Soccer Penalty Kick

soccer penalty kick

A penalty kick, also known as a penalty or PK, is awarded when a defending team commits a foul inside their own penalty area. The official will signify a penalty kick by blowing their whistle and pointing to the penalty spot. During the kick, the goalkeeper and kick taker (anyone on the fouled team who was on the pitch when the foul was committed) are the only ones allowed in the penalty box.

Penalties are taken in two situations: when a foul is given inside the 18-yard box or during a penalty shootout. Additionally, in the case of a foul in the box, the severity of the foul will determine whether the referee also shows the defending player any cards.

Penalty Kick Procedure

The remaining players must stand outside the penalty box and cannot enter the box until the kick is taken, or the penalty kick will be redone. The ball will be placed on the penalty spot and the goalkeeper will stand on their goal line. Once the kicker has made contact with the ball, the goalkeeper may move off their line and the other players may enter the penalty area with play resuming.

Penalty Spot

soccer penalty spot

The penalty spot, also known as the penalty mark, is the literal spot in the penalty area where the ball is placed for a penalty kick. The penalty spot is a white circle and it is located 12 yards (11 meters) from the goal line and is in the center of that space.

Penalty Arc

soccer penalty arc

The D shape at the top of the 18-yard box is the penalty arc and stops opposing players getting too close to a penalty taker. Players may not cross the D or the top 18-yard box line before the ball is kicked. If they do before the player kicks, the kick is retaken. If they do and the ball has crossed the line, the goal is scored.

Goal Line

Soccer Goal Line

The goal line, also known as the end line, are the shorter sides of the pitch (as opposed to the longer touchlines). The whole ball must cross the section of the goal line in front of the net to be considered a goal. Goalkeepers defending a penalty kick are not allowed to step toward the ball from the goal line until the ball is kicked.


When are penalty kicks taken in soccer?

A penalty kick will be awarded to a player if they are fouled inside the opponent’s penalty area. The penalty area is also known as the 18-yard box. Penalty kicks are also taken in some competitions that settle tied matches with a penalty shootout. However, a penalty shootout will feature both teams and multiple players taking turns kicking, while a foul in the penalty area will only result in the fouled player’s team taking one penalty kick.

What fouls result in a penalty kick?

Any foul that would typically result in a direct free kick that is committed by the defending team in their penalty area will result in a penalty kick. These fouls include handballs, holding, and excessively reckless tackles. The penalty kick will be awarded to the team that was fouled. Fouls in the penalty area that typically result in an indirect free kick will result in an indirect free kick at the spot of the foul.

Where are players during a penalty kick in soccer?

During a penalty kick, the kicker and goalkeeper are inside the penalty area while everyone else is outside of it. The kicker specifically stands between the penalty mark and the penalty area bounds while the goalkeeper stands behind the goal line until the ball is kicked. All other players must be at least ten yards (9.5 meters) from the penalty mark, outside the penalty area, and inside the field of play.