Click on the subject to discover the fact behind the myth.

Fact: Opposing players are required to give ten yards even if not requested by the kicking team. An opposing player that stands in front of the ball for the purpose of delaying the kick or forcing the kicking team to request ten yards should be issued a yellow card.

Rule: "Players opposing the kicker shall be at least 10 yards from the ball until it is kicked, unless they are standing on their own goal line between the goal posts." PENALTY: An official shall caution a player who fails to move the required distance away from the ball or engages in time-wasting tactics such as kicking or carrying the ball away after a free kick has been awarded to the opponent's team." (Rule 13-3-1, Page 66-67)

Fact: Any player that deliberately/reflexively moves their hands to protect their groin, face or chest is guilty of handling and a direct free kick must be awarded to the opposing team.

Situation: "A player, who is part of a wall in a free kick, moves the hands after the kick to protect his/her face from the ball. RULING: This is a foul for deliberately handling the ball." (Rule 12-2 Situation A, Page 56)

"A2 kicks a low hard pass to his/her teammate; (a) B2, a male player who is in the path of the ball, moves his hand to protect his groin and the ball touches his hand; (b) B2, a female player who is in the path of the ball, moves her hand to protect her chest and the ball touches her hand. RULING: Illegal in both (a) and (b) for deliberately handling the ball." (Rule 12.2 Situation C, Page 56)

Fact: Any time the clock is stopped for an injury, whether to a field player or goalkeeper, such player must leave the field.

Rule: "If the referee stops the clock for an apparent injury to a field player or goalkeeper, the field player or goalkeeper will have to leave the field. The field player may be replaced, and the goalkeeper shall be replaced by either a substitute or a field player." (Rule 3-3-2(b)(2), Page 16)

Situation: "The goalkeeper goes down after making a save and remains motionless for a few seconds with the ball in his/her possession. The official stops the clock to assess a possible injury. The referee determines that the goalkeeper is able to continue play immediately. No attendants are beckoned and play is restarted with an indirect free kick. RULING: Illegal. Whenever the referee stops the clock for a possible injury, the player or goalkeeper must leave the field." (Rule 3-3-2 Situation C, Page 18)

Fact: There is no offside on a goal kick.

Rule: "A player shall not be penalized for being in an offside position if the ball is received directly from a goal kick, corner kick or a throw-in." (Rule 11-2, Page 42)

Fact: Players are permitted to both play the ball on the ground and "high kick" so long as the referee does not deem such actions to be dangerous or likely to cause injury.

Rule: "A player shall not participate in dangerous play, which is an act an official considers likely to cause injury to any player. This includes playing in such a manner which could cause injury to self or another player (opponent or teammate). (Rule 12-6, Page 58)

Situation: "A2 plays the ball to A3 while lying on the ground. RULING: Legal, provided A2 did not create a danger to A3 or another player. (Rule 12-6 Situation D, Page 58)
"Player A2 does a scissors kick during a game when an opponent is within playing distance and A2's foot is, in the opinion of the official, dangerously high. RULING: Indirect free kick given to the defending team since this is considered dangerous play." (Rule 12-6 Situation A, Page 58)

Fact: A fair/clean tackle from behind (i.e., the player makes contact with the ball first rather than the opponent) is legal so long as it is not violent or dangerous and the ball is within playing distance.

Rule: A player "may be legally challenged from behind provided the challenge is not violent or dangerous and the ball is within playing distance." (Rule 12-5-2, Page 57-58)

Fact: Coaches should refrain from criticizing the referees in any manner that can be seen or heard by players or spectators.

Rule: "The coach shall respect and support contest officials. The coach shall not indulge in conduct which would incite players or spectators against the officials. Public criticism of officials or players is unethical." (Coaches Code of Ethics, Page 6)
"A player, coach or bench personnel shall be cautioned (yellow card) for: objecting by word of mouth or action to any decision given by an official (dissent)." (Rule 12-8-1(c), Page 60)

Fact: Unless the referee sets the wall and/or directs the attacking team to wait for the whistle, a "quick-kick" may be taken by the attacking team at any time regardless of whether the defending team is ready and/or has set their wall.

Rule: "As soon as the ball is in position to be played, it may be played without a second whistle. A second whistle is required to restart play [only] for the taking of a penalty kick, after a substitution is made, after a caution, disqualification, injury and after setting a wall prior to a free kick." (Rule 9-1-3, Page 39)

Situation: "A direct free kick has been committed outside the penalty area. The official sounded the whistle and signaled a direct free kick. The kicking team takes the kick quickly and scores, but the defenders claim the goal should not be counted because there was no second whistle. RULING: Goal counts. No second whistle is required. (Rule 9-1-3, Situation A, Page 39)

Fact: The team in possession of the ball at the time play is stopped is awarded an indirect free kick if play is stopped for an injury. Only if no team has clear possession of the ball will a drop ball be the correct restart.

Rule: "In case of a temporary suspension due to an injury or any unusual situation, if one team is clearly in possession of the ball, the game shall be restarted by an indirect free kick by the team in possession of the ball at the point where the ball was when play was suspended. Should there not be clear possession at the time play is suspended due to an injury or any unusual situation, there will be a drop ball at the spot where the ball was declared dead." (Rule 9-3, Page 41)

Fact: A throw-in that never enters the field is considered a foul throw. Therefore, the throw-in will be awarded to the opposing team.

Rule: "If, on the throw-in, the ball fails to enter the field of play before it touches the ground, the ball is awarded to the opponent at the spot of the infraction." (Rule 15-1-5, Page 71)

Fact: So long as both of the player's feet are at least touching the sideline, the throw-in is legal even if the player's foot/feet extend onto the field.

Rule: "The ball shall be thrown in any direction from the point where it crossed the touchline by a player who is facing the field of play and has both feet on the ground on or behind the touchline." (Rule 15-1-2, Page 70) (See also the diagram examples on Page 71)

Fact: All free kicks taken by the defense, including but not limited to goal kicks, cannot be played again by another player until they have left the penalty area. This includes free kicks for fouls, injury stoppages, and offside.

Rule: "If the free kick is awarded to the defending team in its penalty area, the ball is not in play until it is beyond the penalty area and into the field of play. Failure to kick the ball as specified shall result in a rekick." (Rule 13-3-2, Page 67)

Fact: Any player removed from the game for evaluation of a potential concussion may not return to play unless and until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional such as an adult athletic trainer.

Rule: "Any player who exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the contest and shall not return to play unless cleared by an appropriate health-care professional." (Rule 3-3-2(b)(3), Page 16)

Fact: There is no requirement that the visiting team's socks match the color of their jerseys.

Rule: "Both socks shall be the same color, with the home team wearing solid white socks and the visiting team wearing socks of a single dominant color, but not necessarily the color of the jersey." (Rule 4-1-1(b), Page 22)

Fact: The referee is required to stop the clock for substitutes if he/she believes the team repeatedly substituting is doing so to waste time.

Rule: When a team repeatedly substitutes to consume time, a referee shall order the timer to stop the clock during such substitutions and shall notify the coach of the offending team. The repetition may be construed as unsporting conduct" and a yellow card issued to the coach of the offending team. (Rule 3-6, Page 21)

Fact: A substitute becomes a player when he/she is beckoned (i.e., waved) onto the field by the referee. Therefore, the substitute may enter the field at any time after the referee has waved him/her onto the field and does not have to wait for the field player to exit.

Rule: "A substitute becomes a player when he/she is beckoned onto the field of play, at which time the replaced individual is no longer a player." (Rule 3-3-6, Page 17)

Fact: The referee has discretion to stop the clock for any reason he/she deems necessary. This might include situations where it is taking excessive time to retrieve a ball, to explain a call to a coach or player, to handle an escalating situation between players/teams, to remove a disruptive spectator, to consult with an assistant referee, etc.

Rule: "The clock shall be stopped for an injury, for a penalty kick, for cautioning (yellow card), for disqualifications (red card), following the scoring of a goal and when a referee orders the clock be stopped." (Rule 7-4-1, Page 37)

Fact: Red cards issued to players for misconduct during halftime have no effect on the number of players that team may field in the second half.

Situation: "Between periods or during the halftime interval, a team member directs offensive, insulting or abusive language at an official. The team member is disqualified. The team will be able to play with 11 players the next period. RULING: Legal. A team does NOT play short for a team member disqualified during an interval between periods." (Rule 12-8-2 Situation F, Pages 63-64)

Fact: The home team is required to provide at least two "ball boys."

Rule: "At least two ball holders shall be provided by the home team." (Rule 6-1-1, Page 35)

Fact: While the wearing of pinnies by bench personnel is recommended, it is not required.

Rule: "It is recommended that substitutes wear distinguishing pinnies when warming up outside of the team area." (Rule 4-1-3, Page 23)

Situation: "During play, bench personnel are required by officials to wear pinnies while warming up outside the team area. RULING: False. It is recommended." (Rule 4-1-1, Situation K, Page 25)

Fact: A player who has been ejected is thereafter restricted to the team area but is not required to leave the field area. However, any coach or other adult personnel that receives a red card must leave the vicinity of the playing area and shall have no further contact with the team (e.g. cannot coach or give directions from the stands).

Rule: A Player who is issued a red card is "Restricted to team area." A "substitute or other student" who is issued a red card is "Restricted to team area." "Adult bench personnel must leave the vicinity of playing area" if issued a red card. A coach "Must leave the vicinity of playing area" if issued a red card. (Misconduct Penalty Chart, Page 62)
"A coach who is disqualified shall leave the vicinity of the playing area immediately and is prohibited from any contact, direct or indirect, with the team during the remainder of the game. Failure to comply will result in termination of the game." (Rule 12-8-3(c), Page 62)

Fact: If the teams elects to play shorthanded rather than substitute the player, such player must wait until the next dead ball before re-entering the game with the referee's permission.

Rule: "A team that elects or is required to play shorthanded for reasons other than misconduct may have the player(s) re-enter the game during a dead ball." (Rule 3-3-7, Page 17)

Situation: "Team A is playing shorthanded with 10 players due to illegal equipment. (a) Player A2 runs onto the field during play. RULING: Illegal. (Rule 3-3-7 Situation B, Page 20)

SCROLL TO TOP