The offside rule in soccer can be very tricky for people to understand at first. It has many gray areas that can confuse fans and even players during a match. When it comes to goal kicks, being caught offside seems possible. Is it a violation?
The simple answer is no. There is no such thing as an offside call if a player is getting the ball from a goal kick. There’s never been a rule that outlaws this in the history of soccer.
Technically speaking, this means a player can set up in a way that would appear like they are offside in the normal flow of the match. Only when the ball is back into the field of play and touched by a field player do normal offside rules become enforced again.
What Is The General Offside Rule In Soccer?
A player in soccer is considered offside if any of their body is on the other side of the pitch, closer to the opponent’s goal line than not only the ball, but the last field opponent.
Flags will go up almost instantly if a player is offside in a match. Even if it’s a very small amount, the opposite team gets the ball with an indirect free kick.
Replay systems and other pieces of technology make offside calls much more accurate than ever before. There used to be a time when players got away with some minor offside lineups, but that has gone away at the highest levels.
You can learn more about the offside rule in this post.
Can a Player be Offside From a Throw-In?
A lot of people will combine these two questions since they can be a bit tricky to figure out. The same answer applies, as this is also legal. There are no offside calls if a player gets the ball directly from a team throwing.
The reason here is a bit different. Originally, the laws of the game said that the ball must be thrown at right angles to the touchline. This would make it very difficult for any player to have an advantage when receiving the ball.
In 1877, the throw-in became available in any direction. Since this was a little bit confusing and officials didn’t know how to handle it, offsides now became a rule.
By 1920, the rule changed to what it is today. A player can’t be offside during a throw-in, even though throwing can go in any direction.
Can a Player Be Offside From a Corner?
The third most common exemption to the offside rule is that a player can’t be offside from a corner kick.
Originally, a corner kick had to be taken exactly from the corner of the pitch. This means it would be impossible for an offside call in the first place, since it’s right on the goal line.
Corner kicks have changed a bit, as corners can now happen up to one yard from the corner. This makes it technically possible to be outside, but in the laws of the game, this won’t be called.
When Did Offside Become a Rule In Soccer?
In the very first laws of the game, offside became a rule in 1863. It was a rule before that as well in other less official rulebooks.
Even during the very early stages of soccer, organizers realized that this rule needed to be in place to keep the game flowing as it should.
Why Are Offside Calls Enforced?
If the offside rule didn’t exist, soccer would mostly consist of a game where teams would kick the ball long to get it to players lined up right near the goal. The game would play much differently, and it wouldn’t be as free-flowing as it is today.
A lot of action would only happen right near goals all the time. This might lead to more scores, but soccer is about using the entire pitch and creating offense as a team. Loading everything up for shots on goal would just create a lot of chaos and undesirable gameplay.
How Teams Prevent Offside Calls
To avoid offside calls, teams practice timing everything up on offense. Starting runs while lined right up with a defender is a great way to open up opportunities. There’s an art form to running right with a defender and looking for the opportunity to get an advantage.
The timing between two offensive players needs to be right on cue for a deep, successful run on a pass. Of course, it also helps if the two players are skilled enough to complete the pass and then do something with the ball while on the attack.
Teams running an advanced offense often say that the offside rule is what proves to be the most challenging.
Even talented players will need to work with others to get the timing down to find any type of consistent success. It takes at least a few practices to get it down and read opportunities correctly.
Defensively, it’s all about keeping an eye on where players line up to prevent them from making runs. Always using that slight headstart as an advantage can shut down any deep passes to open up the pitch.
A sneaky way for defenders to draw outside calls involves playing a bit of cat and mouse with the opposition. There are ways to draw players offside by slowing up seemingly out of nowhere. Just changing directions can also throw offenses completely off.
Why There Will Never be an Offside Call on a Goal Kick
With this rule being around for so long, no one in soccer is looking to change it anytime soon. It just makes sense to relax the offside rule when a goal kick is going on. It forces the defensive team to have some of their players near the net in case the opposition gets the ball.
The overall flow of the game would appear off with an enforced offside rule. The opposition could just sprint to the other half of the field and create chaos. Since soccer wants to keep everything flowing the way it should, the offside call for a goal kick will never come into play.