Soccer Offside Rule (Simplified)

If "offside" is called in your age bracket, you can teach this simple version: You are not offside if you are doing any of the following:

  1. Are in your own half of the field (your half is the half your goalkeeper is on). Or,
  2. Are even with or behind the ball. Or,
  3. Don't go past the "Second Last Defender" (The goalkeeper is usually, but not always, the last defender; this might be the case if the goalkeeper is out of goal). Or,
  4. Receive the ball direct from a goal kick, corner kick or throw-in. (But you can be offside if you receive it direct on a "free kick"). Or,
  5. Are the ballhandler (the ballhandler can be closer to the goal than the ball if he has his back to the goal).

The penalty for Offside is that an Indirect Free Kick is awarded to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the offside occurred.

When my forwards "push up" without the ball, I tell them to stay 2 steps behind the Last Defender (not counting the goalkeeper) so they are less likely to be caught offside or to be accidentally called offside. (See "Played" & "Offside Rule, Detailed").

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