Rules of Scoring a Soccer Game

Goalie diving on a field to save the ball
A soccer goalies dives to grab a ball before it hits the net (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Rules for soccer scoring seem simple -- when the ball crosses the goal line, a point is scored. In some situation, though, getting the ball into the goal does not count as a point. The referee is responsible for making the call as to whether a goal is scored, and he records the goals in a notebook. Most soccer organizations follow scoring rules set by FIFA, the international governing body of soccer.

Crossing the Line

The entire ball must pass over the goal line and between the goal posts for a point to be scored. The ball also must pass under the crossbar. The winning team is the one that scores the highest number of goals. The match is a draw if an equal number of goals is scored or if no goals are scored.

Body Basics

Any part of the body can be used to score a goal except for the arm or hand. Usually, players use the head or a foot.

No Point Rules

Points are not awarded if a player who kicks the ball in is in an offside position, meaning she is closer to her opponent’s goal line than both the second-last opponent and the ball. A point is not awarded if a throw-in passes the goal line, either. On an indirect free kick, a goal is only counted if the ball touches another player before crossing the goal line. A goal is awarded, though, when a direct free kick is shot directly into an opponent’s goal.

Interference

Goals do not count if there is interference from an “outside agent.” This can include an animal, a spectator or an object. However, the referee is considered a neutral object, so a goal is awarded if it bounces off the ref and goes in.

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