Soccer by the Rules – Foul Against A Player With A Goal Scoring Opportunity
By: Joe Manjone, Ed. D.
This month’s article was to be a continuation of the Penalty Kick Rule and Penalty Kick procedures, but because there have been many questions concerning a foul by a player against an opponent who is moving toward his/her offensive goal with an obvious goal scoring opportunity, I was asked to address this rule in this month’s writing.
Rule 12-8-2-d2 states that: A player shall be disqualified for committing serious foul play that includes a foul by a player against an opponent who is moving toward his/her offensive goal with an obvious opportunity to score.
This rule indicates that the following must occur: 1. A foul which, of course, is an infraction for which a free kick is awarded. The foul could result in either a direct or indirect kick being awarded; 2. The player that is fouled must be moving toward his/her offensive goal (or moving forward) at the time of the foul; and 3. The player that is fouled must have an obvious opportunity to score.
An obvious opportunity to score normally means that the player has control of the ball and has gotten past all defenders except the goalkeeper or all defenders including the goalkeeper. Please note that the player with the ball could have defenders closer to the offensive goal but who are too far to the side to prevent the player from scoring.
A player who fouls an opponent that meets the three criteria mentioned above is to be disqualified whether a goal is scored or not. Please note that this is different from an intentional handball to stop a goal where a player is cautioned rather than disqualified if a goal results.
Please also note that an error was made in the 2012-13 NFHS Soccer Rules Book in 12.8.2 Situation E, play (a) located on the bottom of page 57 and the top of page 58. Player A2 had an obvious goal scoring opportunity and was fouled by Player B2. B2 is to be disqualified as is required by Rule 12-8-2-d2. However, the Rules Book incorrectly indicates that Player B2 is to be cautioned. Please make a note of this error which will be corrected in next year’s Rules Book.
Following the above rule and recommended procedures in every high school game you work and making certain your partners do the same will provide the required consistency and make each game a better experience for all participants.
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]