A free kick can be extremely dangerous to an opponent and may result in a goal if the free kick taker kicks the ball with enough accuracy and power. However, one thing that stands between the free kick taker and the net is what’s called a free kick wall in soccer, but what exactly is a free kick wall?
A free kick wall in soccer is a wall that consists of soccer players standing close to each other and forming a straight line in front of a free kick taker. The main reason behind the free kick wall is to make it harder for the free kick taker to score a goal.
In other words, when team A gets a free kick from a dangerous position, then a number of players from team B stand in front of the free kick taker in an attempt to block their kick towards the net.
A wall is formed during almost all dangerous soccer free kicks. Many teams choose to form free kick walls even in front of free kicks that are very far away from the net.
How can the free kick wall defend the net?
Obviously, the main objective of the wall is to block the free kick taker from scoring a goal. But how does it achieve that?
Here are 3 ways the wall can reduce the chances of receiving a goal:
1- The free kick wall reduces the options of the free kick taker when it comes to deciding a target.
The soccer net is around 8 yards wide and 8 ft tall. This means that the target is large enough to the point that any professional soccer player is able to hit it accurately with their kick.
However, when a free kick wall is formed in front of the free kick taker, the options of the free kick taker will be limited and it will be harder for them to hit their target.
2- The free kick wall forces the free kick taker to curve the ball instead of kicking it with full power.
Since the wall stands in between the ball and the net, if the free kick taker kicks the ball low with their full strength, it will most likely hit the wall instead of reaching the net. So, the free kick taker will be forced to kick the ball higher than the height of the wall which in turn forces them to kick it weaker or else it will fly outside the field.
And as you can tell, a weaker free kick is easier to be blocked by the goalkeeper.
3- The free kick wall reduces the free kick taker’s vision of the net.
Since the wall stands in front of the free kick taker, the kick taker will not be able to see the net very clearly which might affect the kick’s accuracy.
How far should the free kick wall be?
According to the free kicks soccer rules, all players must be at least 10 yards away when a free kick is taken.
So, the wall is usually 10 yards away from the free kick taker. A 10 yard distance might sound a lot, but not if the soccer field is extremely large.
After a free kick is awarded, the referee of the match estimates the 10 yards distance and uses their spray to mark the line on which the soccer players can form a wall.
Here’s a fun fact for you before we proceed. Before soccer introduced the sprays to the game, the soccer players forming the wall were always trying to move the wall closer to the ball whenever the referee looked away. However, this does not happen any more due to the clear mark on which the soccer wall should exist.
How many players can be in a free kick wall?
There are no rules that set a limit to the number of players who form the free kick wall. The wall can be formed using any number of players. A free kick wall consisting of only one player is possible, and a free kick wall consisting of 11 players (i.e. the whole team including the goalkeeper) is also possible.
However, we usually see either 1 or 2 players forming a wall in front of free kicks that are far away from the net, and about 3 to 5 players forming a wall when the free kick position is close to the net.
Are there any specific free kick wall rules?
Not so long ago, soccer introduced the first new official rule regarding the soccer “wall”. Before that, there were no rules that specifically mention the free kick wall.
This new soccer rule states that if 3 or more players form a wall, then the players from the opponent team should be at least 1 yard away from the wall when the free kick is taken or else an indirect free kick is awarded.
The reason why this rule was introduced is because soccer players from the opponent team were always trying to stand in the middle of the wall and then immediately move their bodies down when the free kick taker kicks the ball. This used to create a gap inside the wall and give a good chance for the free kick taker to score.
However, the new rule came to prevent this kind of behavior. But other than this rule, there aren’t any rules that are made specifically for the wall during the time of this writing.
The free kick wall is just a defense strategy used by a team when their opponent gets a direct free kick. The wall consists of a number of soccer players standing very close to each other in a straight line in an attempt to prevent the free kick taker from scoring a goal.