Soccer Tripping Foul

soccer tripping foul

Soccer is a foot-centric sport, with the best players in the world needing extreme foot-eye coordination in order to succeed. Nonetheless, even the best players in the league can slip up every so often. With so much emphasis put on one’s feet in soccer, it should come as no surprise that tripping is a very regular occurrence.


Tripping fouls are relatively common in the game of soccer, as players are frequently using their legs and feet in a defensive effort against the opposing team’s ball carrier. While contact with the ball is certainly allowed, players cannot make contact with an opponent’s legs and cause them to fall.

A tripping foul occurs whenever one player trips their opponent, whether it is intentional or a mistimed play on the ball. More specifically, this action can be defined as extending a player’s leg in front of an opponent to impede their movement, often resulting in the opponent falling to the ground.


In soccer, the result of committing a tripping foul is a direct free kick awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the foul. If the foul occurs within the opponent’s penalty area, it will result in a penalty kick. In certain instances, the referee can issue a yellow or red card to the offender if they believe the foul was committed in a dangerous or unsportsmanlike manner.

Referee Signal

soccer tripping foul referee signal

When a tripping foul is called in a soccer match, a referee will blow their whistle to stop play. Following the whistle, the referee will signal the call by lifting one of their legs and pointing at their ankle. In more severe cases following a tripping foul, a referee may raise a yellow or red card in front of the player who committed the foul if they deem their action to be excessively violent or unsportsmanlike. 


  • Tripping a player from behind while they are attempting a shot at the goal
  • Intentionally tripping a player who is spriting for a ball
  • Tripping a player with a clear shot on goal
  • Attempting to trip a player with the ball from behind
  • Sticking your foot out instead of playing proper defense when the opposing player has clear control of the ball

Similar Fouls to Tripping

  • Kicking or Attempting to Kick an Opponent
  • Tackling from Behind
  • Striking or Attempting to Strike an Opponent
  • Pushing
  • Holding
  • Charging


What is tripping in soccer?

Tripping is a common foul in soccer that is called when a player extends their leg in front of an opposing player while trying to win the ball, often causing them to fall to the ground. A tripping foul is called when a player extends their leg out in front of an opposing team’s player and creates a dangerous situation because of the trip or attempt to trip the opponent. This can happen accidentally during an honest play on the ball or deliberately to stop a potential scoring opportunity.

What are the consequences of tripping an opponent in soccer?

The consequence for tripping an opponent in soccer is a direct free kick from the spot of the foul for the team whose player got tripped. However, if the player was tripped in a dangerous, violent, or unsportsmanlike manner, more severe punishments can be called at the referee’s discretion. In these circumstances, a referee can caution the player or even have them sent off for the remainder of the game by issuing a yellow or red card. 

Can you receive a yellow or red card for tripping in soccer?

Yes, a player can receive a yellow or red card for tripping an opponent in a soccer match. This type of penalty is reserved for circumstances when the referee deems the tripping foul unsportsmanlike or dangerous to the player who was tripped. An example of this could be an intentional trip from behind on an opponent with a wide-open shot on goal, and the intent of committing the foul was to prevent the goal-scoring opportunity.