As someone who always played defense in soccer growing up, I can probably count on two hands the number of goals I scored in my youth. I scored so few times, I felt like I forgot how to score! This article is for all my fellow defensemen and those that want to learn more about the game of soccer.
With all of that said – how does scoring in soccer work?
Scoring in soccer revolves around getting the ball to completely cross the goal line. Any position on the field can score a goal, but the majority of goals come from forwards and midfielders. The team who scores the most goals in a game is usually the winner but teams can also win on aggregate.
If you’d like to learn more about how aggregate scoring, the offside rule, and much more work, we encourage you to read on.
Scoring In Soccer / Laws of the Game
The ultimate goal of soccer is to score goals while preventing the opposing team from scoring goals. The soccer ball has to go completely cross the goal line to count as a goal.
Goals usually aren’t able to be reviewed at the non-professional levels, so if the referee or a lineman indicates a goal, it’s unlikely that the ruling gets overturned.
The professionals have VAR, which allows any disputed goals to be reviewed to determine if the ball completely crossed the goal line.
Law 10 of the Laws of the Game reads: “A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided that no offence has been committed by the team scoring the goal. If a referee signals a goal before the ball has passed wholly over the goal line, play is restarted with a dropped ball.”
Law 10 is also used to determine the winning team: “The team scoring the greater number of goals is the winner. If both teams score no goals or an equal number of goals the match is drawn. When competition rules require a winning team after a drawn match or home-and-away tie, the only permitted procedures to determine the winning team are:
• away goals rule
• two equal periods of extra time not exceeding 15 minutes each
• kicks from the penalty mark
A combination of the above procedures may be used.”
Aggregate Rules In Soccer
Aggregate scoring is used in home-and-home series, which involve two teams playing against each other at and away from their stadium.
This type of scoring is usually used in tournament formats when a winner must be declared.
If a team wins both games of their series, they advance to the next round. When the series is split, the team that advances is based on the number of total goals scored during the two games.
If after both games the teams scored the same amount of goals, the team who scored more away goals moves on.
In the event both teams scored the same amount of away goals, 30 minutes of extra time is played during the second game. If a team isn’t winning after this extra time, the game goes to penalty kicks.
For example, if Team A and Team B played a home-and-home series and Team A won the first game 2-1 and Team B won the second game 5-2, team B would win 6-4 on aggregate.
Let’s take a look at another example. If Team A won the first game at home 3-1 and Team B won the second game at home 2-0, Team B would advance because they scored more goals on the road.
How Does Offside Work in Soccer?
If you find the offside rule confusing, don’t worry because you’re not the only one who feels this way. It took many years of playing youth soccer for the rule to completely click in my head.
The offside rule makes it so that a ball can’t be played to a player who’s beyond the last defender. A good way to visualize this is to draw an imaginary line from the last defender to each sideline.
Only the team with the ball can be offside, meaning defenders can turn the ball over to an opposing player who would normally be in an offside position.
Another aspect of the offside rule is that players can’t pass the ball forward to a teammate if both players are beyond the last defender.
It’s also okay for a player to be in an offside position, as long as they don’t become involved in the play. Offside can only occur in the attacking side of the field for a team.
When a team is called for offside, the defending team receives an indirect free kick from the spot of the offside player.
Players can’t be offside on goal kicks, corner kicks and throw-ins.
Who Can Score In Soccer?
Any player, regardless of position, can score in soccer. Players can use any part of their bodies to score, with the exception of their hands and arms.
Forwards score the most goals out of anyone on the field due to the amount of time they spend in the other team’s half of the field.
Midfielders also score a good amount of goals but also have to help out on defense, so they generally don’t push up as far as forwards.
Defensemen don’t score many goals due to having to mark the forwards on the other team and because they usually don’t push up much beyond midfield.
Goalies rarely score but when they do, it tends to be because the defending goalie wasn’t paying attention or because the other goalie misjudged the ball.
- Soccer Positions: The Role of Each Player on the Field
- The History of Soccer: When and Where Soccer Originated
- 10 Fun Soccer Games for Kids to Help Them Master the Game!
- What is Stoppage Time in Soccer? A Key Part of the Game
- How Long Are Soccer Games? (Professional, College, Youth)