Laws of Soccer Made Easy

We encourage players, parents, and coaches to become familiar with soccer rules (called "laws") to enjoy the game better. This brief summary is no substitute for reading the laws of soccer to get a fuller explanation of what they all mean, but should help you get familiar with the laws most commonly applied.

 

Also See FIFA Laws of the Game

 

Goal

A score occurs if the ball passes under the crossbar, between the goalposts, and all of the ball passes completely over the outside edge of the goal line.

 

Throw-in

If all of the ball passes completely over the outside edge of the touchline (sideline), the restart is a throw-in. The throw-in is taken by the team that did not last touch the ball. An improper throw-in or a throw-in taken from the wrong spot results in a throw-in for the opposing team.

 

Goal Kick

If all of the ball passes over the goal line, it was last touched by an attacking player, and a valid goal was not scored, the restart is a goal kick. The ball is placed in the goal area and kicked by a member of the defending team. All attacking players must remain outside the penalty area until the ball leaves the penalty area. A goal may be scored directly from a goal-kick.  The ball is not in play until it leave the penalty area.

 

Corner Kick

If all of the ball passes over the goal line, it was last touched by a defensive player, and a valid goal was not scored, the restart is a corner kick. The ball is placed in the corner arc and kicked by an attacking player. A goal may be scored directly from a corner-kick.  If all of the ball is kicked over the goal line from the corner kick, a goal kick is awarded to the defending team.

 

Drop Ball

When the game is stopped while the ball is in play, for a reason other than an infraction of the laws, the game is restarted with a drop ball.

 

Direct Free Kick Foul (foul resulting in a direct or penalty kick)

A direct free kick is the sanction awarded at the point of infraction for any one of the ten direct free kick fouls. For the complete wording and understanding of these infractions you must read the actual laws of the game.  There are four conditions that must occur for a foul to be awarded.  1. By a player 2. Against an opponent 3. During play 4. On the field of play.  This is an overview of the infractions that result in a direct kick.

1.      Kicking or attempting to kick an opponent

2.      Tripping or attempting to trip an opponent

3.      Jumping at an opponent

4.      Charging an opponent

5.      Striking or attempting to strike an opponent

6.      Pushing an opponent

7.      Making contact with an opponent before contacting the ball when making a tackle

8.      Holding an opponent

9.      Spitting at an opponent

10.   Deliberately handling the ball (except by goal-keeper in his or her own penalty area)

 

Penalty Kick

If one of the ten direct free kick fouls is committed by the defense in its own penalty area, the sanction awarded to the attacking team is a penalty kick. The ball is placed on the penalty mark, the kicker is identified, the goal-keeper is positioned on the goal-line and may not move forward until the ball is kicked. All other players must remain outside the penalty area and penalty arc and not closer to the goal-line than the penalty mark until the ball has been kicked.  Time is extended for a penalty kick taken at the end of half-time, full-time, or over-time. 

 

Indirect Free Kick Foul

An indirect free kick is the sanction awarded at the point of infraction for any indirect free kick foul. Again, this is an overview. The law book must be consulted for a complete wording and understanding.

1.      Goal-keeper takes more than six seconds while controlling the ball with his hands before releasing it from his possession.

2.      Goal-keeper touches the ball again with his hands after it has been released from his possession and has not been touched by any other player.

3.      Goal-keeper touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately passes to him by a teammate.

4.      Goal-keeper touches the ball with his hands after he has received if directly from a throw-in taken by a teammate.

5.      Dangerous play

6.      Impeding the progress of an opponent by interposing oneself between the opponent and the ball not within playing distance of the ball.

7.      Prevents the goal-keeper from releasing the ball from his hands.

8.      Commits any other offense, not previously mentioned in Law 12, for which play is stopped to caution or dismiss a player.

 

Free Kicks

* Direct Free Kick

On a direct free kick, a valid goal is scored if the ball is kicked directly into the opponent's goal.

* Indirect Free Kick

On an indirect free kick, the ball must touch another player in addition to the kicker prior to a goal being scored. The referee signals an indirect free kick by holding an arm in the air until the ball is played or touched by another player or goes out of bounds.

 

Advantage

The referee applies the advantage clause to allow play to continue if, in his or her opinion, it would be more advantageous to the fouled team to continue play than to be awarded a free kick. If the referee applies the advantage clause and the advantage that was anticipated does not develop within a few seconds, the referee shall penalize the original offense.  If, in the opinion of the referee, the foul was egregious enough to warrant a caution or send off, the referee must do so at the next stoppage of play.

 

Off-side

A player is in an off-side position if he or she is nearer to the opponents' goal-line than the ball, unless the player is in his or her own half of the field, or there are at least two opponents between the attacker and the goal-line. It is not an offense in itself to be in an off-side position. A player shall only be penalized for being in an off-side position if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by a teammate, he or she is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in the play by:

  • interfering with play
  • interfering with an opponent
  • gaining an advantage by being in that position

A player shall not be declared off-side by the referee merely because of being in an off-side position or if the ball is received directly from a goal kick, a corner kick, or a throw-in. If a player is declared off-side, the referee shall award an indirect free kick, which shall be taken by a player of the opposing team from the place where the infringement occurred, unless the offense is committed by a player in the opponents' goal area, in which case the free kick shall be taken from any point within the goal area.

 

Misconduct Resulting in a Caution and a Showing of the Yellow car

1.      Dissent with the referee's decision

2.      Unsporting behavior

3.      Persistent infringement of the Laws of the Game

4.      Delaying the restart of play

5.      Failing to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, free kick or a throw-in.

6.      Entering the field of play without the referee's permission

7.      Leaving the field of play without the referees permission

 

Misconduct Resulting in a Send-off and a Showing of the Red Card (team plays down a player)

1.      Violent conduct

2.      Serious foul play

3.      Spitting at an opponent or any other person

4.      Denying the opponents a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball

5.      Denying the opponents a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity by committing a foul that would be punishable by a free kick or penalty kick.

6.      Offensive, insulting, or abusive language

7.      A player committing a second cautionable offense after having already received a caution

 

Common Misconceptions

Two of the most misunderstood laws are handling the ball and off-side. As spectators and coaches, please refrain from "helping" the referee by hollering HANDS! or OFF SIDES! It will help the referees if we let them call the game on the field, and then if we have serious concerns, please call

 

John Davis, 703-426-4914 Braddock Road Youth Club Soccer Referee Director after the game.

 

Zero Tolerance toward Referee Abuse

The BRYC Zero Tolerance Policy prohibits any person from addressing the referee during the game except to point out an emergency situation.  A person who in the opinion of the referee violates the Zero Tolerance Policy will be asked to leave the vicinity of the field of play, and the team may face further sanctions. Many referees are young people just learning to referee or adults essentially volunteering their time. Please show them the common courtesy you would expect to be shown to your child or to yourself.

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