Soccer Goalie Box Rules

Goalkeepers in soccer are unique for different reasons. They wear a different color than their team’s color, they wear extra protective equipment, and they have extra privileges inside the penalty box.

However, these privileges disappear the moment the goalkeeper leaves the penalty box. You may ask, what box exactly? What are the privileges exactly? And are any other details related to the box and the goalkeeper that I should know about?

Well. I’m going to be answering these questions next. 

But first, what exactly are the boxes that exist in front of each net in soccer?

There are 2 white boxes in front of each goal, the small one is called the goal box / goal area, and the large one is called the penalty box/ penalty area.

Each one of these boxes have rules that are related to the goalkeeper and to other players too.

However, since our focus in this article is on the goalkeepers, then we’ll stick to the goalkeepers’ related rules. Without further ado, here are your answers.

What are the goalie penalty box rules?

Unlike the other soccer players who can’t touch the ball with their hands, a goalkeeper can touch the ball with any part of their body when they are inside the penalty box.

Since the goalkeeper is supposed to block any of the opponent’s attempts to score a goal, it makes sense that they are allowed to use their hands to block the ball since the goal and the soccer field are extremely large.

But the rule limits this privilege to the penalty area to make sure that it isn’t abused.

So there you have it. This is the most important rule for the goalkeepers when it comes to the large box in front of their goal. The box decides where the goalkeeper can touch the ball with their hands.

But does the penalty box restrict the goalie’s movement?

The penalty box doesn’t restrict the movement of the goalkeeper nor it restricts the movement of any other player on the field.

The same thing applies for the goal area / goal box that we are going to talk about soon. Any soccer player is allowed to move freely wherever they want within the boundaries of the rectangular soccer field.

So what happens if the goalkeeper leaves the penalty box? 

Well… nothing, unless they touch the ball with their hands outside of the penalty area. 

If any goalkeeper touches the ball with their hands outside the box, then the action is treated like a handball and the referee will award a free kick to the opponent.

The referee might even decide to give a yellow card or a red card to the goalkeeper if their handball prevented a serious goal opportunity for the opponent team.

If you want to learn more about what happens when the goalkeeper gets a red card, then you can check this article

Before we move on, there is another rule that indirectly involves the goalkeeper and the penalty box, and it’s the goalkeeper’s position during a penalty kick.

During a penalty kick, the goalkeeper should be standing ON the goal line until the penalty kick taker kicks the ball.

In other words, the goalkeeper will NOT be standing inside the penalty area during the kick, instead, they will be standing EXACTLY ON the goal line (and between the goal posts) that is part of the penalty box.

This gives the penalty kick taker enough space to kick the ball since the goalkeeper isn’t allowed inside the penalty box till the moment the kick is taken

You might not consider this rule related to our topic here, but I thought about quickly talking about it before moving on to the next section.

What are the goal box rules for goalkeepers?

As a reminder, the goal box / goal area is the small 6-yard box that is in front of the net.

You can learn a lot more about the goal area from this article, but the only rule that concerns us for now is the following one:

A goal kick has to be taken from somewhere inside the goal box (the lines included)

That’s it. Goalkeepers are required to place the ball inside the goal area when they take goal kicks. However, note that the goal kick isn’t just exclusive to goalkeepers. Any player on the team can take the goal kick and the same rule would still apply.

Before we wrap up, here’s a quick note for your general info. There was a rule in soccer that prevented the opponents’ players from touching the goalkeeper if the goalkeeper was standing inside the goal box of their team(the 6-yard box).

However, this rule does not exist anymore and the players can touch the goalie inside the goal area as long as they don’t do it violently or commit any fouls.

With that, we’ve reached the end of the article. If you are interested in reading more about goalkeepers, then you can check this article here. Until next time.