In this article, we will be learning about various definitions of what a goal is exactly and why it is so crucial for soccer. We will look at how soccer scoring works thanks to goals and how you can score a goal in soccer.
By the end of this article, you will know everything related to goals in soccer, including some advanced terminology that surrounds it.
What is a goal in soccer?
In soccer, there are two definitions of what a goal is:
- A goal is a frame at both ends of the soccer pitch that consists of two vertical goalposts and one horizontal crossbar on top, which connects the —-two goalposts.
- A goal in soccer is scored when the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts, and under the crossbar.
These two definitions of what a goal represents explain two different things. The first definition explains what a goal in physical terms is. The second definition is the official definition of what is necessary to score the goal.
First, we will look at what it means to score a goal before moving on to the details about the goal frame on the soccer field.
Scoring a goal in soccer
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is the body that determines the rules in soccer. They write ‘Laws of the Game’. There we find an official definition of scoring a goal in soccer. Law 10 states:
“A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided that no offense has been committed by the team scoring the goal.”
The rule states that if the goalkeeper throws the ball directly into the opponents’ goal, a goal kick is awarded. Also, if a referee signals a goal before the ball has passed wholly over the goal line, play is restarted with a dropped ball.
How is the winner determined in soccer?
IFAB has an official definition for how to determine the winner in soccer.
“The team scoring the greater number of goals is the winner. If both teams score no goals or an equal number of goals, the match is drawn.”
However, sometimes we need a clear winner in a soccer match. So, when competition rules require a winning team after a drawn match or home-and-away tie, there are only three allowed procedures to determine who wins the game:
- away goals rule
- two equal periods of overtime not lasting longer than 15 minutes each
- kicks from the penalty spot
Also, IFAB states in Law 10 that we can use a combination of these procedures. But that only tells us how to score a goal and determine a winner. We must also look at the worth of a goal.
How many points is a goal worth in soccer?
A goal in soccer is worth one point. For many, this is the beauty of soccer. Every goal is worth the same one point. The referee awards one point to the team which scored the goal. Once the game ends, the team that scored more goals has more points. Therefore, that team is the winner.
That is why scoring a goal in soccer is the most important thing. It is how a soccer team collects points. And the more points a team gets, the greater their chance of winning the game.
Another thing to note about goals in soccer is that every type of goal is worth one point. It differs from sports such as basketball. In those sports, sides can get more than one point depending on where they score from and what type of shot they make. In soccer, none of that matters.
Every goal is always worth one point. It can be from a penalty kick, one of the easiest ways to score, or from a center circle, which rarely happens – the goal is still worth one point. So how does soccer scoring work?
How does soccer scoring work?
We have learned that every goal in soccer is worth one point, but here is how the soccer scoring system works.
Teams are awarded points during a game for scoring goals, but at the end of a match, the league organizers award the points to teams. These points are for the final score of the game.
The scoring system in soccer is simple. A team can win, draw or lose a game and for each of those scenarios, every team gets a different number of points:
- If a team scores more goals during the game than the opposition, they win. They get 3 points for the win;
- If a team scores as many goals as their opponents, they are tied. They get 1 point for the tie;
- If a team scores fewer goals than the opposition, they lose. They get 0 points for the loss.
Therefore, a team earns 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie and no points for a loss.
Then, these points get added to teams’ total points during a regular league season. The championships are decided by who has the most points in a season. But we still need to illustrate how you could score a goal in soccer.
How can you score a goal?
We learned earlier that a goal is valid when the whole ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar. But that is what counts as a scored goal. Here is what you need to know about how you can score one.
A player can score a goal with every part of his body, except with his arms or hands. In soccer, you cannot score a goal with your hands, whether by accident or not. But there are more things necessary for a goal to count:
- The whole ball has to get over the goal line. If the tiniest fraction of an inch of the ball has not crossed the goal line, that is not a goal. Modern technology in soccer is helping referees make this decision.
- The scoring team cannot make an offense just before scoring the goal. A referee can say the goal-scoring team made a foul during the attack which resulted in a goal. Or, an assistant referee can see that one of the players was in an offside position before he scored the goal.
And with soccer being such a simple sport that it is – there are no exceptions to these rules.
What is the goal size in soccer?
We have learned what it means to score a goal and how you can score a goal in soccer. But now is the time for the second definition – about the physical goal.
According to the official soccer rules, there are many requirements a goal must meet:
- A goal must be on the center of each goal line;
- A goal must be white, consisting of two vertical posts equidistant from the corner flagposts and joined at the top by a horizontal crossbar;
- The distance between the inside of the posts is 8 yards or 7.32 meters;
- The distance from the lower edge of the crossbar to the ground is 8 feet or 2.44 meters;
- The goalposts and crossbar must be made of the approved material and must not be dangerous;
- The goalposts and the crossbar must be white and have the same width and depth, which must not exceed 5 inches or 12 cm;
- The goal must have a net attached to both of the goalposts and the crossbar;
- The goalposts and crossbar of both goals must be the same shape, which must be square, rectangular, round, elliptical or a hybrid of these options.
These rules are the same in all soccer competitions across the globe. That is why they are so recognizable. But who can score a goal in soccer?
Who can score a goal in soccer?
Scoring a goal is the most important and fun thing in soccer. But the best part about it is not limited to certain players.
Everyone can score a goal in soccer – their position is not relevant. Strikers will be more likely to score goals, as that’s their main job. However, midfielders and defenders also get their opportunities.
One of the most exciting things which can happen is for a goalkeeper to score. That rarely happens, but sometimes goalkeepers take penalty kicks or score a header after a corner kick in the last minutes of the game.
And here is a vital reminder – whoever scores the goal, its worth is still one point.
What is the advantage of each goal being worth one point?
So, why is it so good that one goal is always worth one point? The advantage of each goal is worth one point is that the smaller soccer teams can have a better chance at winning a game against a stronger opponent.
How does that work? Soccer is a low-scoring point because it’s not easy to score a goal. So, for example, a weaker team can be extremely good at defending their net. They could go on to score a goal from a quick counterattack. As long as they don’t concede, one goal is all they need to win.
Also, goals like a scissor kick or overhead kick are harder to score. If they were worth more than one point, the stronger teams would have a greater chance of winning. With better players, these teams would be more likely to score goals of greater worth. And that would make it much harder for weaker sides.
What is the disadvantage of each goal being worth one point?
But everything has its drawbacks. Each goal being worth one point has disadvantages as well. For example, it’s difficult for a losing team to make a late comeback and win the game if they are trailing by two or three goals.
That is because of the difficulty to score so many goals in the few minutes left in the game. Such comebacks happen infrequently. However, crazy turnarounds have been happening since the inception of soccer. Maybe that is why the fans call it ‘the beautiful game’.
And while every goal is worth one point, there are situations when some goals are more important than others.
When is one goal worth more than another goal?
When two teams play two games against each other to settle the final winner, the scorelines from the two matches are combined to make an aggregate score. And when the aggregate score is tied even after the two games, the away goals rule comes into play.
The away goals rule in soccer exists to decide the winner. It gives the advantage to the goals teams have scored playing away from home field. When teams are tied on aggregate, the team with more goals scored away from home is considered the winner on away goals.
That doesn’t mean some goals are worth more than one point. It only means some are given greater importance to break the tie after a two-legged contest. However, the away goals rule is used only in some competitions.
A goal in soccer is a physical frame at both ends of the field, and the event when the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar.
Either way, the goal is what excites everyone in soccer. It is the most important thing and the main reason all the fans watch soccer. And while there are only two-goal frames on the soccer field, there are no limits on goals scored during a game.
The more goals, the better!