What Is A Soccer Offside? A Detailed Explanation Of The Rules

By Woodland Soccer Team •  Updated: 07/21/22 •  6 min read

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The definition of an offside can be confusing, and the rules are complicated. In this blog post, we will break down the rules of offsides in soccer step-by-step. We will answer the question “what is a soccer offside,” and explain all of the intricacies of the rule.

What Is A Soccer Offside?

In soccer, an “offside” is when a player is in a position to score a goal and fewer than two defenders (including the goalkeeper) between him and the goal line. The rule is designed to keep players from hanging around near the opponent’s goal waiting for a long pass.

Three conditions must be met for offside to occur:

If these three conditions are not met, then the player is not offside.

Explanation Of The Rule:

In soccer, the offside rule is one of the most misunderstood and controversial rules. The rule is designed to keep players from gaining an advantage by waiting in an attacking position for a long pass. However, the rule is often misinterpreted or misapplied by referees, leading to confusion and frustration among players, coaches, and fans.

Here is a step-by-step explanation of the offside rule:

Players In An Offside Position

A player is in an offside position if he is closer to the opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent (the last defender).

The Ball Is Played Forward

The offside offense occurs when the ball is played forward, meaning toward the opposing team’s goal, by a teammate. It does not matter if the pass is intentional or accidental; if the ball is played forward, an offside offense may have occurred.

The Player In The Offside Position Receives The Ball

If a player in an offside position receives the ball from his teammate, he has committed an offside offense and the referee will stop play and award a free kick to the opposing team.

There are two important exceptions to this rule:

In both of these cases, the player in the offside position is said to be “onside.”

What Happens During An Offside?

When a player is in an offside position, they are not allowed to be involved in the play. This means they cannot touch the ball or be in the way of a defender. If they do, it is called an offside infraction and the other team gets a free kick.

The most common type of offside is when a player is in front of the last defender when the ball is played to them. This means they are in a position to score a goal.

However, there are other situations where a player can be in an offside position. For example, if a player is behind the last defender and they receive the ball, they are not in an offside position.

There are also cases where a player can be in an offside position but not be touching the ball. This is called being in an active offside position. An example of this would be if a player is standing in front of the goalkeeper and another player kicks the ball towards them. The player in front of the goalkeeper cannot touch the ball, but they are in an active offside position.

If a player is in an offside position when the ball is played to them, they must wait until the ball has been touched by another player before they can handle it. If they feel the ball before it has been touched by another player, it is called an offside infraction.

Does Hand Count As Offside?

No, the hand is not considered part of the offside rule. This was clarified in a ruling by FIFA in 2005. The hand cannot be used to control or direct the ball into the goal. However, if the hand is raised in an attempt to play the ball and deflects off a defender or goalkeeper, it may be considered offside.

Can A Player Be In An Offside Position And Not Be Penalized?

Yes, if the player is not interfering with play or an opponent, then he will not be penalized even if he is in an offside position. This is often seen when a striker runs behind the defense but does not touch the ball or get involved in the play. The referee will often let play continue since the striker is not affecting the game.

Can Your Shoulder Be Offside?

The short answer is no. Your shoulder cannot be offside, but your arm can be – if it’s extended away from your body.

This rule was brought in because of an incident involving Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006. He scored a goal against Sporting Lisbon, but it was chalked off because his arm was judged to be in an offside position.

After that, the rule was changed so that only a player’s arm from the elbow down could be in an offside position. So, as long as your shoulder is not ahead of the last defender, you’re fine.

Final Words:

What Is a Soccer Offside? In soccer, an offside occurs when a player is in the opposing team’s half of the field and is closer to the goal line than both the ball and the second-to-last defender. This violates one of the basic rules of soccer, which is that players cannot be in front of the ball when it is kicked forward. If offside is called, the opposing team is awarded a free kick.

Woodland Soccer Team

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