Soccer Rule Terms

Soccer rule terms cannot readily be divided into any meaningful categories.

They all work together to make the game of soccer what it is.

Therefore I have determined that all of the rule terms are required reading for soccer parents - in conjunction with the Soccer Rule Page itself, of course. So there is only one category, Basic Rule Terms.

Basic Soccer Rule Terms

Caution – a disciplinary action in which the referee shows a player the yellow card (for violating a soccer rule, obviously). A second caution in the same match results in the player being shown the red card (ejected from the game).

Corner kick – a direct free kick that is awarded when the defending team puts the ball over the end line. A corner kick is taken by the offensive team from next to the corner flag.

Dangerous Play – an action by a player that the referee considers dangerous to that player or others. Examples are high kicking, playing while lying on the ground, or playing the ball while it is in the possession of the goalkeeper.

Direct Free Kick – a free kick that is awarded at the spot of the infraction for a physical contact foul such as tripping, holding, pushing, tackles from behind, jumping into an opponent, or for hand balls. A direct free kick can score by going directly into the goal. It does not have to be touched by anyone other than the kicker.

Drop Ball – a method of restarting a game where the referee drops the ball between 2 players facing each other. A drop ball restarts the game after play is stopped for no penalty situation (e.g. after an injury) and in other circumstances (more than one soccer rule about this). The ball is dropped where it was last in play or at the nearest point outside the penalty area.

Foul – when the referee judges a violation against an opposing player. The team that suffers the foul is awarded with a direct free kick unless the foul is committed by a defensive player inside his own penalty area, in which case the foul results in a penalty kick.

Goal Kick – a type of restart that is awarded when the attacking team puts the ball over the end line. The ball is kicked from anywhere inside the goal area away from the goal to restart play. After the kick is taken, the ball cannot be touched again by any player until it is outside of the penalty area.

Indirect Free Kick – a free kick that is awarded at the spot of the infraction for other fouls that are judged not to be serious such as obstruction, dangerous play or charging (non-contact fouls), as well as for offside. Indirect kicks must touch another player (either team) before the ball goes into the net in order to score.

Offsidea difficult soccer rule.

Not good enough for you? Ok, ok. Here it is: a violation that occurs when an offensive player is closer to the opponent’s goal than both the ball and the second-to-last opposing player at the time that the ball is passed to the offensive player by his or her teammate. Players cannot be called offside if they are in their own half of the field or if they receive the ball from a throw in, corner kick, or goal kick. When a player is called offside, the opposing team is awarded an indirect free kick. See the Soccer Rule Page for more information on the offside rule.

Obstruction – a foul in which a defensive player, instead of going after the ball, illegally uses their body to prevent an offensive player from playing it.

Penalty kick – A kick taken from 12 yards in front of the goal as a result of a contact foul or hand ball that takes place inside the penalty area.

Red card – a referee shows a player a red card to signal that the player has been banned from the rest of the match. A red card can be shown for a single serious offense or as the result of being shown a second yellow card in the same game. After a player is shown a red card, the player must leave the field of play and cannot be replaced by a substitute, meaning that his or her team must finish the match with one player fewer.

Sending off – an ejection resulting from a player being shown a red card. See also Red card.

Throw-in – a way to restart play when the ball goes out over the sidelines. The team that did not touch the ball last is allowed an overhead throw.

Yellow card – see Caution.

Don’t forget to check out my soccer book and soccer video recommendations! Any of the recommended books or videos will give you a wealth of information beyond what you can learn online.

Also, is serving up their most popular soccer rule books just below. Click on a book to check it out!

› Soccer Rule Terms

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