Soccer by the Rules – The Corner Kick

Soccer by the Rules – The Corner Kick By Joe Manjone, Ed. D

As indicated in Rule 17-1-1, A corner kick shall be awarded to the attacking team when the entire ball passes over the goal line excluding that portion between the goal posts and under the crossbar, either in the air or on the ground having last been touched or played by the defending team. Also, 17-1-5 (Exception) states that a corner kick shall be awarded to the opposing team when a free kick taken from outside the penalty area goes untouched into a team’s own goal.

  • Thus, the ball had to be last touched by the defensive team for a corner kick to be awarded to the attacking team.
  • Last touching is sometimes difficult to determine as several players may be vying for the ball before it goes over the goal line or a hard shot may have come close to touching a defensive player before going over the goal.  As referee, you should try to get the best angle to determine last touching, and also do not hesitate to us your AR’s who may have a better angle than you to make the call.

When a corner kick has occurred signal toward the corner where the kick is to take place.

  • The arm should be raised 45 degrees above horizontal or 135 degrees with the body and the whole hand with fingers together should be pointing toward the corner where the kick is to take place (See signal #8 on page103)
  • After signaling for a corner kick, look at the official area to see if any eligible substitutes are ready to come into the game.
  • As indicated in 3-3-3b and 3-3-4, the team in possession of the ball may substitute an unlimited number of players on a corner kick and a team not in possession of the ball may substitute an unlimited number of players on a corner kick only if the team with the ball is also substituting. In both cases, all substitutes must have checked in with the scorer or nearest referee prior to the ball going out of bounds in order to enter the game when a corner kick is to taken.
  • Beckon the substitutes to enter the game.

Rule 17-1-3 tells us that the ball shall be kicked from the ground within the quarter circle lines nearest where the ball left the field of play.

  • The quarter circle lines as indicated in rule 1-2-9 are arcs drawn at each corner with a radius of 1 yard from the intersection of the goal line and the touchline.
  • As indicated in the diagrams on ball placement for the corner kick on page 66, the ball can be within or just touching the lines of the quarter circle.

Rule 17-1-2 states that, “Players of the defending team shall be at least 10 yards from the ball until the ball has been kicked.

  • It is recommended that a one yard long hash mark as indicated in rule 1-2-11 be placed perpendicular to and outside of the goal line, eleven yards from the corner of the field to allow defenders to know where they can position themselves, and also to allow officials to better spot corner kick encroachment by the defending team.

Rule 17-1-3 also indicates that the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves.

  • Rule 18-1-1n says that the ball is considered moved when it is touched by the kicker’s foot. (Note that visible movement does not have to occur.)
  • A popular and legal corner kick play has two offensive players near the ball. One player touches the ball with the foot, and the other player than dribbles the ball into the field and toward the goal and then passes the ball back to the original kicker who then kicks the ball toward the goal and an often confused defense.

Rule 18-1-5 specifies that the kicker may not play the ball until it has been touched or played by another player of either team. When this occurs, the opposing team is to be awarded an indirect kick from the spot of the foul.

  • Because of this, a play that frequently occurs on a corner kick is detailed in 17-1-5 Situation: A2 takes a corner kick which hits the goal post and rebounds.  A2 plays it again before it has been touched by another player. Ruling: Illegal, Indirect free kick to the opponents.

Rule 11-1-2 points out that a player shall not be penalized for being in an offside position if the ball is received directly from a corner kick.

  • However, a stated in Rule 18-1-4, an offensive player who is in an offside position but not offside during the corner kick may be put in an offside position during a subsequent play.  For example, Player A2 is in an offside position when player A3 takes the corner kick. The ball goes to A4 who is in an onside position.  A4 heads the ball to A2 is still in an offside position and who plays the ball that A2 headed to him. A4 would now be offside because the ball came to him from a subsequent play, not the corner kick.

Finally, as indicated in Rule 10-1-2e, A goal MAY be scored directly from a corner kick.

  • The player taking the corner kick may kick the untouched ball directly into the goal.  This is a legal goal.

I remember being at a university intramural soccer game in 1962 when most people including the intramural soccer players knew very little about soccer and the rules. After the referee called a corner kick, I heard one player ask another, “What is a corner kick.” The other responded, “I don’t know, but it sounds serious.”

As an official, you must take corner kicks very serious as they are often the start of a scoring play. Know the positions of all officials on the corner kick (see Pages 89, 90 and 93) in the NFHS Rules Book, and the rules concerning the corner kick as mentioned in this article. Whether on a dual, diagonal, or three-whistle system communication between officials during all aspects of the corner kick is essential.

Follow the above procedures in every high school game you work, make certain your partners do the same. Help teams know and get used to the high school throw-in rules.

If you would like to suggest a high school soccer rules change or if you have any questions about this rule or any high school rule, please e-mail me at [email protected]