Standard fouls

When a player commits a foul (kicks another player, touches the ball with his hands, or breaks any other rule), the referee will either award the other team a free kick or call for advantage. For instance, if Team A's forward is kicking a ball toward the goal, but just before he gets a shot off, he is kicked in the knee by a Team B defender, the referee has a two choices:

CHOICE 1: His first choice is to stop play, bring the ball back to where the foul occurred, and let Team A have a free kick.

CHOICE 2: His second choice is to take a quick second to determine whether Team A's forward is unimpaired by the foul and still is in good position to shoot. If he is, the referee will call out "advantage," which lets the players know he saw a foul occur but that in his view, the victim of the foul would actually be harmed by having the play stopped. If the Team A forward goes ahead and shoots but misses, that's too bad-he doesn't then get the free kick. The window for calling the foul is just a second or two, and if advantage is called, the foul evaporates.


Most fouls in soccer are pretty straightforward: if you fight with the other guy, it's a foul. One violation that is not so obvious is "offsides." This is when a player from Team A is closer to the goalie on Team B than any other Team B player. In other words, the goalie must always have a teammate nearby to help him out. The purpose of this rule is to prevent forwards from hanging around in front of the opposing goal all day, just waiting for a long pass that he can belt home a goal. When a player gets an offsides foul, the opposing team gets an indirect free kick.

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