Soccer Rules:

Sports >> Soccer >> Soccer Rules

There are a number of ways that play is started in soccer. They are outlined below:

Soccer Kickoff

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.

Player getting ready to
take a free kick
Source: US Army
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:
Soccer Goal Kick

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: Soccer Corner Kick

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:

Player getting ready to
throw the ball in bounds
Source: US Air Force

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.

Soccer Throw-In

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:

More Soccer Links:

Soccer Rules
Soccer Field
Substitution Rules
Length of the Game
Goalkeeper Rules
Offside Rule
Fouls and Penalties
Referee Signals
Restart Rules

Soccer Gameplay
Controlling the Ball
Passing the Ball
Playing Defense

Strategy and Drills
Soccer Strategy
Team Formations
Player Positions
Set Plays or Pieces
Individual Drills
Team Games and Drills

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