The start of any soccer game features one team kicking the ball from the center of the field, known as a kickoff. There are certain rules and procedures that must be understood regarding kickoffs. Read on to learn about kickoffs and how they are conducted.
What is a Kickoff in Soccer?
A kickoff in soccer is the procedure for kicking the ball into play at the start of each half, after a goal, or at the start of extra-time halves. This is done by a team member (the team is determined by a coin toss) kicking the ball back towards a teammate standing outside of the center circle.
Soccer Kickoff Rules
The winner of the coin toss decides whether they want to choose which goal to attack or to take the kickoff. If they choose their attacking goal, their opponents take the kickoff. At the start of the second half, the teams switch sides, and the team that did not kickoff to begin the match starts play by taking a kickoff.
All players from each team except for the player taking the kickoff must remain in their defensive halves until the ball moves and the official blows the whistle to start the match. Each team will start a half with a kickoff, and the team who was scored on gets to perform a kickoff after giving up a goal.
A kickoff may be kicked in any direction as long as the ball moves from the center spot.
The player taking the kickoff may not touch the ball again until another player (teammate or opponent) has touched it. If the player taking the kickoff touches the ball a second time before another player has made contact with it, an indirect free kick will be awarded to their opponent. If it is a handball offense, a direct free kick will be awarded.
If a goal is scored on a kickoff, it counts as a legal goal.
Where Do Kickoffs Happen in Soccer?
The center circle is the circle in the middle of the pitch, where kickoffs take place. There is a spot in the center of this circle for the ball to be placed for each kickoff. Players not taking a kickoff must stand at least 10 yds (9.15m) from the ball until it is kicked into play.
Every soccer match begins with a kickoff at the center mark. A coin toss determines which team starts with the ball. Next, a player on that team must kick the ball off of the center mark. The ball can legally move in any direction. The first pass officially begins the match, and the official will start keeping time for the first half.
What Happens After the Kickoff in Soccer?
After a kickoff, the ball is in constant contention. Players attempt to maintain possession by dribbling, running, and passing between teammates as they maneuver closer to the opposing goal in an attempt to score a goal.
Soccer Kickoff Strategy
Prior to the ball being kicked off, all players must be lined up on their respective sides of the field. No opposing players are allowed to be inside of the center circle. Typically, the player taking the kickoff will kick the ball back towards their defensive end for a teammate to receive. This gives the kickoff team more time to set up before being pressured by the opposition. The team taking the kickoff may also elect to overload one side of the field with players. This strategy can help get shots early in the game, as the defense may be outnumbered or caught off-guard.
Soccer Kickoff Related Terms
Here are the terms that are related to kickoffs in soccer.
- Center Mark
- Center Circle
- Corner Kick
- Corner Arc
- Goal Kick
- Goal Box
Who takes the kickoff in soccer?
The team that takes the game’s opening kickoff is decided by a coin toss. The winner of the coin toss decides whether to choose which goal to attack during the first half or to take the kickoff. The team that doesn’t take the first kickoff will take the kickoff to start the second half. For each kickoff that happens after a goal, the team that just conceded a goal takes the kickoff. The specific player that takes each kickoff is determined by the team’s coach, although it is typically a forward.
How does a soccer match start?
A soccer match always starts with a kickoff in the center circle. A coin flip is conducted by the referee to decide which team takes the kickoff. The team that wins the coin toss will have the choice of either taking the kickoff or attacking their preferred side in the first half. Once the ball is kicked for the opening kickoff, the clock starts, and the game has officially begun.
Where should you kick the ball on a kickoff?
In most cases, the team kicking off will direct the ball back toward their defensive half. Sometimes, the kickoff team launches the ball downfield and toward the wing to link a pass with a winger or attacker that takes off running as soon as the ball enters play. If successful, the attacking team can surprise the defense and score a goal very quickly.