Soccer Penalty Kick

A penalty kick 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.

When a foul is committed inside the defending team's 18-yard box, a penalty is awarded by the referee. Any foul that is committed inside the box results in a penalty. However, the severity of the foul will determine whether the referee also shows the defending player any cards.


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 addressed the ball with a kick, 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 is the literal spot in the penalty area where the ball is placed for a penalty kick. The penalty spot is a white circle located 12 yards from goal and in line with the center of the goal. The penalty spot is where the ball is placed prior to a penalty kick.

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.

Goal Line

soccer goal line

The goal line is the part of the touchline that extends between the two posts. The whole ball must cross the goal line 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.