Soccer coaching laws of the game Law 11 offside law

These soccer coaching tips are designed to help coaches and players understand the laws of the game. Law 11 covers the offside law. Remember it is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.

A player is in an offside position if:

He is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent.

A player is not in an offside position if:

He is in his own half of the field of play; he is level with the second last opponent; he is level with the last two opponents.

Committing an offside offence

A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

  • Interfering with play.
  • Interfering with an opponent.
  • Gaining an advantage by being in that position.

No offence

There is no offside if a player receives the ball directly from:

  • A goal kick.
  • A throw-in.
  • A corner kick.


For any offside offence, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team from where the infringement occurred.

1. Offside

This is offside because when the ball is passed the attacker is in front of all of the opposition players, leaving only the goalkeeper back so no one is playing him onside.


This is onside because when the ball is passed the attacker has two players between himself and the goal.


One to watch out for. The goalkeeper has run down the pitch to help his team – for a corner or free-kick – so when the white team wins the ball and tries a quick counter attack, the attacker is offside because there is only one player between him and the goal.

4. Onside – but flagged offside

One to watch out for. In junior soccer, assistant referees are not qualified and are often out of position. What looks offside isn’t, but they flag anyway. As a soccer coach you must keep your cool and accept the ref’s decision even though your attacker is distraught. Explain to your players how it can happen.


Offside laws guidance

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Click here to read Soccer coaching laws of the game Law 12 fouls and misconducts.

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