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Basic Soccer Definitions

To download as a pdf, click here: hcs basic soccer definitions.pdf

Penalty Kick (U10 & above)

A penalty kick is a type of restart where the ball is kicked for an infraction committed by a defensive player in the penalty area.  In this case, a free kick at the goal from a point (penalty spot) within the penalty area and 12 yards from the goal, with only the goalkeeper allowed defending.  The penalty kick is awarded to the attacking team after a foul within the penalty area by a member of the defending team.

Offsides (U7 & above)

A player who does not possess the ball or is not the most recent player on his team to play the ball is in an offside position if he is in the opposing team's half of the field and is also nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second-to-last opponent. 

Goalkeepers (aka Goalie, Keeper or GK)

Except for a "Throw-In," they are the only player on the field who can legally use his hands and then only in certain circumstances. They must wear a shirt or jersey that is recognizably different from all other players.

If your goalkeeper has a strong leg, let him/her take goal kicks. If they have speed, encourage him/her to play aggressively (e.g., If you "Push Up" your defense on the attack, have your goalie come out to the edge of the Penalty Box or beyond to play like a "Second Sweeper.”).  

If they pick up the ball & no opponents are close, encourage them to drop the ball & dribble it out & then kick it. (Once they drop it or when out of the Penalty Box, they can play like a field player but can't touch the ball).

Encourage them to play aggressively and to take chances: everyone will have much more fun if you do and more kids will want to play goal. 

Do not let anyone else (players or parents) blame the goalkeeper for goals scored.

You should encourage everyone to take a try at playing goalkeeper; however, do not make a child play goalkeeper if they don't want to.


There are several ways that game play can stop and restart.  For more information on restarts, visit our restart chart.


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