Soccer Goal Kick

soccer goal kick

When an attacking team kicks the ball out of bounds along the goal line of the goal they're attacking, possession goes to the other team. When this happens, the ball is kicked back into play by the goalkeeper with a goal kick. Let’s learn about what a goal kick is and its purpose.

The Goal Box and Goal Area

soccer goal area

The goal box is the box within the penalty area where a goalkeeper lines the ball for a goal kick. The ball is placed on this line by the goalkeeper once a goal kick is awarded. Then, the ball is kicked into play. In soccer, the goals are eight feet tall by eight yards wide. The goal area is a 6-yard box that surrounds the goal where all goal kicks are taken.

Soccer Goal Kick Rules

A goal kick most often happens when an attacking team shoots the ball out of bounds beyond the goal line of the goal. However, a kick can also be awarded when a foul is committed by the attacking team in the penalty area or a player dribbles/passes the ball out of bounds past the goal line.

The goalie, or a defender, will usually kick the ball up the field, which is also called clearing the ball. The kicker sends the ball as hard as they can toward the other goal so their teammates have a chance to receive the ball away from their end. The purpose of this type of kick can also be to clear the ball from one’s zone and move it out of immediate danger.

The player taking the goal kick can also pass the ball to a teammate just outside of the penalty box, giving them a greater chance to maintain possession. Each team will shift who kicks and what formation they use to make the most of a goal kick.

Goal Kick Infringements

There are a variety of infringements that can take place during a goal kick, whether committed by the attacking or defending team. More often than not, these infringements simply result in the goal kick being taken again. Common goal kick infringements include:

  • The kicker touches the ball again before another player touches it, resulting in an indirect free kick for the other team
  • An opposing player enters the penalty area or attempts to make a play on the ball before the kick is taken, resulting in the goal kick being retaken
  • An opposing player enters the penalty area before the kick is taken and commits a foul or is fouled, resulting in the goal kick being retaken and the player who committed the foul being reprimanded at the referee’s discretion

In the event of any other standard infringement that takes place during a goal kick, more often than not, the goal kick will be retaken.


What area of the field is a goal kick kicked from?

A goal kick in soccer is kicked from the goal area. The goal area is the 6-yard box found outside of the goal in the shape of a rectangle. The kick is taken from the front edge line of this area. The kick will either be a booming clearance kick meant to get the ball as far away from the goal as possible or a coordinated kick towards a nearby teammate. 

Can anyone take a goal kick?

Yes, any player on the team can technically take a goal kick. In most cases, however, the goalie is the one to take the goal kick. This allows the team with possession a better opportunity to receive the ball by having more players in the midfield. Additionally, only the player who is taking the goal kick and the goalie are allowed to be in the penalty box until the ball is kicked. 

What type of kick is used in a goal kick?

The majority of goal kicks utilize the instep kick. This type of kick is performed by running up to the ball, planting your non-kicking leg next to the ball pointing straight at the target, and kicking the ball with the top of your foot. This allows the player to utilize the most lower body power while also maintaining a straight ball path. An instep kick is best done using the laced area of a cleat.