The crowd goes wild! What a goal! Oh no the linesman flag is up again! Offsides in soccer can really hurt the soul sometimes so it is important to know the in's and out's of the rule so you aren't robbed of any goals (or more importantly goal celebrations) in the future. Unfortunately at the highest level the days of running a yard off side and not getting caught for it at are gone thanks to VAR but that's ok knowing the offside rule in whatever league you're playing in can have huge advantages for you.
Timing your run with the flight of the ball and considering where the last defender is can be a challenge for any position but with enough reps you slowly start to be slipping through the back line with ease. Find all the information, advice and some even some advanced tricks about getting the best of the offside rule in soccer and if you just want a refresher on what is is exactly and all the different ways you can be on or offside then read along and get that edge. To put it simply offsides in soccer is when a player is caught in behind the second to last defender as the ball is played from another teammate putting himself in an offside position, simple enough right? Wrong.
1. You Have to Be Behind the Second Last Defender - Pretty straight forward stuff here, as the ball gets played the player must be even or behind the second to last defender (typically a center back).
2. Be Behind the Ball If There's No Defenders - If it's just you and a teammate and they have the ball dribbling to goal with no defenders in sight if he is thinking of passing it to you then you must be even or behind the ball as it gets played or you'll be in an offside position.
3. Any Body Part That Can Score Counts - Shoulder, neck, head, knee, chest or foot or literally any other body part then you can use to score (anything but your hand and and most of your arm) if it is past the second to last defender then you are in an offside position.
4. Deflection Off Of An Opponent Keeps You Onside - If a pass deflects off or the defender or their missed clearance goes your way and you were offside to begin with you are now onside and good to attack the goal as you please. Every striker reading this right now is rubbing their hands together I can feel it from here.
5. A Player Can Be In an Offside Position But Not Offside - If you are beyond the second to last defender and a ball gets played in but you don't interfere with it then you are good to stand there no harm no fuss. You can even join the play after that and may not be flagged offside as well.
If you want the complete laws to the offside rule feel free to find it here Law 11: Offside.
1. Far Side of the Linesmen - If you plan on taking a a couple yards or walking the tight rope real closely then try doing it on the side furthest away from the linesman on that half of the field. Mistakes are more common when there are more people in the way and when the run is made from a further distance making it more difficult for them to see.
2. Positive Reaction to Officials - If you are flagged offsides in soccer then don't scream at the linesman or head referee but give them a smile or a thumbs up to acknowledge their call even if you don't agree with it. They are more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt on a later offside call than if you yell and scream and wave your hands at them in disapproval, refs can hold grudges even if they don't admit to it.
3. Make Runs On Blind Side of Defenders - If you make a run directly in front of the defender they will be able to take a step forward to put you offside or track your run more easily. Now if you run in behind their back not only are they likely to take a step back keeping you offsides but having to track your run while trying to turn and keep their eye on you will put them in a compromising position. Make your run swiftly and quietly in behind them and see how many more times you find yourself in on goal.
4. Standing Offside Can Help Teammates - Believe it or not if your standing offsides in soccer but on a part of the field where it doesn't affect the play then you won't be called offsides if the play continues and your not close to it. If you're clever you will try and drag a defender with you into this position so a teammate on the near side can go into a deeper position and collect the ball and go to goal. This works well especially for free kicks so give it a try but be sure you're not interfering with the play (touching the ball, dummying the ball or blocking a defender or the keepers view)
5. Offside in 1st Phase Can Be On Side in 2nd Phase - Now you know you can stand offsides and not be called offside as long as you're not interfering with the play, to add on to that if the ball gets played in and your teammate now has the ball towards goal you can join the play and even score if they pass it to you and not called offsides. This is because technically you weren't interfering with the play in phase 1 and now in phase 2 you're good to go and join the play. Always good to know some tricks of the trade, add it to your game and see how you can put yourself in some advantageous positions.
1. Mistimed Run For A Through Ball - Your standard through ball onto an incoming runner, be sure to stand in front of the second to last defender as the ball is played so you're not caught offside.
2. Direct Free Kick - Whether it's a ball swung in from deep or one shot on net for a rebound be sure not to have a starting offside position or you'll be flagged.
3. Indirect Free Kick - Be careful of that second touch that's common during a free kick or even a short trick play, don't be caught standing picking your nose in an offside position because being caught offside on an indirect free kick does tend to happen for those that don't know the rules.
1. Drop Ball - Yup that's right you can be in an offside position off of a drop ball anywhere on the field so be sure you are not in behind the second to last defender or if your team wins the drop ball and slips you through directly of it you will be in an offside position.
2. After A Shot On Goal - If your teammate takes a shot and the goalie saves it spill the rebound where another player can get to it if that player was in behind the second to last defender when the shot was taken then they are considered offside. As you can tell you need to anticipate shots from teammates and potential rebounds you can pounce on well before they develop.
3. Keeper Runs Past Last Defender - If the goalie you are trying to score on runs beyond the second to last defender (his center back typically) and you play a teammate in they may be considered offside as the goalie is now the second to last defender and considered the offside line. As confusing as it may sound it's pretty straight forward and although rarely happens is once of those situations you may want to be aware of.
1. Directly From A Goal Kick - If you have a keeper with a big leg you may want to use it to your advantage and cheat a few yards to run onto it as you can't be called offside directly off of a goal kick.
2. Directly From A Throw In - Got a teammate with one of those long throws? Perfect because have them throw it over a couple defenders right to you in a deep position towards goal because you won't be flagged offside for this either, use it to your advantage wisely.
3. Directly From A Corner Kick - Take every last yard when inching towards goal off of a corner kick because you won't be flagged for offside on this one either, oh and remember defensively as well they can't be offside so mark you man all the way to the goalie line.
4. If the Opponent Touches the Ball Last - If the ball is last touched by the defender even if you or your teammate played the ball in then the play is not considered offside. A flick, touch, missed clearance or whatever else will eliminate the offside position you or a teammate are in and you are good to play on, gotta love this game!
Good old VAR (Video Assistant Referee) has definitely changed the game for all parties involved. Coaches, players and referees all agree getting the calls right is the most important thing but the game is being stopped far too often and questionable calls of what body parts are on and offside have made a big mess of everything.
Most of us won't have to worry too much about this unless we end up involved in the 1st division of soccer in Europe. For now just know that every offside call that leads to a goal is reviewed by the Video Assistant Referee who sits in a booth with three other officials to review offsides and other critical calls in a match.
Having the keeper involved in offside calls is incredibly rare but has happened from time to time. In case you're a keeper this may help you know some of you options when it comes to dealing with offsides in soccer on both sides of the ball.
In Attack: The only situation where I can see a goalkeeper having to deal with the offsides is late in a game if their team is down and probably off of a free kick sent into the box. In this situation the same rules apply to the keeper who is trying to score like it does every other attacking player on their team, you can't be in behind the second last defender when the ball is played or you too will be flagged in an offside position.
In Defence: Defensively you need to remember that the offside line is the second last defender which is typically a center back or a fullback. But if the keeper comes out let's say to clear a ball or out to stop a breakaway and goes in front of their last defender they are now the offside line because they are the second to last defender, get it? So there are situations (very rare) where you might want to keep running putting players in an offside position because you are now the second to last defender. Don't wreck your brain thinking about this one too much as it may never be applicable in all the years you play but still good to know just in case.
To put it simply the answer is yes. 1 to 11 players can be offside at once although only the player that directly interferes with the play or the player that touches the ball (or if the same person is both) will be flagged offsides in soccer. Often you will see players asking the linesman who was offsides on a particular play when it could have been both of them but typically is just one, and in some situations when the linesman has got it wrong neither could be offsides! (we've all been there) nobody's perfect right?