Can You Be Offside from a Goal Kick?

The game of soccer does have its fair share of complexities, especially when it comes to some of the rules that govern the sport.

As a new fan, it can be difficult to get to grips with the heap of regulations covering things like hand ball situations, foul throws and even offside calls.

However, if you’ve just started following the sport you don’t need to worry.

Even veterans of the game sometimes find themselves perusing the internet for documentation about how certain aspects of the sport work!

But that’s where Soccer Whizz comes in, as the blog is full of informational resources that answer some of your most pressing questions.

Now on the matter of today’s article topic, it can be quite stressful to figure out when and where the offside rule is supposed to be applied.

You see, a player is capable of being flagged offside in certain on-field scenarios.

On the flip side, there are moments where the rule will not be enforced, such as when a player receives a long ball from a goal kick despite being in a typical “offside position”.

What this means is that…

A player does not commit an offside offence in soccer if they receive the ball directly from a goal kick struck towards them, irrespective of the position they take up on the pitch at that moment in time.

This ruling has been in force ever since the Football Association’s original Laws of the Game were introduced all the way back in 1863.

Anyway, let’s cover the matter of offsides not applying to goal kicks in more detail.


Is a player offside if they receive the ball from a goal kick?

The short answer is no.

But here’s the comprehensive version.

In soccer a player is not considered to be offside if they were to control a pass hit towards them directly from a goal kick.

Here’s what that looks like from a graphical point of view:

no offside from a goal kick explained

What’s important to note is that…

As long as the player in question (i.e. jersey number 9) is the first person to make contact with the ball once it’s launched from a goal kick, they will not be flagged offside even if they are positioned behind the last defender from the opposing team.


Examples of players not flagged offside from a goal kick situation

Of course, it’s always good to back up theory with practicalities.

So, let’s take a look at some examples of players not being flagged offside after receiving the soccer ball directly from a goal kick.

First up, we have…


1. Ederson Moraes pass to Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)

Manchester City are known for their elaborate passing build up from the back of the field, but in some cases their goalkeeper Ederson launches the ball directly towards an offensive team mate.

If the Brazilian spots a good attacking opportunity, he usually won’t hesitate to hit the soccer ball over the opposition team’s defense in the hope that a forward player like Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling or Riyad Mahrez latches on to it and scores.

Here’s a first hand example of this strategy in play:

If you scroll towards the 35-second mark in the clip, you’ll spot Ederson playing a long-range pass to Jesus who was clearly in an offside position.

Again, the rules are clear as they state that it’s not an offence to be standing in an offside position.

So, even though Gabriel Jesus is clearly behind the last defender, he isn’t flagged offside by the linesman and is allowed to progress the play due to the fact that he can’t be called offside from a direct goal kick.

From a strategic point of view, this is a great tactic for a team to employ because it immediately creates a goal scoring opportunity if the receiving player is able to control the ball and drive further forward.

In addition to that, this move stretches the opposition defense by reducing the team’s overall vertical compactness.

Opposition forwards players who are pressing high are essentially “eliminated” from the game albeit temporarily, and opposition defenders have to quickly turn around and retreat towards their own goal which opens up more spaces for a team to exploit in transition.


2. Sergio Aguero goal vs Huddersfield Town

The Manchester City goalkeeper is clearly very talented.

He managed to provide an assist to now-retired Sergio Aguero directly from a goal kick hit towards the Argentinian forward.

Take a look at this footage:

13 second into the clip, you’ll see Ederson launching a long pass from a goal kick towards Aguero.

The latter – who was in an offside position – controls the ball and takes a couple of extra touches before lobbing it over the Huddersfield goalkeeper.

What’s even more interesting is the fact that there has been a near identical play orchestrated between the two players in a pre-season fixture against Tottenham Hotspur.

Have a look at this:

Again, Aguero is stood right behind the last defender Toby Alderweireld and receives the ball directly from a goal kick launched by Ederson.

Unfortunately, in this instance Aguero could only hit the woodwork with his effort.


Why is there no offside from a goal kick?

The laws were simply quite clear right from the very start.

Here’s an excerpt that points toward how strict the games rules were back in 1863:

“When a player has kicked the ball any one of the same side who is nearer to the opponent’s goal line is out of play and may not touch the ball himself nor in any way whatever prevent any other player from doing so until the ball has been played; but no player is out of play when the ball is kicked from behind the goal line.”

Source – Wikipedia Commons

Confused a little?

Well worry not.

The quote above simply puts across the broad rule that any attackers in front of the ball would be penalized if they received it from a team mate, with the exception of players receiving the ball after it has been kicked from behind the goal line (i.e. the 1863 equivalent term of a goal kick).

At this point, the main takeaway that you should be able to decipher is that a player can’t be offside from any restart that has to do with the ball leaving the pitch and being brought back onto it.


When can you not be offside?

The Football Association’s official guidelines couldn’t be any clearer on this:

There is no offside offence if a player receives a ball directly from a goal kick, a throw in or a corner kick.

Source – FA Law 11 on Offside

Although the last two bullet points above are outside the scope of this post, so you can simply check out this generalized general article on why soccer has offsides for further information.


Can you be offside on a goalie punt?


If a goalkeeper has the ball in hand and executes a drop kick towards a forward player stood in an offside position, that attacker will be flagged offside.

The reason for an offside call in this scenario is that the ball is already in open play.

As such, the previous rule – which didn’t call offside when a goal keeper kicked the soccer ball after it had exited the field – doesn’t apply in this context.


Final thoughts

This post has extensively covered why players can’t be offside from a goal kick situation.

Hopefully it was really informative for you.

If you found it helpful, you can also check out some similar posts on the blog like:


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Samuel Waihenya
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