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Law 15: Soccer Throw In Rules

Basic Throw In Rules

It’s amazing to think that even at some of the highest levels of soccer, the throw in is still taken incorrectly.

Simple in its purpose, the throw in is used to restart play once the ball has crossed over any of the touchlines and thus out of bounds. The linesman or the referee will then point in the direction that the team taking the throw-in is attacking, in order to distinguish who the throw has been awarded to.

So what is it about the rule that has players making so many mistakes?

There are a few different parts of this rule to keep in mind, and it’s easy for them to be forgotten in the heat of a match.


When taking the throw-in, the player must ensure that:

  • The throw is taken from where the ball left the field of play
  • Both feet remain on the ground either on or before the touch line
  • The ball is held with both hands
  • The ball is delivered from behind and over the head

The ball cannot be thrown into the ground, nor can it be bounced off the ground to a team mate. It must be thrown over the head in an almost snapping like motion.


If the throw is taken improperly in any way, then the opposing team is awarded the throw-in.

Opponents must ensure that they remain at least 2 yards from the thrower.  Otherwise, the throw is re-taken.

Like many other methods of restart, the throwing player may not touch the ball again until it has touched another player.  So no, you can’t throw the ball to yourself.  If you try to, an indirect free kick will be given to the opposing team.

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