In general, soccer is known for very low-scoring games. A basketball match could reach scores in the hundreds. Soccer teams will rarely score more than three or four points during a game. This is mainly because every goal scored in soccer is only equal to one point.
Putting the ball through the goal frame is the only way to score points. There will often be long periods between goals being scored.
We’ll teach you everything you need to know about the points systems in soccer, how goals are scored, and how players can earn individual points for their own personal stats.
How Is A Goal Scored In Soccer?
The only way to score points in a game of soccer is to score a goal. Simply put, a goal is scored when a player puts the ball through the frame of the goal, and the ball completely crosses the goal line. In many leagues, today, video assistance or VAR is often used to confirm that the ball has actually crossed the line.
It doesn’t matter if an attacking player puts the ball in or if a defending player scores by mistake. The result is still the same and a point is awarded.
If it is a defender who makes the decisive touch to put the ball into the goal, it is classed as an ‘own goal’. Again, this doesn’t affect the number of points awarded to either team but does count for that defender’s personal stats.
Interestingly, there are some instances where the ball can enter the goal but a point will not be awarded. Of course, if an infringement of the rules has been made before the ball enters the goal. Then it will be disallowed and the appropriate action will be taken to restart the game.
Indirect Free Kicks
An indirect free kick is given after an offside call or for a few various infringements. This means two players (from either team) must touch the ball before it crosses the goal line. So, if the ball enters the goal straight from an indirect free kick without it touching another player first. The referee will award a goal kick or corner kick.
Furthermore, if a team kicks an indirect free kick into their own goal, a corner is awarded to the other team. If the attacking team kicks it into the opposition’s goal, a goal kick is awarded to the defending team.
The Throw-In Rule
There is one other reason that a point will not be awarded, even if the ball does enter the goal. This is because of a little-known rule about throw-ins. A throw-in is considered to be an indirect restart.
That means if a player takes a throw-in and throws the ball directly into their own goal, without it touching any other player first. Then a corner kick will be awarded at that end of the field.
Similarly, if a player throws the ball straight into the opposition’s goal, without it touching any other player, a goal kick is awarded instead.
As you might expect, this doesn’t happen very often in professional soccer matches.
However, incidents have occurred when players have touched the ball from a throw-in, causing it to roll into the goal and have a point scored against them.
League Points In Soccer
There are other points systems that exist in soccer, that are worked out externally from each individual game. In a league format, points are awarded to teams based on the overall result of the game. In most league competitions, the same structure is used.
The team that wins the game is awarded three points to the league standings. A tie result means both teams are awarded one point, and a loss will give the team zero points.
At the end of a soccer season, the team with the most points earned from all games will win the league.
The team with the fewest points accumulated will finish at the bottom of the league and will often be relegated to the division below.
A penalty shoot-out is one of the most exciting moments in a game of soccer. In a competition with a knockout format, one team must win, meaning the game can not end with a tie.
Therefore, if the scores are still level at the end of the game, a penalty shoot-out is used to determine the winner.
The format for a penalty shoot-out is as follows:
- Each team takes turns shooting against the goalkeeper from the penalty spot.
- Every penalty scored in the shoot-out equates to one point for the team that scores it.
- The shoot-out is decided by a ‘best of five’ points system.
- If each team has taken five penalties and the score is still level, the shoot-out continues on ‘sudden death’ until a winner is decided.
Depending on the specific competition rules, there may be a certain order in which the players must take their penalties. In most competitions, the pool of players to take part in the shoot-out must be made up of the players on the field at the end of regulation time.
After this, the coach will decide in what order his players will take the kicks in. This order must be relayed to the referee and the players must take their kicks this way.
How Many Points Is A Free Kick Worth In Soccer?
If a player kicks the ball into the goal from a direct free kick, their team is awarded one point. However, this is only the case with direct free kicks and indirect free kicks follow a different set of rules.
However, a free kick will only result in a point for either team if the ball is kicked into the goal from it. Being awarded a free kick on its own does not merit any points.
Overall, the points system in soccer is pretty easy to understand. You just have to remember that a goal is equal to one point for the team that scores it. This is also the only way a team can score a goal.
This does mean you won’t often see games with crazy amounts of points scored!