Soccer may seem like a complex game, but after learning and understanding the rules, it gets easier to master. The main aim of the game is to score against the other team. You can achieve this by controlling the ball with your feet, passing it to your teammates, and kicking forward until it gets past the goalkeeper into the net.
As a young player, soccer rules are more lenient and accommodative while you continue learning more. Then, as you advance to the next levels or become a professional player, the rules are adjusted to fit the group.
Here are applicable rules to help you gain the essential skills and experience in soccer.
We play soccer by kicking the ball with our legs. The ball can touch other body parts apart from the hands unless you are a goalkeeper. It is the first rule of soccer that every player must observe at all levels of the game.
Handling the soccer ball with your hands, from your fingers to shoulders, is considered a foul. Such misconduct is penalized by allowing the rival team to get a free-kick. You can also get a red or yellow card, depending on how you handled the ball.
Indirect and Direct Kicks
You make an indirect kick whenever you hit the ball with your foot and pass it to the next player. However, a handball or foul is penalized through a direct kick, where a player from the other team can kick the ball and score a goal if it goes past the goalkeeper.
Your score is considered a foul if you kick the ball without passing it to the other players because you did not involve indirect kicks. For the score to be valid, the ball must pass from the first kicker to the second player, who can then hit the ball into the goal post.
Your team is awarded penalty kicks as a reward for a foul committed against it near the penalty area. It applies to violent acts from the opponents, offensive language, physical abuse, or insults.
A player guilty of mishandling the ball, misconduct against an opponent, or making reckless tackles in excess force can be penalized by awarding a penalty kick to a player from the opposing team.
Foul or Dangerous Play
Foul play is discouraged in soccer, and any player guilty of dangerous playing is penalized according to the rules. An action is considered hazardous when it threatens to harm or injure another player. For example, some players use cruel tricks to prevent the opponent from touching the ball or scoring.
Dangerous play includes kicking, pushing, or fighting with other players on the pitch. The referee declares a foul using a whistle, ordering the game to pause a moment as they give a verdict on the action.
Yellow and Red Cards
A yellow card is a warning against dangerous play or a foul. When a referee flashes this card, you can continue playing, but committing another foul can lead to a more severe action like leaving the game.
It is also issued to players who enter the field without permission from the referee, fail to observe the right distance during a free or corner kick, infringe other rules or delay restarting the game.
A red card is issued to a player who already received a yellow card warning but committed another foul within one game. It is also given to violent players, among other serious fouls. It results in dismissal from the ongoing game and bans for the next one or two matches depending on the extent of the offense.
The offside rule requires the striking player to remain behind two defenders for the score to be regarded as a goal. An offside position also occurs when the player scores without the defenders.
Offside rules are under constant review, but the essential part is ensuring you are behind the defenders when you are kicking to score.
The Double-Touch Rule
This rule prohibits you from touching the ball twice when it is in play. For example, a player in charge of a goal kick is not permitted to touch the ball twice before another player kicks it.
The first touch occurs immediately when a player's foot gets in contact with the ball. A new touch occurs after the initial contact, but the ball must have touched another player to be considered viable and avoid breaking the two-touch rule.
Goal Kick and Corner Kick
A corner and goal kicks are awarded when a player kicks the ball out of the field. If the attacking players kick the ball across the field's end line, the goalkeeper is awarded a goal kick to restart the game.
The attacking team gets a corner kick if the defending team kicks the ball out of the field at the end line.
Soccer comes with many rules the players must adhere to, failure to which they may be penalized. The penalties may be awarded individually or against the whole team. If your team breaks the rule, your opponents remain advantaged. To avoid this, you must maintain the rules and play fair games.