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Offside – The Basic Scenario – Law 11 (UPDATED!)

OFFSIDE – THE BASIC SCENARIO – LAW 11

©CoachingAmericanSoccer.com®

There is a basic scenario in soccer that illustrates the majority of offside cases.  This discussion is a follow-on to the CoachingAmericanSoccer.com® presentation, “Introduction to Offside – Law 11.”  Please review that presentation to ensure that you understand the concept of the “Two-Question Test” before continuing.

In this scenario:

Team on defense –

1.)  The goalkeeper is in position closest to the front of the goal and represents the “last defender.”

2.)  A fullback is in a position slightly behind the other back defenders and in front of the goalkeeper.  This fullback represents the “next-to-last defender.”

Team on offense –

3.)  A striker, who is going to be the intended recipient of an imminent pass, has just started a run toward open space that is behind the next-to-last defender.

4.)  A midfielder, who is a teammate of the striker, passes the ball to the striker.

Remember, “Offside” is an instantaneous decision made by the Assistant Referee, who has to be in the correct position in-line with the next-to-last defender and simultaneously correctly sees the position of the striker at the same time that the ball is struck by the midfielder, and then raises or does not raise the flag.  Then, the decision must still be agreed upon by the Referee.

 

CASE ONE:

At the exact moment the ball is passed (kicked by the midfielder), the striker is in a position ahead of the next-to-last defender and ahead of the imaginary “offside position line” (“line of offside” or “restraining line”) that runs through the defender’s body.  Using the “Two-Question Test,”

Is the striker in an offside position at the moment the ball is passed?  NO

[You don’t go on to the second question.]

Decision – The striker is NOT OFFSIDE.  The striker is ONSIDE.  No violation of Law 11 has occurred and play is to be allowed to continue.  The flag stays down.

 

CASE 1 – NOT OFFSIDE

 

CASE TWO:

At the exact moment the ball is passed (kicked by the midfielder), the striker is in a position even (level) with the next-to-last defender, equally on the imaginary “offside position line” (“line of offside” or “restraining line”) that runs through the defender’s body.  Using the “Two-Question Test,”

Is the striker in an offside position at the moment the ball is passed?  NO

[You don’t go on to the second question.]

Decision – The striker is NOT OFFSIDE.  The striker is ONSIDE.  No violation of Law 11 has occurred and play is to be allowed to continue.  The flag stays down.

 

CASE 2 – NOT OFFSIDE

 

CASE THREE:

At the exact moment the ball is passed (kicked by the midfielder), the striker has gone past the next-to-last defender and beyond the imaginary “offside position line” (“line of offside” or “restraining line”) that runs through the defender’s body.  Using the “Two-Question Test,”

Is the striker in an offside position at the moment the ball is passed?  YES

[In this case, the striker receives the ball.]  Did the striker also gain an advantage from being in the offside position?  YES

Decision – The striker is OFFSIDE.  The Assistant Referee raises the flag.  The Referee agrees with the Assistant Referee.  A violation of Law 11 has occurred.  The Referee blows the whistle and play is stopped.  An indirect free kick is awarded to the defending team at the spot where the striker was when the midfielder kicked the ball.

 

CASE 3 – OFFSIDE

Proceed to the next presentation in the CoachingAmericanSoccer.com® series on Offside at, “Offside – The More Complicated Portions – Law 11.”

Soccer Coaching Tips:

– It is critical that players on both offense and defense be taught not to assume that an offside call will be made, one way or the other, and to continue to play until the whistle sounds.

 

NOTICE:  This article is based on the soccer Laws of the Game as maintained by The International Football Association Board (IFAB).  As represented in the article, the Laws may be paraphrased, edited for “American English” readability, or quoted in whole or in part.  Supplemental wording presented by CoachingAmericanSoccer.com® should be provided in brackets. Every effort has been made to be faithful to the letter, spirit, and intent of the Laws however, since the Laws are subject to modification annually by the IFAB, recent changes may not be currently reflected.  Although national associations are permitted to institute local rules changes to the Laws, particularly for “youth, veterans, disability and grassroots football,” the IFAB is the original source for the official English-language version of the Laws of the Game.  If there is any question, the Laws of the Game may be found at TheIFAB.com.

Any undefined soccer words, terms, or phrases may be found in The ULTIMATE SOCCER DICTIONARY of American Terms available at Amazon.com.

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John C. Harves

CoachingAmericanSoccer.com®

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