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AYSO Region 1284 - Genoa / Kingston / Kirkland

Understanding the Offside Rule

The offside rule is one of the most misunderstood rules of soccer.

Players who do not understand it are easily confused, coaches who do not understand it may teach it incorrectly, and spectators who do not understand it may get upset.

The purpose of the offside rule is to prevent a team from having a player "camp" in front of an opponent's goal waiting for an easy score.

  • A player is in the "offside position" if he/she is nearer to the opponent's goal line than both the ball and the second-to-last-last opponent
  • A player in the offside position is not in violation of the rule
  • However, once he/she plays the ball while in the offside position, that is when the violation of the rule occurs
  • In other words, a player is offside if he/she gains an advantage from being ahead of the ball at the moment the ball touches or is played by a member of the same team
  • (Note: Offside is not called below the 10U division)
  • For an offside position to occur, all three conditions must occur:
    • The offensive player must be in the offensive half of the field;
    • The offensive player must be closer to the opponent's goal line than the ball;
    • The offensive player must be closer to the opponent's goal line than the next to last defender

  • The referee's moment of judgment is the instant the ball is played, not when it is received


  • A player cannot be called offside:
    • On a throw-in
    • On a corner kick
    • On a goal kick
    • If he/she is on their own side of the field

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Regional Commissioner - Jason Haack

AYSO Region 1284

301 Forest Dr 
Kirkland, Illinois 60146

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Phone : 815-980-7234
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