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Can Goalies Score in Soccer? 

Can Goalies Score in Soccer? 

Can goalies score in soccer? Yes, they can!

While goalkeepers are responsible for preventing the opposing team from scoring, they can score goals like any other player on the field.

While it is rare, sometimes a goalie will join the attack if a team desperately needs a goal.

For example, if a team is down by 1 and they need a goal to tie it up in the final minutes, the team may decide to pull their goalie on a corner kick. As we know, soccer games can end in a tie but in tournaments or playoffs one goal could mean elimination.

In this article, we’ll address in detail about the rules and strategies surrounding goalies from scoring as well as the best moments for keepers.

The Role of Goalies in Soccer

The Basics of Goalkeeping

Goalkeepers, also known as goalies or keepers, are a vital part of any soccer team. Their primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring a goal.

They are the last line of defense and are typically quick, agile, and tough.

Goalies are the only players allowed to use their hands within the penalty area, giving them full use of their bodies to stop shots.

In addition to blocking shots, goalies also have the responsibility of communicating with their defenders and passing the ball to other players on their team.

They need to be aware of the game’s situation and make quick decisions to keep the ball out of their team’s net.

Goalies wear a different color jersey than their teammates to distinguish themselves from the other players. They typically wear gloves for added protection when stopping shots from the offensive team.

The Limitations of Goalies in Soccer

While goalies have a critical role in soccer, they also have some limitations. For instance, they are not allowed to handle the ball outside of the penalty area. If they do, the opposing team is awarded an indirect free kick.

Goalies are also not allowed to hold onto the ball for more than six seconds. If they do, the opposing team is awarded an indirect free kick.

In addition, goalies cannot interfere with an opposing player who is attempting to play the ball. If they do, the opposing team is awarded a direct free kick or penalty kick, depending on the severity of the offense.

Scoring Opportunities for Goalies

Can a goalkeeper score from a goal kick? When the ball is in the goalkeeper’s hands, they have the opportunity to score from a goal kick.

However, it is a rare occurrence as it requires the ball to travel the length of the field and beat the opposing goalkeeper.

The goalkeeper can take a long, powerful kick and hope that it bounces over the opposing goalkeeper’s head and into the net.

At the youth-level, some leagues may have rules around this that prevent goalies from kicking it from one end to the other on a smaller field.

Penalty Kicks

Yes, a goalkeeper can take a penalty kick in soccer.

It is relatively rare for a goalkeeper to take a penalty kick as they are usually not considered to be the best players to take such a shot.

In most cases, teams will choose their best penalty takers, who are usually forwards or midfielders, to take the penalty kick.

However, in some cases, if a team has used all of their substitutions and their goalkeeper is the best option left, they may choose to have the goalkeeper take the penalty kick. Again, this is super rare!

Corner Kicks and Free Kicks

During a corner kick or free kick, the goalkeeper can go up for the ball and attempt to score with a header or a shot.

This is a risky move as it leaves the goal wide open to counterattacks, but it can also be a game-changer if the goalkeeper manages to score.

Situational soccer is in play here. It may be a good idea if a U12 team is down by one goal, has a goalie who is 6 feet and there’s only 30 seconds left.

Open Play and Counterattacks

During open play, the goalkeeper can leave their penalty area and join their team’s attack.

If the goalkeeper decides to venture forward, they must be cautious and aware of the opposing team’s counterattacks.

If their team does lose possession of the soccer ball, the goalie must immediately spring back to their net to prevent the opposing team from scoring.

Famous Goalie Goals in Soccer

Although it’s rare, there have been several instances where goalkeepers have scored crucial goals in soccer matches. Here are a few of the most famous goalie goals:

  • Rogerio Ceni: The Brazilian goalkeeper is the all-time leading scorer among goalkeepers, with an incredible 131 goals to his name. He scored his 100th goal in 2011 and is known for his free-kick taking ability.
  • Jimmy Glass: In 1999, English goalkeeper Jimmy Glass scored a last-minute goal for Carlisle United to save them from relegation from the Football League. The goal secured a 2-1 win and is still remembered as one of the most dramatic moments in soccer history.
  • Hans-Jörg Butt: The German goalkeeper is known for his penalty-taking ability and has scored 32 goals in his career. He famously scored a penalty against his former team, Bayern Munich, while playing for Bayer Leverkusen in 2010.

While it doesn’t happen often, we love to see the recognition goalies get when scoring a goal. Let’s face it, it usually takes a clean sheet for goalies to get recognized for their play. A goal can change it all.


While soccer goalies are primarily tasked with preventing the opposing team from scoring, they are also allowed to score goals themselves.

In fact, there have been several instances throughout soccer history where goalies have scored game-changing goals for their teams.

According to Law 16 of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), a goalie can score a goal directly from a goal kick. However, there are certain restrictions on how a goalie can score a goal. For instance, they must follow the same rules as any other player on the field. This means they can’t use their hands to score.

Overall, while scoring goals is not the primary responsibility of a soccer goalie, they are certainly capable of doing so!

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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 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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