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Question Number: 31874

Law 3 - The Players 10/7/2017

RE: 5th 6th grade upward soccer Under 11

David of Valley Grande, Alabama USA asks...

Can the goalie leave the box, and play offense on the other side of the field (especially to help with a last minute score at the close of a game)?

Obviously this may be unwise. But is there a rule against this?


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dave
That is perfectly acceptable as the goalkeeper is not restricted in his movement in any way. Inside his own penalty area he can use his hand and outside he is just another oufield player.
As you say it may be an unwise tactic except in situations where the risk reward is great. If a team is getting beat by a goal and at a set play in the last minute or so having an extra player in the penalty area is a risk worth taking. Even if the opponent manage a quick break to score it makes no difference if a team loses by one goal or two.
Also many coaches advocate the use of the goalkeeper as a deep sweeper so that balls over the top of the defence can be intercepted by a well advanced positioned goalkeeper. Obviously he has to watch that he is not beaten by a shot from distance so it requires good anticipation as to positioning.
I would like to introduce you to Rene Higuita a former goalkeeper from Columbia who was nickednamed El Loco. I wonder why!!
You can watch him in action here

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi David,
Sometimes in small sided matches (eg tournaments) there may be restrictions on where the keeper can go. But talking about an ordinary match played under the laws of the game, there is no restriction on where the keeper can go. The keeper can do everything the other 10 players can do - the only difference is they have a few special laws in their own penalty area and have to wear a different jersey.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Dave,
perfectly legal always risky but sometimes a stroke of genius look at this !


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