Can You Push in Soccer (Use Arms/Shoulders)

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One of the first things children are taught when they first start playing soccer is that you can’t use your hands. However, some people are unsure what other body parts they can use during a game.

Are you allowed to use your elbows or shoulders? Or your thigh?

In this article, we will go through the following to help you better understand if you can use your elbows during a soccer match. These include:

  • Can you push in soccer?
  • Can you use your shoulder in soccer?
  • Can you use your arms in soccer? 
  • Can you use your hands in soccer?

If you are interested in learning more about the game of soccer and what body parts you can and can’t use, then we have everything you need right here. Some of the answers will surprise you!

SOC: El Clasico Joven Club America vs. Cruz Azul
10 July 2010: Club America F #30 Matias Vuoso (M) is issued a yellow card for an elbow that hit Cruz Azul D # 15 Horacio Cervantes (L) while they were up in the air fighting for a header during the Club America vs Cruz Azul game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Club America went on to defeat Cruz Azul with a final score of 2-1.

Can you use your elbows in soccer?

The use of elbows in soccer, like pushing, is not allowed during a match. If a soccer player does use their elbows with the clear intent of trying to injure or hurt another player, then the match official will penalize that player.

See also  48 Important Soccer Rules (A-Z Explained)

Can you use your shoulder in soccer?

In short yes you can if you are contesting a ball with another player, and you can even score with your shoulder as long as it doesn’t touch low enough on your arm. 

Because of the style of some soccer leagues around the world, physical contact is a given in just about every league on the planet.

It is very common, and it is allowed between two players on a soccer pitch.

Whether two players are contesting a corner kick or if a team is trying to kill time and it is holding off a player near the corner flag, you can use your shoulder to position yourself and hold off your opponent. 

This is of course as long as it is in line with the rules and is not over the top, then you are allowed to use your shoulders during a soccer match.

Luis Muriel Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio TACKLE Lorenzo Insigne SSC Napoli SSC Napoli vs Atalanta BC at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium in Naples Italy February 03 2021 ○ Soccer Blade

Can you use your arms in soccer?

In the laws of the game, it clearly states you cannot handle the ball. The rule states that for a handball to be called, it includes the use of any part of your arm and that ranges from the shoulder all the way down to the fingertips.

A soccer ball that is kicked by an opposition player which then hits the arm of another player is not deemed handball and this is even if the team gets a clear advantage from the ball hitting the arm.

Can you use your hands in soccer?

When a player deliberately uses his/her hands to make contact with the ball it is considered a foul, otherwise, it is not.

The FIFA Laws of the Game state that there is nothing illegal about a player’s hand coming into contact with the ball.

It is only when the contact is deliberate that a foul is then called against the player.

This is because if a player deliberately uses their hand or arm to manipulate the ball, it can result in an advantage to their team and can even lead to a goal. This is why is it a foul.

See also  17 Rules Of Soccer (Official Laws)

The introduction of VAR has helped to mitigate this with several cameras positioned all around the ground to pick up any potential handballs that might occur.

What happens if you touch a soccer ball with your hands?

Any number of advantages that are deemed to be unfair to an opposition team is considered a foul. These fouls can include:

  • Pushing
  • Tripping
  • Touching the ball with your hands

Penalty kicks or free kicks will then be awarded to the opposing team and depending on what the offense is, a yellow card or red card will then be issued by the main match official.

Zaporizhzhia Ukraine August 7 2021 Vladyslav Kabayev vs Vitaliy Mykolenko The football match of UPL championship FC Zorya Luhansk vs FC Dinamo Kyiv. ○ Soccer Blade
Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine – August 7, 2021: Vladyslav Kabayev vs Vitaliy Mykolenko The football match of UPL championship FC Zorya Luhansk vs FC Dinamo Kyiv

Pushing another player is a foul in soccer and is not allowed. There is one way that a player can push another player and it is not a foul.

It is called fair charging and it is when two players are contesting for the soccer ball. It could be two players pushing at a corner kick or if a player is shielding the ball from another player.

This is not a foul because both players have a right to try and contest the ball and win it for their team.

So, bumping each other to get a better position in order to get the ball first is allowed in the laws of the game.

Why can goalkeepers use their hands, but other players can’t?

A keeper can use their hands as it is one of the ways they can save shots at goal. 

The goalkeeper can also use their feet to stop shots and is only allowed to use his/her hands when they are inside their own penalty area. Use of hands outside the area for keepers results in a foul.

Since outfield players cannot use their hands at all while playing, this is why keepers are allowed to use their hands, yet outfield players are not.

Because outfield players do not save shots at goal unless they are on the last line of defense.

Yes, holding is legal in soccer. As long as players do not hold another player as to stop them from getting to the ball first or to restrict the movement of the player.

See also  Soccer Goalkeeper Rules (+ Goalie and The Box)

Pushing as well as legal as you can use your hands to move a player out of the way. As long as it is not excessive.

A charge is legal too. This is when a player charges at an opponent and can be done without fouling another player.

Is pushing a foul in soccer?

Pushing, kicking, and tripping are all fouls in the game of soccer. Some physical contact is allowed and is quite common during a game.

A foul will be called if the referee decides that the player used unfair force.

A referee will also call a foul if a player is deemed careless or reckless when using a shoulder or pushing another player off the ball.


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Soccer Analyst and Publisher at Soccer Blade | Soccer Blade

Joel is a seasoned soccer journalist and analyst with many years of experience in the field. Joel specializes in game analysis, player profiles, transfer news, and has a keen eye for the tactical nuances of the game. He played at various levels in the game and coached teams - he is happy to share his insight with you.

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Soccer Rules FAQ

How long is a soccer game?

Soccer games include two 45 minute halves, which is 90 minutes of play. Those who have ever watched a game know that, like many sports, real-time is longer than the match time.
In real-time, the length of a soccer game varies immensely. At the bare minimum, it will be 90 minutes of play + 15 minutes of halftime for a total of 105 minutes.

What is offside in soccer?

The offside rule in soccer is to stop player ‘goal hanging’ – standing near the opposition goal. This also stops soccer from being a long ball game, balls hit from one goal to another.

What are yellow card offenses?

+ Charging an opponent – caution if reckless.
+ Holding an opponent – When the ball is in play and the holding continues.
+ Handling the Ball – When a player handles the ball to break up attacking play. If an attacker + uses their hand to attempt to score a goal.
+ Dangerous play – If a player makes an action that can risk an injury to another player.
+ Impeding the progress of an opponent – If a player holds another player back or blocks a player on purpose, that prevents an attack.
+ Breaking up an attack - where there is the possibility of creating a scoring chance.
+ Simulation - where a player tries to con a referee into thinking that they are injured in order to punish the opponent. If a player tries to make out that they have been fouled.

What are the red card offenses?

+ Serious foul play
+ Violent conduct
+ Spitting at a person
+ Deliberate handball – denying a goal-scoring opportunity
+ Denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity
+ Offensive, aggressive, abusive language or gesture
+ Receiving a second caution

Soccer field size, size of goal, number of players and minutes played per age;

+ u17-u19 - Halves 2 x 45 minutes - Number of players 11 vs 11 - Goal Size 8 x 24 - Field size 50-100 by 100-130 yards
+ u15-u16 - Halves 2 x 40 minutes - Number of players 11 vs 11 - Goal Size 8 x 24 - Field size 50- 100 by 100-130 yards
+ u13-u14 - Halves 2 x 35 minutes - Number of players 11 vs 11 - Goal Size 8 x 24 - Field size 50-10 by 100-130 yards
+ u11-u12 - Halves 2 x 30 minutes - Number of players 9 vs 9 - Goal Size 7 x 21 - Field size 45-70 by 70-80 yards
+ u9-u10 - Halves 2 x 25 minutes - Number of players 7 vs 7 - Goal Size 6 x 18.5 - Field size 35-45 by 55-65 yards
+ u6-u8 - Quarters 4 x 10 minutes - Number of players 4 vs 4 - 4 x 6 Goal Size - Field size 15-25 by 25-35 yards

Thanks for reading our articles - we hope you've enjoyed them - have fun playing, coaching, and or watching soccer.

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