Soccer Kicking or Attempting to Kick an Opponent Foul

Soccer Kicking or Attempting to Kick an Opponent Foul

Kicking or attempting to kick an opponent is a foul committed when a player makes a motion to kick or otherwise strike an opponent with their foot instead of the ball. This foul can occur with or without physical contact, and it is punishable by a direct free kick being awarded to the opponent.


Definition

Kicking or attempting to kick an opponent is a foul that occurs in soccer when a player brings their foot in motion toward an opponent's body. Soccer players are not allowed to make excessive contact with one another during play, and kicking an opponent violates this principle. Kicking or attempting to kick an opponent is typically committed when a player uses their foot to execute the same kicking motion they would legally use to advance the ball or score a goal but instead applies the motion to an opponent's body. Physical contact is not required for this offense to occur; the foul called and penalty assessed are identical regardless of whether contact is made.

This foul does not apply when a player kicks an opponent in an incidental motion while playing the ball. For example, if a player kicks the ball but contacts an opponent as they swing through the kick, a foul will not be called. However, if a player attempts to play the ball with their foot, misses, and inadvertently kicks an opponent instead, they will have committed a kicking an opponent foul.

Kicking or attempting to kick an opponent is a physical foul, which is punishable by a direct free kick. Like other physical fouls, if a referee determines the foul was committed in a reckless manner, the offender will be shown a yellow card and cautioned. If it is committed using excessive force, the offender will be shown a red card and ejected from the match.

Result

The result of a referee calling a foul for kicking or attempting to kick an opponent is a direct free kick being awarded to the non-offending team. The team against whom the foul was committed is allowed to kick the ball unopposed from the location of the foul, with the potential to score a goal. This result is the same at all levels of play, as the International Football Association Board (IFAB) rules are followed by all amateur and professional leagues.

Referee Signal

soccer kicking foul referee signal

When a kicking or attempting to kick an opponent foul is called, a referee will blow their whistle to stop play. Then they will signal a direct free kick by extending one arm horizontally. If the defending team commits the foul while the attacking team possesses the ball past midfield, play will not immediately be stopped. In this case, the referee will signal advantage and allow play to continue until an out-of-bounds or change of possession occurs.

Examples

  • A player is advancing the ball down the field. An opponent runs toward them and attempts to steal the ball but misses the ball and kicks the player instead.
  • Away from the ball, a player makes a deliberate kicking motion toward an opponent in an attempt to intimidate them. No contact is made.
  • A player lunges toward the ball, attempting to play it. They manage to play the ball but accidentally contact an opponent's leg with their foot before doing so.

Similar Fouls to Kicking or Attempting to Kick an Opponent

  • Striking an Opponent
  • Jumping at an Opponent
  • Unsporting Behavior
  • Serious Foul Play

FAQ

Is kicking an opponent in soccer a foul?

Kicking an opponent in soccer is a foul. Kicking, and attempting to kick, are among the list of actions players are prohibited from taking against opponents. Kicking is a physical foul, and like most physical fouls, it is punishable by a direct free kick. If kicking or attempting to kick is committed in a way that endangers an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality, it may be called as unsporting behavior, serious foul play, or violent conduct.

What are the consequences of being called for kicking or attempting to kick an opponent in soccer?

The consequence of being called for kicking or attempting to kick an opponent in soccer is a direct free kick awarded to the opponent. They will be allowed to kick the ball unopposed from the location of the foul, potentially scoring a goal. The consequences are harsher if a referee determines that the foul was committed recklessly or with excessive force. In those cases, the player will receive a caution or ejection in addition to the free kick being taken.

Can you be suspended for kicking or attempting to kick an opponent in soccer?

Although the typical punishment for kicking or attempting to kick an opponent in soccer is a direct free kick, you can be suspended for committing this foul. If the referee determines that while committing this foul you endangered the safety of your opponent, lunged at your opponent with one or both legs, or used excessive force or brutality, you will be shown a red card for either serious foul play or violent conduct. Both of these offenses lead to ejection and suspension.