A Beginner’s Guide to Soccer

A Beginner’s Guide to Soccer

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Any sport is overwhelming and challenging for a newcomer. Soccer is one of the most decorated sports in the world, and many kids love to play and watch the game. 

Learning the basic rules of soccer and improving your skills through consistent practice is essential. Here are a few important things to learn and understand for players just starting out.  

Basic Soccer Rules for Beginners

Although it is not necessary to master all aspects of soccer, you, as a beginner, should understand the basics of soccer. It’s also a parent and coaches responsibility to help guide the player about the fundamental rules and guidelines. 

No Hands

This is pretty obvious to those that have been in the game for six months or longer but kid’s love to pick stuff up. The only player who can touch the ball is the goalkeeper. The only time a field player can touch the ball is when it goes out of bounds and a throw-in is awarded. Outside of that, players need to play the ball with their feet.

Also, keep in mind that shoulders are legal but anything from arm down is not. 


You can take a throw-in when the ball goes out of bounds or crosses the sideline. However, you can ask a team member to attempt the throw-in instead of taking it yourself. Throw-ins require both hands to hold and throw the ball over their head. Once the ball is on the field, you can play it with your feet. 

Goal and Corner Kicks

Players are awarded these free kicks if the following happens…

Goal Kick: A free kick that is awarded to the defending team when the offensive team touched it last before it crossed the end line. 

Corner Kick: When the ball goes over the end line and is last touched by the defending team. Corner kicks are considered “direct kicks” and can be scored with or without another player touching it first. 

Go here for more soccer vocab and terms.


A referee monitors the entire game and ensures all players play safely. A player’s responsibility is to simply play the game of soccer and avoid pushing, kicking, jumping, tripping, striking or holding an opponent. 

Otherwise, you will commit a foul, and as a result, the coach or referee will award the opponent team a free direct kick. If the foul occurs in the box near the goal, the referee may show you a yellow or red card (this rarely happens at the youth level but we’ve seen it happen once or twice) and award the offensive team a penalty kick

Soccer Positions for Beginners 

Soccer positions depend on various factors, such as the players’ age group and competition level. For example, children or young players try almost all roles and learn about each position over time. This allows the young player to choose a position that best fits their skills. 

A goalkeeper’s job is to block the shots from the offensive team and defend the goal. Likewise, defenders protect the ball from reaching the goal box. 

Defenders, unlike goalies, perform on the field, not in the goal box. However, they can defend the goal during corner kicks from the offensive team. 

Midfielders get the ball from one side of the field to the other and form a link between the forwards and defenders. 

Forwards are crucial players on a youth soccer team who play aggressively and tactically to create goal-scoring opportunities. 

For a more in depth explanation of soccer positions, click here

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      Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created soccernovo.com to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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