The shoulder is a tricky area of the body to use in a soccer game because if the ball hits the shoulder too low, it is considered the arm and will be called for a handball.
In this article, we will look at if you can use your shoulder in soccer, instances where you can use your shoulder in soccer, and why sometimes, using your shoulder is a good idea.
There are many ways to use your shoulder in soccer – find out how you can get the advantage.
Can you use your shoulder in soccer?
Yes, you can use your shoulder in soccer to challenge a player, defend, and score a goal.
An example is when defenders use their shoulders in one-on-one duels with strikers or other players on the pitch.
While the margin for error is relatively small you can use your shoulder while playing.
Whether it be the ball bouncing off another player and hitting your shoulder or if you are in a situation defensively where you must use your body and shoulder to hold off an opposition player.
Both examples show how you can use your shoulder during a soccer game.
While it is important to note that using your shoulder can come with risks if the ball does hit the wrong part of your shoulder it can be deemed handball as the ball could hit the lower part of your shoulder.
Is Using Your Shoulder a Foul?
This is a rather tricky question but in short, using your shoulder in soccer is not a foul. However, when it comes to a physical battle between two players that is where it gets a bit tricky.
When two players are contesting the ball, they can make contact with their opponent with their shoulders as long as it is done in a way that the referee deems is not:
- Using excessive force
There is room for contact between two players when using their shoulders, however, ultimately it will be up to the referee to deem whether it is a foul or not.
Is Using Your Shoulder Handball?
A foul is awarded if the ball touches from the armpit down, which deems it handball. Although there is so much confusion surrounding using a shoulder during a game as it’s not clear where the point of contact is.
This is because the ruling states that no player can touch the ball with a hand or arm.
It can be so close to calling whether a player has used their shoulder or arm regarding whether it is a foul, hence why most players try to avoid doing it.
Ultimately it will be up to the game referee to decide if it is a foul or not and if they believe that contact was made with the arm rather than the shoulder.
To clear this up, there are several reasons why it could be considered an offense if a ball is deemed to touch the arm/hand:
A player touches the ball deliberately with their arm or hand, including moving the arm towards the ball.
- Gaining control of the ball with the use of an arm or hand.
- They score a goal in the opposition’s net.
- If using an arm creates a goal-scoring opportunity
This set of rules only applies if the ball hits the arm or hand, not the shoulder.
In soccer, using your shoulder is not considered a handball. This only happens when it is clear that the ball has touched the player’s arm or hand, not the shoulder.
There is nothing in the FIFA rule book that states it is an offense for a player to use their shoulder during a game.
Can You Score a Goal With Your Shoulder?
So, we have now covered whether it is a foul or not to use your shoulder, but can use score a goal with your shoulder? Believe it or not, the answer is yes!
You can score with your shoulder, and the rules state that you can score with your shoulder as long as your arm does not touch the ball.
This is tricky because only a few centimeters separate the shoulder and arm.
Scoring with your shoulder is something that is hardly seen in the game of soccer, perhaps because of the fine line that players must walk.
- Too low, and it is handball; too high, and you might as well use your head to score, right?
Using your shoulder and score is hard simply because it is tricky to aim and be accurate.
The ball can go in any direction and most of the time, not the way you want!
If the ball does happen to come off your shoulder, then chances are it will not come off at speed and if it does go in the direction of the goal, the keeper will more often than not have an easy save to make.
using a shoulder in soccer
So now you know that you can use your shoulder in soccer. Whether it be to score a goal or engage in a physical battle with an opponent, remember that it is not a foul to use your shoulder!
Now here is the next step, seeing as it is not a foul, why not consider trying to use your shoulder during a game? Enjoy!
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.