10 Things Not To Do In Soccer

If you are new to soccer, and you want to learn everything there is in order to either start watching soccer or play soccer yourself, then this list of things that you should never do as a soccer player will be a great resource for you.

Without any delays, here is a list of 10 things that you should not do as a soccer player.

1- Tackling from behind

Whatever happens, DO NOT tackle any player from behind because you will most probably hurt them and get yourself a yellow card or a red card.

Tackles in soccer are a huge part of the game, and they are one of the best defensive movements that a soccer defender can use to prevent their opponent from advancing forward.

However, with tackles comes the risk of hurting either yourself or your opponent. Reckless tackles are also heavily punished in soccer and they usually lead to an immediate red card.

Note that some tackles from behind are allowed by the referees, but it is generally advised not to attempt to tackle your opponent from behind even if your only intention is to take the ball from them.

If your opponent does not see you while you’re tackling them, then they won’t have any time to respond to keep themselves safe and to keep you safe too.

So always make sure to avoid tackles from behind unless they are absolutely needed and unless you are 100% sure that you are not going to hurt anyone and get yourself a red card.

In case you are interested, you can learn a lot more about tackles in this article that I have written.

2- Arguing with the referee

Arguing with the referee of the game is one of the most useless things a soccer player can do. It  almost always ends up bad for the player.

In soccer, the main referee has a full authority over the game and their decisions are usually final.

For your general knowledge, a referee in soccer is allowed to change their decision if the game has not been restarted yet. However, they almost never change their decision under pressure just to maintain a level of dominance over the game.

So in other words, even if the referee is allowed to change their decision, they usually decide not to change them even when under pressure from the players.

Since the referee has full authority over the game, they have the full right to send you off the field with a red card if they believe that you are misbehaving, and arguing with the referee can be considered misbehavior in many cases.

So in other words, if you know that you won’t change the referee’s decision by arguing with them, then why would you risk getting a red card?

3- Flopping

Unfortunately, flopping or diving is something that is being adopted by a lot of world class soccer players around the world.

If you don’t know what flopping is, it is basically when a soccer player pretends that they were severely hit by their opponent in order to win a foul or in order to convince the referee to give a card to the opponent player. It’s basically faking an injury to gain an advantage.

Even some of the top soccer players in the best soccer leagues around the world sometimes use flopping to trick the referee into winning a foul.

If something wrong is being done by everyone, that doesn’t mean that we should do it too.

It’s always a good idea to not try to trick the referee in any way and it’s always a good idea to play by the rules.

Furthermore, here are 2 strong reasons not to flop:

  • If the referee knows that you’re faking an injury, they will most probably give you a yellow card and sometimes a red card
  • It makes you look bad in front of the audience of the game and it’s generally a bad sportsmanship action.

Too much flopping during some games is preventing a lot of people from enjoying soccer. Save the reputation of the soccer game and stop flopping.

4- Not playing as part of a team

This one does not have to do with any of the soccer rules, but it’s an extremely important thing to mention when it comes to the things that you should not be doing in soccer.

Soccer is all about the collective effort of the group. You’ll be a much better soccer player if you put some trust in your teammates and if you pass the ball to your teammates when your teammates are in a better position to score or act.

soccer team training before a match

For example, if you are close to your opponent’s goal, and your teammate is standing in a better position to score, then passing the ball to them is much better than attempting to score yourself.

Always keep the group mentality in your head and always try to have a great chemistry with your teammates. Doing that will get you and your team better results.

5- Losing your temper

It’s true that losing a match can be devastating, and that wrong referee decisions can also be devastating. However, always try to keep calm during the entire game.

Losing your temper as a soccer player usually causes you more harm than good. If you’re angry while playing, you are more likely to commit fouls and you are more prone to getting a red card which is a nightmare for every soccer player.

Losing your temper during a soccer game can also make you lose your focus and can destroy your performance.

As a soccer player, you should always stay in control over all of your emotions in order to achieve your peak performance level.

6- Wasting time

Another bad habit that a lot of soccer players have is attempting to waste as much time as they can whenever they are satisfied with the results of the game.

For example, if a team is winning, then you’ll find its players trying to waste the remaining time of the game using all sorts of things from pretending to being injured to taking forever to leave the field during a substitution and so on.

Even if wasting time can bring your team closer to the precious victory, it shows that you are afraid to stand your ground and compete in a fair way till the end of the game.

Attempting to waste time can also cause you a yellow card and sometimes even a red card. So be extremely careful.

Just to be 100% clear, it is totally fine if you try to waste the opponent’s time by keeping the ball with you as much as possible while the game is on. That’s part of the soccer game. 

However, what you should be avoiding is wasting time when the ball is NOT in play. In other words, try not to take advantage of the fact that the soccer clock time keeps going up even if the ball is not in play.

7- Grabbing your opponent by the t-shirt

If you want to get a yellow card, just grab your opponent by the shirt. It’s that simple.

Grabbing the opponent by the shirt is almost ALWAYS a yellow card and sometimes it can be a red card if you prevent them from getting a great scoring opportunity.

So in simple words, avoid grabbing your opponent in general.

8- Pushing your opponent

The only way you can push your opponent in soccer is when you are doing a fair charge using your shoulder during a shoulder to shoulder scenario.

In this case, you are allowed to slightly push your opponent using your shoulder just to be able to reach the ball and not for any other intention.

Other than that, pushing your opponent in soccer is strictly prohibited and is considered to be a very bad sportsmanship behavior.

You can learn more about the shoulder usage in soccer from this article.

9- Not jumping with your opponent during a high ball

This is a very important point that a lot of soccer players tend to miss.

If you and your opponent are very close to each other, and if the ball is high in the air and it’s approaching both of you.

If one of you decides to jump to reach the ball, then the other should also jump with them and try to get the ball too. 

The reason behind this is that if only one of the players jump and they get pushed by the other player, then they might fall in a way that causes them severe injury since they won’t have anything to lean on when they are in the middle of the air.

To put it in simple words, if your opponent next to you jumps high in the air to grab the ball, then you should also jump so that they can have something to lean on in case they lose their balance. They should do the same thing if you are the one who decides to jump first.

Keep in mind that this is only applicable when you are very close to your opponent. Meaning that when you are literally touching them.

10- Using your hands

This last one is a no brainer. Just don’t use your hands to touch the ball no matter what happens (unless you are the goalkeeper of course).

Even if you think that you can touch the ball with your hand without the referee noticing, it’s generally a good idea to avoid taking any risks and to respect the most basic rule that soccer has, and that is the “No touching” rule.

If you’d like to know more about using your hands in soccer, you can check this article.


Keep this list in your mind whenever you go play a soccer match or whenever you go watch a soccer match, and always remember that soccer is all about entertainment and fun. 

Remember to enjoy every single second of every single match and always stay in control of your emotions and your body.