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Western United Soccer Club

Western United Soccer Club

New To Soccer?

New to Soccer?  Here are some of the basic (and not-so-basic) rules...

Kickoff - Play is started by kicking the ball from the center of the field.  Each team must start on their side of the field.  The opposing team may not be inside the circle until the ball is played.  The player who takes the kickoff may not touch the ball again until it is touched by another player.  The kick may go in any direction.  The kickoff is a "direct kick" and, therefore, may directly score a goal.  (Coaches at our level should not encourage or teach this practice, however.)  The ball may not be put into play until directed by the referee.

The ball is "in play" as long as any part of the ball is touching or inside the outer most edge of the line marking the edge of the field.  The ball may be touching the grass outside the line, but as long as any part of the ball breaks the plane of the outermost edge of the sideline or endline, it is still in play.  A player may stand out of bounds and play the ball.  The ball is not out of play until it has entirely crossed the plane.  (This is why parents must stay at least 3 feet away from the sidelines during games.)   Similarly, a goal is not scored until the entire ball has crossed over the entire goalline/endline so that no part of the ball is still breaking the plane of the outside edge of the goalline.

When the ball goes out of play over a sideline, the team that was NOT the last to touch the ball (intentional or not) gets a throw-in.  When the ball goes out over an endline, the team that was NOT the last to touch the ball gets a free kick (goal kick if it is the defensive team, corner kick if it is the offensive team).  Players may restart play immediately and do NOT have to wait for the referee unless the referee has held play in order to allow substitutions.
Throw-in - A throw-in must be made using both hands.  The hands must start from behind the head and the ball must travel over the head.  Both feet must stay in contact with the ground throughout the entire throw.  A run prior to the throw is allowed so long as both feet remain in contact with the ground throughout the entire throwing motion.  (One foot may be dragged during the throw.)  Part of the foot may be in the field of play, but at least some part of EACH foot must be either on or behind the sideline.  (Neither entire foot may not be inside the field of play.)  An opposing player may not interfere with a throw-in and must remain 2 meters (~6 feet) away from the thrower. A throw-in is considered "indirect" and may not score a goal unless touched by at least one player (from either team) before entering the goal.

Goal kick
- A defensive player (including goalie) typically kicks the ball from the corner of the goal box (the smallest rectangle nearest the goal) on the side that the ball exited play.  (The ball may, however, be kicked from anywhere in the half of the goal box on the side that the ball exited play.)  The ball may NOT be touched by any player on either team until it has exited the penalty box (the larger box near a goal or the area that a goal keeper may use their hands).
Our modified rules for small-sided games state that both teams must move to their half of the field for a goal kick (for all ages except U13) although the goal kick may be taken before that has occured, if desired.

Corner kick
- An offensive player kicks the ball from the corner of the field on the side that the ball exited play.  The ball may be placed anywhere inside or touching the arc painted near the corner of the field. The ball is in play immediately when kicked. A corner kick is a direct kick and may score.

Goal Keeper - A goal keeper may play anywhere on the field, but may only handle the ball with his/her hands inside the penalty area. The keeper may sometimes be in a dangerous situation (reaching down with hands/face while the other team is kicking at it). The keeper must always be protected by the rules of the game and the referee. If any part of the keeper is touching the ball, everyone else must stop kicking at it and, even if the keeper is not touching the ball, wild kicking near the keeper should be prevented. Once the keeper has the ball and has gotten to their feet, they have 6 seconds to put the ball back into play. (This is just a guideline for us. They should not sit there all day, but should not be penalized.) An opposing player may not interfere with the keeper in any way while they are putting the ball back into play. A keeper may throw the ball any way they want, drop-kick the ball (the ball bounces then is kicked), or punt the ball (the ball is kicked before bouncing).  For U10/U13 only, a keeper may not drop-kick or punt the ball directly into the opposing team's penalty area.  If the ball does not touch the ground (bounce) before landing in the opposing team's penalty area, the defending team is awarded an indirect free kick at midfield.

Infractions - Infractions may result in "direct" or "indirect" free kicks. A direct free kick may score without being touched by another player. An indirect free kick must touch another player (intentional or not, and from any team) before scoring.  Hand balls, tripping, and pushing are the most common direct kick infractions. Dangerous play (kicking above the waist with other players nearby, attempting to play the ball while lying on the ground with other players nearby, dangerous play near a keeper) is the most common indirect kick infraction. A direct kick for the offensive team awarded inside the penalty box results becomes a penalty kick.  In U6 and U8, all free kicks are awarded as indirect kicks and cannot score directly.  A referee may choose to allow play to continue rather than call a foul if the team that would be awarded a kick has an advantage (breakaway) that would be lost by stopping play.

Penalty Kick - Any player may take the penalty kick. (It does not have to be the player who was fouled.)  All other players except the opposing keeper must be outside the penalty box and outside the arc at the top of the penalty box until the ball is touched.  The keeper must start with their feet touching the goalline and may not leave the goalline until the ball is touched. (Though there is much leniency generally given for this!)  Once the ball is touched it is in play and all of the regular rules of soccer apply.  We do NOT award penalty kicks in U6 or U8.

Offsides - (U13 ONLY)  Offsides prevents players from trying to "cherry pick" goals.  An attacking player cannot sit in front of the opposing goal and wait for the ball to be booted that way.  The rule states that an attacking player must have at least 2 defending players (one is usually the keeper), or the ball, nearer to the endline/goalline than the attacking player.  The defending player may be on the opposite side of the field, so long as the defender is closer to the endline than the attacker is to the endline.  A player also cannot be offsides on their own half of the field (if they are nearer to their goal than the opposing goal).  If a player is in an offsides position and influences the play when the ball is kicked (passed) by a teammate, an infraction is called and an indirect free kick is awarded to the defending team.  If a player is in an offsides position and does not influence the play (either directly or by distracting the defense), then no infraction is called.  An infraction is not called until the ball is played (passed) by a teammate.  A player may re-establish an onsides position prior to a pass being made in order to avoid the infraction.

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