Soccer Unsporting Behavior

The soccer Referee can give a Soccer Yellow Card and an Soccer Indirect Free Kick for behavior which in the Referee’s judgment is unsporting or causes an unfair advantage. Examples which are mentioned in the soccer rules, “Questions and Answers”, the soccer official’s guidebook and other sources we’ve been able to find include: any action designed to deceive the soccer Referee; behavior which in the Referee’s judgment is unsporting or causes an unfair advantage; faking an injury; saying things that are designed to confuse or distract an opponent; harassment (such as jumping around, shouting or making gestures to intentionally distract an opponent); jumping in front of a corner kick, soccer free kick or throw-in; worrying the goalkeeper or trying to prevent him from putting the ball into play; hard soccer fouls; holding an opponent or deliberately handling the ball for the purpose of preventing an opponent from gaining possession of the ball; adopting a threatening posture; gaining an unfair advantage by leaning on, climbing on the back of, or holding a teammate or the goal; blatant cases of holding and pulling an opposing player or his uniform. See Soccer Foul Cards and Soccer Fouls

Soccer Throw-In

This is a type of “Set Play.”  See the review of “Coaching Set Plays” for Set Play Tactics. Soccer Throw-ins are very important because each team will take 25 or more of them during a game. When the soccer ball goes out of bounds over the side line (i.e. the “touch line”), it is “out” on the team that last touched the ball before it crossed totally over the side line, and the opposing team is allowed to get the ball and one of their soccer players (often the closest, or a player designated by the coach to take the throw-ins) is allowed to inbound the ball by picking it up with his hands and throwing it back onto the field. This is called a “throw-in”. This is the only time a player other than the Goalkeeper is legally allowed to pick up the ball with his hands. For a throw-in to be legal: (a) the ball must be thrown from behind & over the head (b) it must be thrown using both hands (c) the thrower must face the field (d) at the instant the ball leaves the thrower’s hands, some part of both feet must be on the ground, either on or outside the side line (e) the ball must be throw-in from the place where it went out of bounds (Referee’s usually let the throw-in be taken from the approximate point where the ball went out of bounds, and you rarely see arguments about this). If the thrown ball does not enter the field, the throw-in is retaken by the same team. The thrower may not touch the ball again until it has touched another player. The penalty for an illegal throw-in is that your team loses the ball & the other team gets to take a throw-in from the same spot. A goal may not be scored on a direct throw-in (i.e., it doesn’t count if it is thrown into the soccer goal without another player touching it first). A player is not offside if he receives the ball direct from a throw-in. An opponent must stay at least 2 meters from the thrower and can be given a yellow card for standing closer than 2 meters (note that this rule probably won’t be enforced at very young ages). Also, an opponent is guilty of unsporting behavior and should be given a yellow card if he unfairly distracts or impedes the thrower (e.g., by jumping around, shouting or making gestures to intentionally distract the thrower, or by jumping in front of the thrower). When a throw-in is awarded the Assistant Referee will point the flag in the direction in which the attackers will advance (i.e. toward the goal of the team it is out on). (See “Soccer Offside Rule“, and “Assistant Soccer Referee“). See the Soccer Throw-Ins Navigation Page

Soccer Speed Dribbling

Speed Dribbling is a way to move the soccer ball fast when you are open. Instead of keeping it close to your feet, you kick it forward and run to it (being sure to get there before an opponent), then kick it forward again, etc. The techniques are different for Control Dribbling and Speed Dribbling. To Speed Dribble, you kick the ball forward using the outside top of the front of the foot (not the inside of the foot). There is an excellent demonstration of Speed Soccer Dribbling on the Anson Dorrance-Tom Stone Soccer Clinic DVD at minute 19:15, ‘Dribbling for Speed’. (See Soccer Pass to Yourself, How To Teach Dribbling and Soccer Control Dribbling).

Soccer Volley

To kick the soccer ball while it is still in the air. If kicked in front with the “laces”, it is called a “volley” or “instep volley“; if the soccer ball is to one side it is called a “side volley”; if the inside of the foot is used it is an “inside-of-foot volley” (this might be used close to soccer goal or for a short pass). A player should lock his ankle when soccer volleying so the foot is firm. On a front volley, proper soccer technique is to bring the foot to the height of the ball by raising the knee (so the portion of the leg between the knee & the ankle is vertical); the technique is different from a regular soccer kick. (See “Soccer Half-Volley“).

Soccer Under The Ball

The ability of soccer players to pass the soccer ball in the air by “playing under the soccer ball“. Soccer passes can be made by feet, head or chest.

Soccer U-

U-6, U-8, U-10, U-12, etc. A soccer term in which the U stands for “Under”. At younger ages, soccer leagues are often organized in 2-year increments. (See “Soccer Age“).

Soccer Unlimited Substitution

(aka open substitutions). Means you can substitute as many times as you want at allowed times during the soccer game. Pro soccer leagues limit the number of substitutions; most youth leagues do not & many have an unlimited substitution soccer rule. Some youth soccer leagues only allow substituting between quarters, which is not really “unlimited substitution”. Others allow the soccer coach to “sub” any time a goal kick is called (by the other team) on his own throw-ins & other times. (See “Soccer Substitutions” for more details).

Soccer Vision

A soccer player’s ability (especially on offense) to see where other players are & passing opportunities, especially through soccer passes & “passes to space” that create scoring soccer opportunities. (See “Create – Soccer“).

Soccer Kick-Off

Just before the start of the soccer game, the referee will call for the Captains of each team to come onto the field. The referee will then toss a coin to decide which team kicks off first and which soccer goal each team will attack during the first half of the game. The winner of the toss gets to choose which goal it will attack and the other team takes the kick-off. The teams will then take the field and referee will ask if they’re ready to start the match, and will signal for play to start, at which time the kick-off will occur. To start the second half, the team that won the toss takes the kick-off and the teams attack the opposite goal (so they switch sides of the field). Each time a goal is scored, the team that didn’t score gets to kick off. At each kick off, the soccer ball is placed in the center of the “Center Mark” (on the half-way line) & both teams must be on their own half of the field & the receiving team must stay outside the Center Circle until the ball is “kicked”. Moving the ball any constitutes a “kick off”, even if it only goes an inch. However, the ball must move forward on the “kick off”. The “kicker” may not touch the ball again until someone else (on either team) has touched it. However, the “kicker” may put his foot on top of the ball & barely move it forward so a teammate standing nearby can dribble it or pass it backward or forward. Even though a goal may be scored on a direct kick off (i.e., another player is not required to touch it first), it is better to teach your players to control the ball on a kick off instead of just kicking it away. However, kicking it deep to the corner & rapidly “pushing up” to try to steal the ball back is a viable strategy that pro teams even use occasionally. Some coaches teach passing the ball backward on kick off (after it has been touched by the kicker). Before you try this, see Tip No. 7, “Steal Their Kick-Off”, in Premium “41 Tips, Tactics & Strategies.” Don’t spend a lot of time teaching fancy kick-offs; there are so few in a game that it’s not worth it.
For all Rec teams we recommend just lining up and kicking it deep to the corner so your Forwards and Midfielder’s can push up and try to win the ball back. If you want, you can “overload” to the side you’re kicking to, but you must be careful because that will pull your players out of position. But you can safely move the players on the “weak” side (which is the side you aren’t kicking to) toward the center, which will prevent your opponent from easily driving through the center to your goal, put your players in a good soccer position to win cleared balls and put your players in a good supporting position in case your team gets the ball on a turn over. Rec soccer teams are more likely to score on a turn over (i.e., a mistake by the opponent) than on an attack starting with a kick-off. This kick-off has the advantages of being easy to teach and of moving the ball away from your goal so you avoid the possibility of turning over the ball in the midfield and giving your opponent the chance to score an easy goal on a quick soccer counterattack. Our experience is that it isn’t worth Recreational teams spending much time practicing kick-offs (there aren’t many kick-offs and there are many more important things to practice). Kicking the ball to the corner is a good strategy and you avoid the risk of turning over the ball and giving up an easy goal. In fact, many high school teams are now using this kick-off and most of the teams in the 2003 Women’s World Cup used it. According to an article in the July 2004 issue of Soccer Journal, in the 2003 Women’s World Cup almost all the teams ‘had a kick-off designed to gain territory. Teams generally overloaded one side and drove the ball towards that side.’ Soccer Positions Basics & Kick-Offs

Soccer Corner Kick

(aka Corners). A corner kick in soccer is a method of restarting play. When the ball goes out of bounds over the soccer end line (aka the ‘Goal Line’) and was last touched by the defending team, the attacking team inbounds it from the nearest corner by kicking it in from the Soccer Field Corner Arc (note: this doesn’t apply if a goal was scored). Defenders must stay 6 yards back if U-8, 8 yards if U-10 & 10 yards back if U-12 or older. (If they don’t, they might get a soccer yellow card). The ball may be placed anywhere inside the Corner Arc or on the Corner Arc lines. There are 2 types of corners: a “Long Corner in soccer” and a “soccer Short Corner“. A player is not offside if he receives the ball from a Corner Kick. The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves. A goal may be scored directly from a corner kick. The kicker may not play the ball a second time until it has touched another player. (See “Short Corner” & “Soccer Long Corner“, and “Soccer Offside Rule“).

Below is what the official FIFA rules say about Corner Kicks:

A corner kick is a method of restarting play.

A goal may be scored directly from a corner kick, but only against the opposing team.

A corner kick is awarded when the entire ball, having last touched a player of the defending team, passes over the goal line, either on the ground or in the air, and a soccer goal is not scored in accordance with Law 10. Law 10 is “The Method of Scoring” and basically says that a goal is scored when the entire ball — not just part of the ball — passes over the goal line, between the goal posts and under the crossbar, provided there wasn’t a foul or a law broken in the process of scoring the goal (an example of when a goal would be disallowed is if the team scoring the goal was “offside“). Click here to see a diagram of a soccer field.


  • The ball is placed inside the corner arc at the nearest corner flagpost.
  • The corner flagpost is not moved.
  • Opponents remain at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the corner arc until the ball is in play.
  • The ball is kicked by a player of the attacking team.
  • The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves.
  • The kicker does not play the ball a second time until it has touched another player.

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