Soccer Goalkeeper Goals and Punting: Must-Know Rules

Goalkeepers often punt the ball downfield, but can they be blocked, and can they score – we take a look at the official rules.

The rules for soccer are often like a lawyer’s manual, but we make them simple in the must-know guide.

We’ll be exploring some rules surrounding goalkeepers scoring goals. We’ll also take a look at some real-world examples of extraordinary goal-keeping situations.

If you’d like to learn everything there is to know about goalkeepers, read on!

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Soccer goalie punting rules

  1. From a goal kick, the goalkeeper must place the ball inside their 6-yard box. They are allowed to pass the ball to a teammate or punt the ball downfield.
  2. If the keeper has the ball in hand, they are allowed to place the ball or drop-kick it downfield. However, the ball is still in play and can be stolen by an opposition player.
  3. The goalkeeper can’t drop-kick the ball outside of their 18-yard box as it would be considered a handball.
  4. The keeper can dribble the ball or throw it outside of the box and then punt it downfield or pass to a teammate.
Real Salt Lake Goalkeeper Zac MacMath #18 watches the ball goes out at Exploria Stadium on Saturday February 29, 2020
Real Salt Lake Goalkeeper Zac MacMath #18 watches the ball goes out at Exploria Stadium on Saturday, February 29, 2020

Can you block a goalies’ punt in soccer?

You are not allowed to block the ball when the goalkeeper has it in their hands. They can’t be challenged and a player can’t stop the keeper from releasing the ball.

A number of years ago you were allowed to touch the ball if the keeper let go to kick it down-field. A number of goals were scored like this.

For safety reasons, a goalkeeper can’t be challenged when kicking or throwing the ball. A player can stand in front of a goalkeeper, but not obstruct.

Can you block a goal kick?

It is allowed for players to block a goal kick but, the opposing players must stand outside of the penalty box.

A goal kick is a dead-ball situation – this means that the ball has gone out of play, and the keeper needs to restart play.

For any dead-ball, the opponents must stand 10 yards away form the ball. So anyone standing on the edge of the box for a goal kick would be a minimum of 12 yards away.

Can a goalie put the ball down and pick it back up?

It’s illegal for a goalkeeper to pick the ball up once they have put it down. The rules state that a keeper can pick up the ball ‘once per play’.

Once a keeper has put the ball down, it can only be picked up again after it has been touched by a teammate or an opposition player.

If the keeper does pick the ball up, it’s in indirect free kick

Watch out for the pass back rule

It can be tricky though; a goalie is not allowed to pick the ball up if a teammate passes the ball to them thanks to the ‘pass back rule’.

This rule has led to a lot of controversy in the past and caused many teams a lot of misfortune.

The rule is down to the interpretation of the referee. So if the ball comes to the keeper off of a teammate, one referee may see it as a deflection while another may see it as a ‘pass back’.

Can a goalkeeper score a goal for their own team?

Yes, a goalkeeper can score a goal for their own team! The goalkeeper is a part of the team and therefore any goal that they score will stand – apart from a throw from their own penalty box.

They may even be called into the opposition’s box to attack for a last-minute attack. It might be a rare occurrence, but it does happen from time to time.

While you won’t see a keeper sprinting down the wing, there are some situations where the keeper can be in a goal-scoring position.

One such situation is where a team may be losing or drawing in the dying minutes of a game in a must-win game.

If the team has a corner, the keeper will be called out from their goal to join the attack.

Risk Vs. Reward – Goalkeepers in the opposition box

This gives the attacking team an extra player to use in the corner and keepers are tall and cause another goal threat.

It also takes some of the risks away because the referee is likely to end the match if the opposing team clears the ball out of their half.

This takes away their opportunity to score on the empty net, however, this is not always the case. It’s a risk the team needs to weigh up.

Real world examples of goalkeepers scoring

On the 16th of May 2021, Liverpool goalkeeper Allison was called up for a 95th-minute corner. He scored from a header to win the match for Liverpool and reignite their hunt for a top 4 finish in the Premier League.

Liverpool’s Goalkeeper Allison Scoring From a Corner Kick

Manchester City manager has also stated that from his world-class squad, his goalkeeper Ederson is the best penalty taker in the squad.

Despite his claims though, we have yet to see Ederson take a penalty kick in the league.

Can a goalkeeper score from a drop kick?

A goal from a drop kick will stand. Technically, once the ball is kicked it is considered in play, and if it does happen to land in the opposition’s net, it will be awarded as a goal.

This is an extremely rare situation in higher leagues though.

In youth matches, goalies unlikely to be able to kick far enough or accurately enough to land the ball past the other keeper and into the opposition net.

However, on an amateur level, there have been goals scored from dropkicks. In most cases, it was more of a fluke, but the goal stands, nevertheless.

Can a goalkeeper score from a goal kick?

A goal kick is considered as an indirect free kick and if the ball crosses the line without another player touching it, it’s not a goal.

It does happen in soccer where a goal kick reaches the other side of the field. Once a goalkeeper let the ball bounce into the goal from a goal kick.

This is a shock to most, as it would seem like a goal, but it’s just a goal kick.

Can a goalkeeper score by throwing the ball in the goal?

A goalkeeper would need a super throw to be able to get the ball down the other end of the field, past all of the players – but anthing is possible in soccer!

If the keeper throws the ball in the opponent’s goal, it’s not a goal and a goal kick is awarded to the opposing team.

A strange rule, as it would be fun to see one of those goals! And, of course if a keeper throws the ball into their own goal, a goal is awarded.

Can a goalkeeper score an own goal?

A goalkeeper is a player on the field just like their teammates, and therefore, if they were to have an embarrassing moment and fumble the ball into their own net, it would unfortunately be given as an own goal.

There have also been some unlucky goalkeepers though. In some cases the ball has rebounded off the post.

The ricocheting ball then bounced back off of a diving keeper and into the net. The keeper is then left with a very unlucky own goal on their record.

Real world example – goalkeeper own goal

In a fiercely fought Premier League match between Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, a shot rebounded off of the crossbar and into Meslier, the Leeds goalkeepers back.

The ball then bounced into the net off of Meslier’s back. It was given as an own goal to the Leeds United keeper.

Leeds’ Goalkeeper Meslier Scores an Own Goal

Know you know how to punt without getting blocked. Send in a clip if you score as a keeper!

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