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What is the Difference Between a Goal Kick, Penalty Kick, and Corner Kick?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
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There are many different kinds of kicks in soccer, and three common ones are the goal, penalty, and corner kick. The rules for each determine when and how often they are played during a game. Minor or major infractions of the rules by the opposing team can cause one of these three kicks to be awarded.

If the ball completely crosses the end line, as a result of contact with an opposing player, a goal kick is given. The ball is placed in the penalty area, and members of the opposing team cannot touch the ball until it leaves the opposing area.

The goal kick cannot result in a direct goal. In other words, if the kicker were to send the ball straight into the goal, no point would be awarded. As well, the person kicking the ball can only do so once, until the ball has been touched by another player.

When a defensive player kicks the ball over the end line, the team playing offense is awarded a corner kick. The kicker may score a point from this shot, unlike the rules governing a goal kick. The ball is placed in one of the quarter circles near the defense side end lines, closest to where the ball crossed the line. The kicker may only strike the ball once, until another player has touched it.

A penalty kick is awarded when one of nine fouls is committed. Fouls include kicking or threatening another player, or behaving in a violent manner toward another player. The ball is placed 12 yards (about 11 meters) from the offensive team’s scoring goal.

This kick has a good chance of scoring a point if the shot is taken properly. The goalkeeper stands directly between the two posts of the goal, and is not allowed to move anything but his or her arms and body until after the ball has actually been kicked. Other players are outside the penalty area until after the ball has been struck as well. They can only enter the penalty area once the ball is considered in play, and must maintain a 10 foot (3.04 m) distance from the ball before it is kicked.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Sports n' Hobbies contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon322538 — On Feb 27, 2013

Yes you can score a goal directly from a goal kick within accordance to Law 16 of the 2011 FIFA Laws of the game.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Sports n' Hobbies contributor, Tricia...
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