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Official Soccer Rules

Soccer, also known as football in many parts of the world, is a globally popular sport played by millions. Here are the basic rules of soccer:

Objective: Score more goals than the opposing team by kicking the ball into their net.

Playing Field:

  • Rectangular field with a goal at each end.

  • Field dimensions can vary depending on the age and level of play, but typically range from 90-120 yards in length and 45-90 yards in width.

  • The field is marked with boundary lines, a center line, a penalty area surrounding each goal, and a smaller area called the six-yard box in front of each goal.

Players and Equipment:

  • Two teams of 11 players each on the field at a time (with substitutes).

  • Players wear jerseys, shorts, shin guards, socks, and cleats.

  • Only the goalkeeper is allowed to use their hands or arms to save the ball within their penalty area.

Basic Rules:

  • The game is played in two halves of 45 minutes each (with a halftime break).

  • A referee oversees the game and enforces the rules.

  • Players move the ball around the field primarily using their feet, but they can also use their head or chest to control the ball.

  • Players cannot trip, push, or hold opponents to gain an advantage (fouls).

Starting the Game:

  • A coin toss determines which team kicks off to start the game and the direction of the kick.

  • The kickoff is taken from the center of the field.

Scoring a Goal:

  • A goal is scored when the entire ball crosses the goal line inside the opponent's net.

  • The ball must be kicked by a player from the attacking team (not including a throw-in or corner kick).


  • The game restarts in various ways depending on the situation:

    • Goal Kick: If the ball goes out of play over the goal line by the attacking team, the defending team takes a goal kick from inside their penalty area.

    • Corner Kick: If the ball goes out of play over the goal line by the defending team, the attacking team takes a corner kick from the corner nearest to where the ball went out.

    • Throw-in: When the ball goes over the sideline, the team opposite the one that last touched the ball throws the ball back into play from the point where it went out.

    • Indirect Free Kick: Awarded for certain fouls outside the penalty area. The ball must be touched by another player before it can go in the goal.

    • Direct Free Kick: Awarded for serious fouls inside or outside the penalty area. The ball can go directly into the goal without being touched by another player.

    • Penalty Kick: Awarded for a foul by the defending team inside their penalty area. The attacking team takes a penalty kick from the penalty spot directly in front of the goal.


  • A player is offside if they are closer to the opponent's goal line than both the ball and the second-to-last defender when their teammate plays the ball forward. Being in an offside position is only a foul if the player is involved in active play (interfering with an opponent or making a play on the ball).

Winning the Game:

  • The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins.

  • If the game is tied after regular time, extra time or a penalty shootout might be used to determine the winner, depending on the competition format.

Additional Notes:

  • Substitutions: Players can be substituted on and off the field during the game within designated substitution zones.

  • Yellow and Red Cards: Referees can issue yellow cards for cautionable offenses and red cards for serious fouls or misconduct, resulting in a player being sent off the field.

  • Goalkeeper: The goalkeeper has special privileges within their penalty area, including being able to use their hands to handle the ball.

This is a basic overview of soccer rules. There are many nuances and additional rules that can be learned as you delve deeper into the beautiful game.

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