In almost every sport you have a kick-off, where something occurs to start or restart that event.
Whether that be something like formula one where there is a countdown to start the race.
Or even a long kick by the kicker in American football to signal the start of play in that sport.
There is always a kick-off as its a method needed to start a sport, and soccer has that in the game too.
However how exactly does it work, and what are the rules with kick-offs.
In this post, I am going to cover everything you need to know about them and hopefully answer all your questions along the way.
What Is A Kick-Off?
So what is a kick-off?
A kick-off is a way of starting the game of soccer but also restarting after a goal is scored.
The match ball will be placed in the middle of the halfway line and consists of a team kicking the ball to start the game off.
This is initiated by a referee, who will blow their whistle, to signal that the game is ready to start.
If you are familiar with other American sports, then what is worth knowing is that the team that kick-offs, gets to have first the first possession of the game.
So while in NFL for example, where a kick-off for one team would be them giving it to the other team for them to have the first possession.
Its practically the opposite in soccer.
With that said though, the amount of time a team stays in possession after kick-off will depend on what they choose to do.
They may choose to boot the ball straight into the opponent’s half, which would be similar to American football.
Or and what tends to happen, is a team will pass it back and look to build their first attack of the game.
What Happens At Kick-Off?
Now apart from the obvious thing that happens at kick-off being the football being kicked, there are other things that happen.
As to kick off a game, things need to be done, to ensure that the game is ready to be started.
Personally, I have played over 100 games in my career so far and therefore have done plenty of kickoffs too.
So in this section, I will take you through a few things that happen in the lead-up to kick-off.
The first thing to decide is who exactly takes the kick-off.
There isn’t a rule where the home team is the first kick-off and the second team is the next one.
Instead, this is chosen through a coin toss.
Now the winner of the coin toss has a choice of two things.
They can choose to have the kick-off or they can choose the end that they want to attack first.
So if let’s say the home team chooses to take the kick-off, the away team can then opt for the end they would like first and vise versa.
The kick-off doesn’t really have much significance, as it doesn’t give a team a massive advantage.
However, what is more, important especially for teams low down, who don’t have stadiums is the wind.
If the wind is blowing really heavy in one direction, then its more beneficial for a team to pick the end where the wind is in their favor.
As opposed to choosing to have the first kick-off, of the game.
When the second half comes around these choices will be swapped, so the team who didn’t have kick-off will have it.
Plus both teams will switch so that they are attacking the end they were defending in the first half.
Referee Will Check That Everything Is Ready
With both teams in place and knowing who is taking the kickoff, there is only one thing left to check over.
That is the number of players on both sides as well as check-in whether each keeper is ready.
This takes place at both the start of the game as well as for the second half too.
For each game I have played in, the referee before blowing his whistle will count each player on the pitch.
This is to make sure that a team hasn’t fielded more than they are allowed.
After this, they will shout to the keeper to check if there ready to start.
If both keepers say there ready then the referee will blow the whistle and the game will be underway.
Players Will Pass The Ball
The kick-off will be between either one or two players.
This is up to the team who is responsible for that kick-off.
If two players are being used, like in the image below, the ball will be passed once between them before going backward.
When one team kicks off, the rule is you can also see from the image above, is that they are not allowed in the semi-circle.
Only players of the team kicking off are allowed within this area.
Who Kicks Off In A Soccer Game?
As we have established kickoffs are taken by the team that has elected for it through the coin toss.
If they don’t have the first kick-off though they will get the second, to ensure that both teams get the opportunity to start the half.
When it comes down to which players from a team take it, it depends on the team themselves.
Typically though from my experience the two players playing the further forward will take it.
So it could be two strikers, a striker and a winger, or even a striker and a center attacking midfielder.
The reason for this is to make sure that everybody is in the right position and formation to start the game.
It wouldn’t make sense for the defenders or a goalkeeper to take the kick-off.
As they would start the game out of position and if the ball somehow was disposed then it would have put them at an unneeded position of conceding early.
How Many Kick Offs Are There?
Every game has at least two kick-offs, however, there can be many kick-offs depending on how many goals are scored and if additional periods of play.
For example, If a final was drawn at full-time then two additional periods of extra time would be played, which would mean an extra two kick-offs, with one for each team.
If lets say 8 goals were scored in a game, as a random number, then an additional eight kick-offs would then need to take place in order to restart the game.
So as you can see, its not normal for every game to have the same amount of kick-offs due to a variant amount of goals being scored.
Can You Score From Kick-Off?
Yes, a team can score directly from kick-off.
However, this is so rare, that I have never seen it happen.
This is from all the games I have played in and watched.
Saying that though I have seen players attempt this, due to the run-up and distance its very rarely executed.
That right there is my full guide on kick-offs, and I do hope that this post answers all the questions you had on them.
If you have any others that I didn’t answer, then by all means you can leave them down in the comments section below 🙂