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Soccer Rules, Statistics & Terms
Release Date: 08/25/2004
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Frequently Asked Questions About College Soccer...

What is a Shot?
Article 1. A shot is an attempt that is taken with the intent of scoring and is directed toward the goal.
Article 2. Across or crossing pass is not a shot. Across is a long kick from a wide position into the penalty area in front of the goal. The intent of a cross is to set up a scoring opportunity for an attacking player. A goalkeeper who intercepts a cross is not credited with a save. Exception: A cross that the goalkeeper stops that otherwise would have entered the goal is considered a shot, and the goalkeeper is credited with a save.
Article 3. A shot on goal is a shot that is on net. The results of a shot on goal must be either a save by the goalkeeper or opposing team or a goal by the attacking team. A shot that hits the post or crossbar and does not cross the goal line is not a shot on goal.

What is an Assist?
Article 1. An assist is awarded for a pass leading directly to a goal. No more than two assists may be credited on any one scoring play. Each assist shall count one point in the player’s statistical record.
(1) If a scoring play consists of two consecutive passes without a defender gaining control of the ball, two assists may be awarded, provided the second player does not have to elude a defender to make the final pass. Both passes must have a direct influence on the outcome of a goal scored. If the second player needs to elude a defender before passing to the goal-scorer, credit only that assist.

What is a Save?
A save is awarded to a goalkeeper only if a shot otherwise would have gone into the goal. A goalkeeper can be credited with a save without catching the ball. If the goalkeeper blocks the ball or punches it wide or over the goal, that goalkeeper can be credited with a save, provided the ball would have otherwise gone into the goal. To receive a save, the play must be a shot. A goalkeeper cannot receive credit for a save on a cross. (See exception in Section 3, Article 2.)

What is GAA?
A goalkeeper’s goals-against average is calculated by multiplying the number of goals allowed by 90, divided by the actual number of minutes played by the keeper. A team's goals-against average is figured by multiplying the number of goals allowed by the team by 90, divided by the actual number of minutes played.
GAA=(Goals allowed x 90) minutes played

What is a GWG?
A game-winning goal is credited to the player scoring the goal that is one more than the opposing team’s final total.

For regular season, postseason, conference tournaments, play-ins and NCAA tournament games, two, sudden-victory overtime periods of 10 minutes each shall be played (with a two-minute intermission between). A coin toss called by the visiting team will determine choice of ends of the field or the kickoff before the start of the first sudden-victory overtime period. Teams shall change ends of the field to start the second sudden-victory overtime period. If the score still is tied at the end of the second sudden-victory overtime period, the game will remain a tie for all purposes.

When Does the Clock Start/Stop?
- The timekeeper stops the clock when:
(1) When a goal is scored,
(2) When a penalty kick is awarded, or
(3) When a player is carded;
(4) When signaled by the referee to do so:
(a) When a substitute(s) is beckoned onto the field in the final five minutes of the second period only; and
(b) For a television timeout,
(c) Because a player has been instructed to leave the field for an equipment change,
(d) To assess a player’s injuries,
(e) Because a player has been instructed to leave the field for a jewelry violation,
(f) Because a trainer or other bench personnel is beckoned onto the field.

- He/she starts the clock when the ball is put into play;


Soccer Definitions/Terms

Advantage Rule: A referee can decide not to call an infraction if allowing play to continue creates an advantage for the fouled team. 
Assist: An assist is awarded for a pass leading directly to a goal. If a scoring play consists of two or more passes without the defending team gaining control of the ball, the players making the final two passes may each be awarded an assist. Players receiving assists are credited with one point for statistical purposes. Assists are valid on corner kicks and throw-ins, and on missed attempts that are immediately followed by goals.
Backs: Nickname or abbreviation of the name given to the defenders who line up in the rear, in front of the goalkeeper; the name refers to the left and right fullbacks as well as the centerbacks, also known as sweepers. 
Banana Kick: A kick with exceptional curve. 
Bicycle/Scissors Kick: A strike where the player’s body is horizontal in mid-air and the ball is struck over the player’s head; this type of kick was popularized by Brazilian great Pele. 
Booked: A term referring to a player’s name being written down by a referee for either a yellow or red card infraction. 
Center: When a ball is passed from the wings into the penalty area of the field; also known as a cross. 
Center Forward: Striker who leads the attack. 
Center Half Midfielders: Creative force in the midfield; generally where plays are started. 
Chip: A high, arching shot that is lofted over the heads of defenders or the goalkeeper. 
Clear: A defensive kick that attempts to get the ball out of a scoring area, particularly the penalty area. 
Corner Kick:  A kick taken from the quarter circle at the nearest corner flagpost when the ball has passed completely over the goal line having last been played by a member of the defending team. A goal may be scored directly from a corner kick.

Direct Free Kick: Awarded as the result of a personal foul, such as kicking, tripping, holding or pushing; the kick is taken from the point of the infraction and the designated player taking the kick may score directly without another player having to touch the ball.  Indicated by a referee with a raised arm at 45 degrees.
Field of Play: The field of play is rectangular, with the width not exceeding the length. College rules specify that the width should be between 65-80 yards, and 110-120 yards long.
Flank: The sides of the field also known as the wing. 
Friendly: Essentially an exhibition match; often used to benefit up-and-coming players or sharpen top players for upcoming tournaments or qualifying. 
Fullback:  Defenders

Game-Winning Goal: The goal that is one more than the opposing team’s final total.
Goal: The manner in which points are scored in soccer; to score, the ball must completely cross over the goal line and into the goal; a goal counts as one point. 
Goal Area: The box in front of the goal, that is 12 yards wide and 8 yards deep.
Goal Kick: A goal kick is taken by a member of the defending team (often the goalkeeper) when the ball passes completely over the goal line having last been touched by a member of the attacking team.
Goal Post: Posts can be wooden or metal and need to be eight yards apart, the lower edge of the horizontal bar is 8 feet from the ground.
Goals Against Average (GAA): For statistical purposes, the GAA denotes the amount of goals on average the goalkeeper allows per 90 minutes played (GAA=Goals allowed / 90 x # of games).
Goals: Standing in the center of the goal lines; each goal consists of two wooden posts, 24 feet apart, and a crossbar, 8 feet above the ground. 
Goal Area: A 60-foot wide by 18-foot deep rectangular area in front of each goal. 
Goalkeeper: Defends the goal; the only player who can handle the ball within the penalty area with his hands. 
Goal Kick: A free kick taken either by the goalkeeper or member of the defending team when the attacking team puts the ball over the goal line. 
Goal Lines: Lines which runs from corner flag to corner flag across each end of the field of play and which the goal is situated; represents the end of the playing area at the far end of each side of the field. 
Golden Goal: Where a game ends with the scoring of a goal in overtime rather than by the expiration of an extra time period; used in some international soccer tournaments, particularly in Europe.
Halfbacks: Midfielders responsible for marking assignments. 
Halftime: The standard time is 15 minutes, but shorter intervals are permissible if agreed upon by coaches and officials beforehand.
Handball: Infraction called when a player other than a goalkeeper intentionally plays a ball with his hand; if a defender handles within the penalty area, a penalty shot is awarded; if the goalkeeper handles the ball outside the penalty area, a direct free kick is awarded. 
Hat-Trick: A term referring to a three-goal performance in a single match by an individual player.  Header: When a player uses his head to shoot, pass or control the ball. 
Holding or Pushing: A player shall be awarded a direct kick if they are held or pushed by an opposing player.
Indirect Free Kick: Awarded for less serious infractions to the team fouled; for a goal to be scored on an indirect free kick, a player other than the kicker must touch the ball before it can be scored; the kick is awarded from the point of infraction.  Indicated by a referee with a raised arm straight up.
Injury Time: Time added to the end of either half by the referee to compensate for time lost due to injuries during each half; the determination of injury time is solely the responsibility of the referee.
International Player: Player selected to play for his country’s national team. 
Kickoff: The game is started by a player kicking the ball into the opponent’s half of the field.
Linesman: Two officials who are stationed outside of the touchline to indicate when a ball is out of play or offsides. 

Mark: The close defending of an opposing player. 
Match: A term, British in origin, used to describe a game; matches last 90 minutes, with a 10- to 15-minute rest between halves. 
Midfielder: Players who line up in front of defenders and behind strikers; creative members of the team whose role is to link the forwards and defenders. 
Nutmeg / Meg / Nuttie:  When an attacker moves forward by passing a ball through an opponent’s legs. 
Obstruction: A player shall be awarded an indirect kick if an opposing player deliberately obstructs them when not playing the ball.
Official Ball: The circumference should be between 27 and 28 inches in circumference and 14-to-16 ounces in weight (or more than 16.75 ounces when wet). The air pressure should be equal to .6 to 1.1 atmosphere at sea level. 
Offside: An infraction which occurs when an attacker sends a pass to a teammate without two defenders, which can include a goalkeeper, between the teammate and the goal. 
Offside Trap: A defensive scheme which attempts to push defensive players forward in the hopes of putting an attacking player offside. 
One-Time: When an attacker strikes a shot off a pass or rebound without stopping the ball to gain control. 
Out of Play: The ball is out of play when it has completely crossed a boundary line, whether it is on the ground or in the air.
Overtime: A maximum of two sudden-death overtimes of 10 minutes each (with a five-minute interval after regulation, and a break no longer than two minutes between overtimes) are played when the score is tied after the regulation 90 minutes. If the score is still tied at the end of the second overtime period, the game is considered a draw. In the postseason, each team alternately take fives penalty kicks. If the score is still tied, then additional attempts are taken until one team has a goal advantage on the same # of attempts (the first 10 kicks by a team must be by 10 different players).

Penalty Area:  The 18-by-44 yard area extending from the goal in which a goalkeeper is allowed to pick up the ball when kicked by the opposing team.  (For international FIFA play, it’s 60 x18).
Penalty Kick: A penalty kick is awarded for any infringement of the rules by the defending team within the penalty area that is normally penalized by a direct kick. The kick is taken from any place on the penalty-kick line, which is located 12 yards from the back goal line. The kicker may not play the ball a second time (off a rebound) unless it is touched by another player (off a post is not valid).
Pitch: A British term used to define the field of play; for international matches, such as the World Cup, the length shall not be more than 120 yards nor less than 110 yards and the width shall not be more than 80 yards nor less than 70 yards. 
Red Card: The card shown to a player being ejected from a match by the referee; players ejected cannot be substituted for, and often a red card offense carries a penalty of additional matches missed.  Given by the official to a player or coach for flagrant misconduct, resulting in automatic ejection from the game and suspension from the next scheduled game.
Reentry: Players may not reenter the game in the first half after they have been removed. In the second half, they are allowed one reentry. There is also no reentry in the same period during overtime play. One exception - goalkeepers are allowed unlimited entry.
Referee: The only on-field official charged with enforcing the rules of the game; acts as timekeeper as well; has the authority to expel a player from a game for repeated fouling or misconduct behavior. 
Regulation Game:  A regulation game consists of two 45-minute halves played under a running clock that is stopped only after a period has expired, a goal has been scored, a penalty kick has been awarded, a player has been carded, or when the referee signals for time to stop.

Save: The goalkeeper stopping a scoring opportunity by either catching the ball or knocking it away from the goal. 
Shielding: When a player places his body between an opponent and the ball; often precedes an offensive maneuver during an attack. 
Shot: A shot is an attempt that is taken with the intent of scoring and is directed toward the goal.
Shot on Goal: A shot that would have scored if not for a deflection or save by the opposing team.
Shutout: A goalkeeper is credited with a shutout after playing an entire game without allowing a goal.
Slide Tackle: Sliding into the ball and knocking it away from an opponent; if the player executing a slide tackle hits the attacker’s legs before striking the ball, it results in a penalty; if poorly executed, a slide tackle will result in a penalty with either a red or yellow card being issued (this is also referred to as a professional foul). 
Strikers: Terms used for forwards or attackers; target player to whom the rest of the team will look during its attack; chosen for their scoring abilities. 
Substitutions: Substitutes may enter the game on a goal kick, a corner kick, on a team’s own throw-in, after a goal, between periods, in the event of an injury, and when a player has been cautioned. See Reentry.
Sweeper: Defender who plays behind the back four with no marking assigments; the link who supports both defensive and attacking play; works in unison with his goalkeeper. 
Throw-in: The method of restarting play when the ball has crossed the touchlines; a throw-in is awarded to the opposing side of the team which knocked the ball out of play. 
Touch Lines: The boundary lines running the full length of the field on each side of the playing area (between 4-5 cm in width). 
Trap: The use of any legal part of the body to gain control of an airborn ball. 

Volley: A shot where the ball is struck while still airborne. 
Wall: The line of players used to prevent a direct kick from scoring; lined up 10 yards from where the direct kick is taken. 
Winger: Player on left or right side of the attack whose role is close to the touchline; supports forwards and midfielders. 
Yellow Card: A caution card showed to a player by the referee after a dangerous play foul; a second yellow card in the same match earns the offending player a red card and automatic ejection; some leagues and tournaments have rules regarding the receipt of yellow cards in successive matches, which often result in a one-game ban. Given by the official to a player of coach as a warning of misconduct; ejection from the game occurs after accumulating two yellow cards.


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