7 Basic Soccer Rules For Kids

Organizing a soccer game for kids can be a challenge if you have no idea how to start. Don’t worry, I have 7 basic soccer rules for kids (and adults) that will surely get them running in no time.  


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Before Proceeding

Did you know that soccer has 17 basic rules?

Soccer rules are modified in kids’ soccer tournaments to suit their ages.

The rules in this post are designed to get beginners started and are ideal for backyard soccer.

The goal is to apply only 7 simple rules for the following reasons:

  • Easier for the kids (and you) to remember
  • Fun and enjoyable
  • The game has minimal interruption
  • SIMPLICITY!

7 Basic Soccer Rules For Kids


1. Don’t touch the ball

Kids playing soccer

Picking the ball with your hands is not allowed for any player except for the goalkeeper.

All outfield players can use their feet and any part of their body to touch the ball during play.

Touching the ball is a foul called handball and the other team will take a free kick.

Be careful not to touch the ball in front of your own goal because it will be a penalty kick against your team.


2. Only the goalkeeper can pick up and hold the ball

A goalkeeper making a save

Every soccer team needs a goalkeeper otherwise who will mind the goal?

The fun thing for the goalkeepers is that they are allowed to catch the ball with their hands!

But only in the goalmouth area.

If a player commits a handball in front of his or her own goal then there will be a penalty kick – so be careful


3. Play inside the rectangle box

A simple soccer field

Kids can only play inside the rectangle box and if it goes outside the game has to restart either by throw-in, corner kick, or goal kick

The long sides of the rectangle are called the sidelines so if a player kicks the ball outside of it, a player from the other team will take a through in.

The short sides of the field are called the goal lines and if a player from the other team kicks it outside of it, the goalkeeper will take a goal kick.

If a player kicks the ball outside his or her own team’s goal line then the other team will take a corner kick.


4. Penalty Kick

Happy Kids Playing Soccer
A boy taking a penalty kick

Any foul play (including handball) in the player’s own goalkeeper area will result in a penalty kick award to the other team.

The ball is placed around 12 yards in front of the goal before kicking it.

In a penalty kick, no one should stand between the kicker and the goalkeeper.

5. Corner kick

corner flag
A ball placed at the corner flag

A corner kick is awarded to the other team when a player kicks the ball outside his or her own goal line.

The ball is placed in the corner where the goal line meets the sideline before taking the corner kick.

6. Throw-in

A boy taking a throw-in
A boy taking a throw-in

A throw-in is awarded to the other team if a player kicks the ball outside the sideline.

To do it, the player taking the throw-in stands behind the sideline and throws the ball over the head with both hands.

There are some finer details to it but for the time being, let us keep it simple.

At least they will understand what are throw-in is.

7. No foul play

referee-yellow-card
A referee showing a yellow card

The following actions are considered foul plays:

  • Kicking another player
  • Pushing
  • Tackle from behind another player
  • Swearing

Any foul playing will result in the game being stopped and a free kick awarded to the other team.

The foul play rule promotes the safety of the players and also teaches them about good sportsmanship.

There is no need to pull out those yellow and red cards yet!

Conclusion

Stick to these 7 basic soccer rules for kids for the time being and once they are familiar slowly introduce the finer details.

In my post, Basic Soccer Rules For Kids – Crash Course For Parents, I described in detail all the basic rules of soccer.

If you think that I missed out on an important rule, please let me know in the comments below.

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