Soccer Throw In: Laws of the Game

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

What is a soccer throw-in? In the beautiful game, a soccer throw-in is a set-piece and one of the most common ways to restart play once the ball has gone out of bounds. Soccer throw-in rules are defined by Law 15 in the Laws of The Game established by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which are the official soccer rules.

In this blog, I will explain everything you need to know about one of the most basic, but important soccer rules of them all, the soccer throw-in.

Soccer Throw In Image by Source

What is a Soccer Throw in?

A soccer throw-in is a type of set-piece that is used to restart play whenever the ball has gone out of bounds through the sidelines of the soccer field. The sidelines are the long sides of the field and if the ball goes out of bounds through the goal lines, the lines behind the soccer goal, teams can be awarded either corner kicks or goal kicks, depending on who touched the ball last.

The throw-in is the most common way to restart play and there is an average of 40-60 throw-ins per game with teams losing possession about 50% of the time. A throw-in is awarded to the team that did not touch the ball out of bounds last and it is up to the assistant referee to communicate properly with the main referee to determine who kicked the ball out of bounds last.

When Is A Throw-In Awarded?

A soccer throw-in is awarded whenever the ball crosses over the sidelines, also known as touchlines, whether on the ground or in the air. For the soccer ball to be considered out of bounds, the whole ball must cross the line.

If part of the ball is on the line then the ball is still in play, but if the entire ball goes out the sides of the field, the opposing team will get a throw in to restart play. When a throw-in is awarded, anyone from the team can take the throw-in and it must take place where the ball left the field of play from.

Soccer Throw-in Rules

Once the throw-in is awarded, there is a specific way to take legal throw-ins and if team’s fail to throw the ball legally the other team gets a chance to take the throw-in. During a throw-in, the taker does not have to throw the ball forward and they can throw it in any direction.

Here are some of the most important rules and throw in coaching points to consider. The throw-in taker must:

  • Stand facing the field of play
  • Have proper foot position meaning parts of both of their feet are touching the touchline and they must keep both feet on the ground while throwing the ball
  • Throw the ball with both hands from behind the head
  • Not step into the field as they take the throw-in
  • Not let the ball bounce before it hits the field of play
  • Not touch the ball until someone else has touched it first

Players can perform a running throw in to get more power, but they do not have to. If they do a running throw-in they must follow the same rule for a legal throw in. If the thrower commits a foul throw, the opposing team gets an opportunity to restart play with a good throw from the same position.

Goalkeeper Rules Regarding Throw-Ins

When it comes to the goalkeepers there are certain rules that players must keep in mind to avoid breaking the rules and getting punished.

  • If the throw-in goes towards the thrower’s goal, their goalkeeper is not allowed to pick up the ball with their hands, otherwise the other team will get an indirect free kick
  • If the throw-in goes towards the opponent’s goal, the opposing goalkeeper is allowed to try to catch the ball, but if the ball enters their goal after they touched the ball in an attempt to stop it, the throw-in can count as a goal.

Soccer Throw In

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different ways of restarting play in soccer?

The different ways to restart play in soccer include:

In soccer, can you score directly from a throw in?

Yes, in soccer you can score directly from the throw in but only if the goalkeeper touches the ball first, such as during an attempt to save the ball. If no one touches the ball and it goes in from the throw, the goal does not count.


In conclusion, understanding the soccer throw-in rules and knowing how to throw a soccer ball is one of the most fundamental things for new players, youth or adults, coaches, and fans of the game. In this blog, I covered everything you need to know about one of the most important parts of the game, the soccer throw in.

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