Soccer Rules | How to Play Soccer [ Scoring, Serving, Faults ]

Football is the game of pure fascination. Coming with a rich history, detailed rules and fine playing equipment, Soccer is indeed a sweet addition to our rules of Sports Guide.

The following Soccer Players Guide would help you understand soccer rules, Fouls & Penalties, Kids soccer and additional common questions answered

Soccer Rules & Regulations | Fouls & Penalties

An ultra famous game requiring mettle, physical endurance, agility, intelligence, stamina, determination, composure, self-belief, and most importantly, a fantastically brisk and energetic body (predominantly feet, legs, chest and head) to propel the ball towards the goalpost, by keeping it in your possession, until you score a hard-earned goal.

How Soccer is Played?

Presently, football is the most popular and most played game of our planet with around half of earth’s population, either directly or indirectly, connected with this glorious game.

It’s usually played between two teams (comprising 11 players in each side), on a typically rectangular field (100-130 yards long, 50-100 wide) containing goalposts or goals’ areas at each end of that field, and with an object to propel the ball over a goal line, into the opponent’s goal post, or carry it between goalposts by running, passing, or kicking with the help of feet, legs, knees, chest, head but not hands.

Only the goalkeepers, on each end of field, being permitted to hold, stop or touch the ball with their hands and arms excluding the case of throw-ins.

Football is also known as association football or soccer, and has fair resemblance with certain other games such as; American football, Gaelic football, Australian rules, rugby etc.

Rugby being the sister game of football emerged simultaneously with football. In football one must use one’s lower limbs for playing and propelling the round ball towards the goalposts, while in rugby one has to use one’s upper limbs for doing the same with an oval ball.

1. Number of Players in Soccer

Soccer game is played between two teams having 11 players for each team including a uniquely uniformed goalkeeper.

Goalkeeper’s position and role is determined by the soccer rules, whereas, there isn’t any such restrictions for other players of the team because their position and role is determined by captain and their coach.

Note: In kids’ football, the number of players may vary keeping in mind their age and size of the field.  Kids under 12 years may have 8 players in each side, while under 10 years may have 6 players

 2. Goalkeepers’ or Goalies’ Rules

The goalie is, unquestionably, a unique player on the field. He is wearing a unique uniform, guarding the goalpost, handling the ball with his hands being inside the penalty area.

 Note: In case, a designated goalie gets injured or becomes unable to perform his actual role, any of the 11 players of the team can act as goalkeeper after notifying it to the referee.

a) Fouls made by Goalie

  •  If he holds the ball for more than 6 seconds.
  • If he touches the ball, that’s kicked by his own teammates to him, with his hands.
  • If throw-ins, by his teammates, are stopped by him directly with his hands.

 3. Positions of Players in Football

Positioning of the players, in football, is of vital importance. Players in football are positioned at different locations on the field as per their expertise.

We have, goalkeeper guarding goalpost, defenders defending the goalkeeper, midfielders supporting the strikers and then strikers scoring the goals. Same positions are allotted to different players by both the teams.

a. Goalkeeper: the first player to start off the game, just behind the defense

b. Defenders: The second position after goalkeeper is held by the defenders.They provide shield to the goalkeeper and preventing the ball being hit by opponents from entering the goal posts.

c. Midfielders: The next position is occupied by the midfielders. They usually stand between defenders and strikers with twofold responsibility; defense and offense.

They are considered to be the organizers of game since they have broader area at their disposal, with a broader look on the field. Thus, they provide the strikers with an opportunity to score goals or even, sometimes, they themselves try to finish with the goals.

d. The strikers: The last but not the least, the strikers, with the responsibility to score goals for their team, stand at the edge of center line. They are supported by both; the defenders and midfielders.

That’s all about the basic positions in soccer.

4. Substitutions in Soccer

Unlike other sports, football has very strict rules for the substitutions. Once a substitute is called, he will replace the other player and won’t leave the field, until the game gets over.

Generally, players are substituted near the end of the game or in case of sudden injuries. A substitute player can enter in field, when there is a normal cessation of the play. Before entering in the field, he should inform the referee first, and don’t enter until the substituent exits the field, referee gives the signal to enter.

Note: One has to make entry from center line.

5. Fouls &Penalties (Soccer Fouls & Main Penalties)

Foul is an act of going against the defined rules of a game. While penalty is a negative enforcement of that foul committed by players during the match. A penalty may be a mild warning or even expulsion of the players from the ground.

Note: It’s the referee who, being on the ground, decides fouls and penalties. He is an absolute authority on the ground.

  1. a. Minor offenses:  When opponent team is granted an indirect free kick.
  2. b. Serious offenses – When the opponent team is allowed a direct free kick.
  3. c. Warning (Yellow card) – Yellow card given by the referee to the player who repeats the same foul. Normally, 2 yellow cards are served to the player. Second yellow card will result in the red car which is regarded as severe punishment; expulsion from the game.  .
  4. d. Expulsion (Red card) – When a player is served with a red card, he has to leave the game in between and remains un-substituted.

Some common Fouls

  • Kicking your opponents.
  • While attempting header, you unintentionally jump onto an opponent.
  • Charging into an opponent.
  • Pushing or tackling your opponents.
  • Touching your opponents before coming in contact with the ball.
  • Holding or grabbing your opponents.
  • Touching the ball with your hands unwittingly. (Only goalkeepers are allowed to use hands)
  • Using offensive language with opponents.

6. Signals from the Referee

a. Direct Free Kick This kick is at your disposal, you can hit it where you want, but you must indicate the direction with one hand and arm.

b. Indirect Free Kick This kick is directed by the referee by holding his hand straight towards the direction.

c. Goal Kick This kick is also directed by the referee.

d. Caution or Expulsion Referee holds either yellow (Caution) or red (expulsion) card high in the air with his one hand so as to make it visible for all.

e. Corner Kick  Signals with one hand and arm pointed toward the corner.

f. Penalty Kick Points exactly at the penalty mark.

7.  Signals by Assistant Referee using Flags 

a. Offside The assistant referee will point out the exact location where the offside took place usually with a flag.

b. Substitution: While calling a substitute he holds the flag high, in both hands, above the head.

c. Throw In: He signals with the flag directing toward the throw in.

d. The Whistle :He blows a whistle to either start the game or stop it.

8. Rules of Restarting the Game

There are a number of methods to start the game:

a). Soccer Kickoff  The kickoff is the first kick that starts the game either initially (after the toss) or after scoring every goal. The kickoff is made from the circle in the middle of the ground.

It is usually made by one player, who kicks it to his teammates and this starts the game. Initially, toss decides that which team to serve kickoff first and then by the team other than that has just scored a goal.

b). Soccer Free Kick (Direct free kick and Indirect Free Kick) Referee awards the free kick to the team other than that has made a foul. It has two types:

a). Direct free kick -It’s hit from an exact location aiming directly at the opponent’s goalpost.

b). Indirect free kick-This kick is not directed toward goalpost. It must come in contact with a player before heading towards the goalpost.

9. Rules for Free Kicks

  • This kick is made from the exact point of the penalty.
  • In case, you are awarded a direct free kick within the penalty area, it becomes a penalty kick.
  • Opponents may build up a temporary wall to prevent the ball, being kicked as a result of free kick, from entering the goalpost.
  • This wall of players must be at least 10 yards from the position of direct free kick.
  • You can not, at first, score goals on indirect free kicks since they must come in contact with any player before being sent to the goalpost.
  • The striker can not touch the ball twice, until another player touches the ball.

10. Soccer Goal Kicks

This kick is usually taken from any position within the goal area by any player of the team. However, it’s goalkeeper that takes up this kick.

  • Opponent team has to be outside of the penalty area.
  • The kicker can not touch the ball twice, until another player touches the ball.

11. Soccer Corner Kick

Each corner is positioned at corner positions. It’s the place from where a free kick or shot is taken by an attacking team against a defending team. In case the ball has gone out of play over their goal line after being last touched by one of defending team’s players.

  • The ball has to be positioned in the corner arc.
  • The nearest corner arc (where the ball passed lastly) has to be used.
  • There has to be at least 10 yards’ distance between the opponents and the ball.
  • The kicker can not touch the ball twice, until another player touches the ball.

12. Soccer Out of Play Ground

The ball is declared to be out, when it thoroughly crosses the goal line. It means it’s out of bounds, when it trespasses the goal line either being in touch with the surface or being in the air.

13. Soccer Throw-In

It’s the way of putting the ball into play again, after it has gone out of bounds. The ball is thrown (by the player of the team other than the last touching the ball before it goes out of bounds) with two-hands rolling from behind the head, having both feet on the ground.

a). Rules for throw-in

  • Throw in is taken from the place where the ball crosses over the touch line and is declared out of bounds.
  • The ball should be thrown (by the player of the team other than the last touching the ball before it goes out of bounds) with two-hands rolling from behind the head, having both feet on the ground.
  • You are not likely to score a goal from throw-ins.
  • There has to be 2 yards distance between the player involved in throw in and his opponents.
  • The player involved in throw-in can not touch the ball twice, until another player touches the ball.

14. Soccer Pitch

As a rule, football field is typically rectangular in shape. It means, it must have larger length than width. There are variations (because of kids and adults) in the size of length and width of football field which measures 100 to 130 yards long, and 50 to 100 yards wide. It contains goalposts, boundary, center, corner and penalty box.

1). The Goalposts (the bull’s Eye)

At each side of the ground, exactly in the middle of goal line, there are 2 goalposts (1 on each side) with 8 yards width and 8 feet height. These goalposts are made with square shaped side bars and nets attached to it so as to catch the ball.  When you make the ball enter in opposite goalpost, you are supposed to have scored a goal.

2). The Boundary:  There are different lines on the field which define different boundaries. The lines on longer side of the field are called side lines or touch lines. While the lines on the shorter side, where goalposts are erected, are known as the goal lines or end lines.

3). The Center: The field is divided in two equal halves by center line. It just slices football field into two pieces by being in the middle of the ground.

Thus, allocating one side of the field to each team. There, in middle of the center line, you may find a circle with 10 yards diameter. This circle is used by one player of either team while starting the game.

4). The Goal Areas (Area in the Surroundings of Goalposts)

a. Goal Area: a box like area that stretches 6 yards out from the goal posts on each side of the field. As per rules, free kicks are struck from this area.

b. Penalty Area: Also box like or rectangular area extending 18 yards out from the goal posts on each side of the field.  A goalkeeper is allowed to use his hands while being inside this area.

c. Penalty Mark: The spot at the center of the goalpost, exactly 12 yards away from the goal line.  It’s the place from where penalty kicks are struck.

5. The Corners- Each corner is positioned at corner positions. It’s the place from where a free kick or shot is taken by an attacking team against a defending team, in case the ball has gone out of play over their goal line after being last touched by one of defending team’s players.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Why is it called Soccer?

The word “soccer” came in vogue, about 200 years ago, after the formation of “association football” in Britain. Soccer is just a nickname of association football. When this sport flourished across the whole of Atlantic, Americans tagged it with their own name FOOTBALL in early 19th century.

2. Why do you Normally Get a corner kick in Soccer?

A corner kick is awarded to restart the game from where the ball just went past, and was declared out of bounds by the referee.

In simple words, this is a way of restarting the game. Each corner is positioned at corner positions. It’s the place from where a free kick or shot is taken by an attacking team against a defending team, in case the ball has gone out of play over their goal line after being last touched by one of defending team’s players.

3. Who officiates the Game of Soccer?

Simple answer to that question is a referee. In soccer, the on field match official is known as the referee. He, being an absolute authority, officiates the game in an organized way and remains there, on the field, until the match is over. He is supported by other officials during the match, each of them having specific responsibilities to perform.

4. What is offside rule in Soccer?

An attacking player is declared offside, if he is on a position that is, unlawfully, ahead of the ball when it is played. This position lies within one’s opponents’ half or we can say the attacking zone.

5. What is Out of Bounds?

In soccer, the ball is said to be out of bounds, when it completely trespasses the goal lines and goes beyond the boundary line.

6. Delay of Game in Soccer?

In every game, there is a rule to avoid delaying tactics applied by the players. Similarly in soccer, it is forbidden for the players to take the ball in their possession for more than specific time after they have scored a goal.

Players are not allowed to touch the ball. If they touch once, they are served with warning and if they touch it again, they might be served with a yellow card that might result in a red card that means a complete departure from the game.

7. What is an indirect handball?

Generally, a direct kick, in soccer, comes from a specific contact foul or hand ball. Anything else is indirect kick. A penalty kick becomes a contact foul or hand ball after being touched (with hands or arms) by the defending team standing in the penalty area. A handball can be intentional (sometimes) unintentional (mostly).

Conclusion

Having read, all the detailed rules & regulations of soccer, you must be feeling wonderful and crazy about this super sport, soccer.

It is definitely a wonderful and an aesthetic sport to play. We wish you best of Luck for a fine Football play ahead.

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