A quick guide to some lesser-known rules in soccer

in Sports by

Our next issue of the Patriot Post is coming out this holiday season. Here’s a sneak preview for what’s to come:

With soccer season in full swing, Patriots will commonly see soccer games on the sports field from now until early February. For those going out to support their fellow Patriots, here are some soccer rules to know:


Per The Football Association, the offsides penalty is called when “any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent.” In simpler terms, running “offsides” is when an offensive player is closer to the goal than any of the defensive players. Introduced in 1883, this rule prevents the hard-to-defend act of cherry-picking, which is when a player stands right next to the goal, waiting for a pass to score off. 

The offensive blue player is offside. In order for this play to abide by the rules, the blue player must be further from his or her attacking goal than the defensive red players. (Graphic/Zoe Horwitz)

Look ma, no hands

Obviously, soccer players (with the exception of the goalie) are not allowed to use their hands while playing. If they do, whether it’s an accident or not, the referee calls a handball penalty which results in a free kick for the opposing team. However, soccer rules permit the use of other body parts, such as their head or chest.


If the ball goes out of bounds on the sideline, a player throws the ball back in. While throwing, the player must keep both hands above their head and both feet on the ground for a legal throw. The ball may not be thrown directly into the goal off a throw-in; it has to touch another player first.

Zoe Horwitz, a sophomore at American Heritage, returns to the Patriot Post for her second year as the new Sports Editor. Besides reading and writing, Zoe spends her time playing with her dog or tutoring younger students through Learn with Peers, a non-profit organization she helped found in 2020. During her freshman year, Zoe co-founded FALIA (Food Allergy/Intolerance Awareness) at school, a club that advocates for those with food allergies. Zoe also plays lacrosse, as she plays for a club team and American Heritage girls varsity lacrosse team. Zoe is very excited to be contributing to the Patriot Post.