Slide tackling, Should it be Banned in Rec Soccer?
Soccer Slide Tackling is Dangerous and Unnecessary
Rec Soccer Players Aren't Professional Athletes

Hi Premium Forum,

As far as my understanding goes, at U-11 the girls on my Rec team can slide tackle. I'll need to teach them a safe way to do this. I don't want the girls flopping around at the ball (and accidentally at the ankles and knees) and hurting themselves or anyone else. I want them to be able to do it only when the situation calls for it. What are your thoughts on slide tackling at this age? I'll gladly accept any input about this... and any other areas where U-11 might be different from lower levels of soccer.


Coach A


Hi Coach A,

I recommend not teaching slide tackling and recommend you ban it. In fact, I would recommend that any recreational league ban it.

There are 3 reasons:

  1. Injuries to the player and to the player being tackled.

  2. Possibility of a Yellow Card or Red Card for dangerous play. The rules say "Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play." Source: Questions and Answers, Additional Instructions for Referees. The rules now include "Decision 4", which says: "A tackle, which endangers the safety of an opponent, must be sanctioned as serious foul play". (meaning a Red Card)

  3. If the player who attempts a slide tackle is on the ground, he or she is out of the play and can't "recover" quickly.

Slide tackling is dangerous, isn't necessary, and isn't worth the effort and risk.

One season in a U12 Rec game a kid violently slide tackled my son from the front, took him down (actually flipped him), hurt his leg (in spite of him wearing excellent shin guards), and my son had to leave the game. It should have been a Yellow or Red card, but the young Ref didn't understand the rule, which is that it can't be dangerous, even if you contact the ball. (The Ref thought it was legal because the tackler had contacted the ball. If you think about it, any time you slide tackle a player dribbling the ball from the front, you are going to contact the ball, but you will also take out the dribbler in a dangerous way).

Another time in a semi-pro game I saw a player slide tackle and the guy he was trying to tackle jumped in the air to avoid the tackle and came down on the leg of the player who slide tackled and broke both bones -- it was horrible. The injured player was in terrible pain and they had to take him off on a stretcher � the game was stopped for about 30 minutes.

If I faced a team that was slide tackling, I would tell my kids to jump in the air so they don't get hurt and don't worry if they come down on the player who is tackling them because they have to protect themselves and the kid slide tackling should know he or she might get hurt. If your league allows slide tackling, I would encourage them to ban it and if they won't, teach your girls how to not get hurt by it, and talk to the Refs before the game to be sure they understand that dangerous play isn't allowed, and that even if a player makes contact with the ball they can't "take someone out".

Let me clarify a question I've been asked: Slide tackling does not include the Goalie going to the ground to get the ball using his or her hands within the Penalty Box, but I would be opposed to allowing the Goalie to slide tackle using his or her feet to take a player down, even if the ball was contacted.

My understanding is that some college coaches now discourage it or even prohibit it for the same reasons.

I'm not surprised they drafted you into coaching -- you're a great coach.

It's always good to hear from you.

David at SoccerHelp


Hi David,

Thanks for the reply. That's sort of what I was thinking... banning slide tackling. I just don't see a use for it at this level, except for getting kids hurt. And the jumping is exactly what I was going to teach the girls to do to avoid being slide tackled.

I have my own experience with slide tackles gone wrong. I played keeper and sweeper/fullback in rec soccer. I never had the most skills, but I was completely fearless. One time when I was in the goal, I had a kid coming at me 1 v 1. I went out to challenge him and cut off his angle. His dribble got away from him and I went for a quick slide tackle. Well, I contacted the ball, but he had lunged and my foot hit the ball, which hit his foot at the same time. The ball went flying to the sideline and I tried to stand up, but fell over. I had a hip stinger and could not move my right leg. I got a ride in an ambulance to the hospital out of the deal, though.

I will be banning my girls from using them and teaching them to jump when an opponent slide tackles them. I'll check with the league on removing slide tackles from play.

Coach A


Hi Coach A,

I hope I didn't sound too strong about that, but the more I think about it, the more I think players in Rec leagues shouldn't slide tackle. Professional athletes can do it and get away with it because they are great athletes.

Having said that, I don't think the Goalie should be banned from sliding to pick up the ball inside the Penalty Box.

Please let me know how your League reacts to this. Rec coaches have more important things to teach than slide tackling, and only a good athlete can do it right, and even they get hurt.

I may write an article about it.

David at SoccerHelp

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