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 Thumbnail Rules of Soccer:
Big Rules for Playing SSSC Soccer

Players / Parents / Coaches: This one page guide is intended to help you understand the very few basic soccer objectives that we have as participants in the Stafford Springs Soccer Club. The second page is a thumbnail guide to the rules of soccer.


Big Rules for SSSC Coaches

1.     Kids are here to have fun.  Keeping a positive attitude at all times and using words of encouragement goes a long way toward kids and parents having fun.  Set an example of positive demeanor and good sportsmanship every time you are out on the field.

2.     Safety is essential.  All kids always wear shin guards.  No jewelry or dangerous apparel, like hard casts.  Players that fall to the ground should be continuously instructed to get up before they attempt to play the ball.  Horseplay is not good.

3.     Always take time at every practice session to kick and dribble the ball, and do so under pressure.  Under Pressure” means with some kind of distraction going on, like a defender that is covering closely.   Less intense pressure might be kids dribbling in close quarters without losing the ball. A kid’s overall soccer skills are greatly enhanced by simply being very comfortable with these fundamentals.

4.     In our programs where we play 7v7 or few players on the field, positions should be no more precise than offense, defense or goalie.  All field players should always be involved in the play all over the field.  Players should attempt to keep their “shape” all around the field, attacking offensively with all players and defending defensively with all players all over the field. (Defenders shouldn’t be standing 10 yards in front of the goalie the whole game waiting for the ball to come to them.).  Further, kids this age should be given a chance to play each of the different positions at some point.

5.     All practice drills / activities should be constructed so all or most of the kids are actually participating in the activity at the same time.  Nine kids standing in line watching one or two kids do a drill is VERY BORING for those nine kids.  Nearly ALL activities can be modified in some way so that all kids can be “doing” the activity at the same time. Keeping kids busy helps their fitness, conditioning, increases the amount of time they are learning soccer and getting more comfortable.

6.     Frequent water breaks are good. Period.


Thumbnail Rules of Soccer

Ball in play " when any part of the ball is inside of or touching the perimeter line around the field.  I.E. On the line is “IN”, and the line extends straight up in an imaginary plane.

Goal is scored " when all of the ball passes over all of the line between the goal posts and under the cross bar.  The team that scores the most goals wins.  A tie is a tie " no overtimes unless it is a special tourney.

Penalty area " large area in front of the goal includes the larger of the two rectangles. This is where the goalie can touch the ball with his hands.  The arc at the top of this area is not part of the penalty area.

Throw in " How the ball is put into play when it leaves the field of play at the sidelines.  The ball must be released using two hands, over the head of the thrower, and with both feet on the ground upon release.  The team that touches the ball last when it leaves the field “surrenders” the throw " in " i.e. the opposing team takes the throw-in.

Goal Kick " How the ball is put into play when the offensive team last touches a ball that goes out of play over the end line.  The goal kick is taken from the smaller box in the penalty area (this box is called the goal box) and must leave the penalty area before anybody can touch it.

Corner Kick " How the ball is put into play when the defensive team last touches a ball that goes out of play over the end line.  The corner kick is taken from the corner.  A goal can be scored directly from a corner kick.

Kick off " How the ball is put into play to start a half or quarter and after a goal is scored against you.  The ball is placed at the center of the field and must be played forward.  All defensive players must stay outside the center circle until the ball is first played.

Fouls " There are two kinds of fouls in soccer. One kind results in the opposing team taking a direct free kick.  A direct free kick is one in which the offensive team can shoot and score directly from the kick.  Fouls that result in a direct free kick are generally the physical fouls, including tripping, kicking, pushing, charging, holding, jumping at, handball, etc.  The other kind of fouls results in the opposing team taking an indirect free kick.  An indirect free kick (IFK) must be touched by one other player on either team before it can legally enter the goal.  Offsides, dangerous play, obstruction and getting a yellow card caution are fouls that result in an IFK.

Offsides " This is the hardest rule to understand in soccer, and maybe any sport. An offensive player ahead of the ball and in his offensive end of the field is in an offsides position if he does not have at least two players between him and the goal. Then, a player is judged offsides if his teammate plays the ball to him while he is in an offsides position.  The judgment is made precisely when the teammate actually passes the ball.  The player must also be what they call “interfering with play”, which means he is consciously involved with the play and trying to get the ball and score in order to be judged offsides. In any case, if a player is not offsides when the ball is played but then runs behind the second last defender while the ball is in flight (common example that is misunderstood), the player is NOT offsides.  And you cannot be offsides if you receive a ball directly from a throw in (just a rule) or corner kick.

Penalty Kick " A foul committed in the penalty area by the defensive team that would result in a direct free kick is taken as a penalty kick.  The penalty kick is taken at the penalty spot " a spot halfway between the goal box and the penalty box straight in front of the goal.  All players except the goalie and kicker must be outside the penalty area and penalty arc upon taking of the kick.  The kicker must wait for the referee’s whistle to take the kick and cannot touch it more than once until it is touched by another player (if this point blank shot does not go in).

Other " Players cannot use their hands or arms on the ball anywhere on the field " ok to do so for throw ins.  The goalie cannot use their hands outside the penalty area.  Slide tacking from behind (at the players heels specifically) is a foul penalized by a direct free kick and sometimes a yellow caution. It is dangerous.