Basic Rules Of Soccer

Some basic rules to help you enjoy the game:

  1. If a player uses his hand/arm to block or hit the ball it is  called a hand ball.  The other team will get the ball and be awarded a free kick or possibly even a  shot on goal depending on where the violation occurred.
  2. The goal keeper is the only player allowed to use his hands.  He must be inside the boxed area directly in front of his goal.  If he is outside of this box he may not use his hands. He wears a different colored shirt so it’s easy to see that he is the goalie.
  3. Adult teams have eleven players including goalies.  Younger age groups often play with less.
  4. If a player kicks the ball out of bounds on the sideline, the long side of the field, the opposing team gets the ball.  One of their players must throw the ball back into play using both hands and keeping both  feet on the ground when they throw.  If they  don’t the other team gets the ball back.
  5.  Two things can happen if the ball goes out of bounds on one of the ends of the field.  If the offensive team  kicked it out the opposing team gets a goal kick.   They will kick the ball from in front of their goal down the field.  If the defending team kicked it out of bounds, the offensive team gets a corner kick.  They will place the ball at the corner of the field and kick it back into play from there.
  6. A regulation length game consists of two 45 minutes halves.  Younger age teams play shorter games.
  7. At the start of play each team must be on their own half of the field.  The defending team must be 10 feet back from the ball.
  8. A ball must completely cross the line to go out of bounds or score a goal.
  9. If a player is off-sides, the other team gets the ball.  You are off-sides if you are on your offensive half of the field and don’t have two of the other teams defenders between you and the goal when you first play the ball.  Yes, the goalie counts as one of the two defensive players. Also, you can’t be off-sides on a throw in.
  10. Intentionally holding, kicking or shoving opposing players are some of the things you will get a foul for.  Minor fouls result in the other team getting the ball.  More sever fouls will get a player a yellow or red card.  It takes two yellow cards to be kicked out of a game but only one red card.
  11. There are two types of free kicks awarded to the opposing team from penalties. If awarded a Direct Free Kick you can shoot on the goal or pass the ball.  An Indirect Free Kick must be touched by another player before entering the goal.  If the referee is holding one arm up before the kick you know it is must an indirect kick.
  12. When a foul is committed by the defensive team inside the boxed area right in front of the goal the other team gets a penalty kick from inside the box.  The goalie will be the only defensive player between them and the goal.  The offensive team often scores from this penalty.
  13. The player putting a ball into play may only touch it once until a second player touches the ball. If a player barely hits the ball and decides to take another kick at it, that is a two-touch. This also applies to throw-ins.

To see official rules look here:

  • IFAB – International Football Association Board
  • FIFA – Fédération Internationale de Football Association


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