Can You Score From a Throw-In in Soccer? The Rules Are Clear

Seeing a player take a throw-in for their team is a common sight in any soccer game. Often, a throw-in is taken near the goal at the opposition’s end of the field. But you also may have noticed that something you don’t see in soccer is a player scoring directly from a throw-in.

But why is this? Can a soccer player score from a throw-in?

In soccer, a goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in. If the ball does go into the goal from a throw-in, the referee will restart the game with a goal kick or corner kick.

There are a number of reasons a goal cannot be scored in this way and specific consequences for a team if this does, for some reason, happen.

Let’s look at the details of this, but first, let’s quickly make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to the definition of what a throw-in is.

Definition of a Throw-In

I want to start by clarifying this as I have heard some people talk about certain actions in soccer as a throw-in that are not a throw-in.

A throw-in takes place when the whole ball has left the field of play by passing across the touchline on the side of the field, and a player then throws the ball back onto the soccer field using their hands.

This is the only action referred to as a throw-in in soccer. Anything else, such as a goalie throwing the ball up the field, is not what’s meant by a throw-in in this context.

What the Rules Say About Scoring From a Throw-In

Player throwing soccer ball
Soccer player taking a throw-in

The rules of any sport or competition define how the game can, or should, be played.

To know for certain if scoring from a throw-in is permitted in soccer, then you have to check out the official rules of the game. And the rules of soccer make it clear that a player cannot score from a throw-in.

Law 15, the law that specifically deals with the throw-in, states:

“A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in”

IFAB Rules of the Game

It doesn’t get much clearer than that!

If a player wants to score a goal, then throwing the ball into the goal from a throw-in isn’t an option. They’ll have to stick with the tried and tested ways!

One thing that is worth mentioning, however, is that the fact that a goal is not permitted from a throw-in relies on the ball going directly into the goal.

You can score a goal from a throw-in if the goalkeeper touches the ball. Once the goalie has touched the ball, then the throw-in has not gone directly into the goal, and the goal will stand.

Why the Rules Don’t Allow a Goal to Be Scored From a Throw-In

Rules of soccer number 12 regarding a throw-in
Law 12 in the Rules of Soccer: A Throw-in

The reason that a player cannot score directly from a throw-in is, for the most part, down to the fact that it is an offense in soccer for any player to use their hands to score a goal.

In Law 12 of the rules of soccer it states:

“It is an offense if a player scores in the opponents’ goal directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper.”

IFAB Rules of the Game

I’m sure you can see how this law applies to any player taking a throw-in.

At a throw-in, a player is literally picking up the ball and throwing it back onto the soccer field with their hands. For the ball to then travel directly into the goal would be an obvious violation of this rule above.

If a player does commit this offense then the opposition team is awarded a direct free-kick from the place the offense occurred.

To find out the difference between a direct and indirect free-kick click here to go to my glossary of the meanings of terms used in soccer.

As a side note, the fact that a goalkeeper is also restricted from scoring a goal directly from their hand/arm is an interesting addition to this rule. This restricts the goalie from any action, such as throwing the ball into the opposition’s goal from their own penalty area, for example.

Another less distinct but equally important reason for not being able to score a goal from a throw-in is that it wouldn’t be within the “spirit of the game” to score a goal with your hands.

Soccer is set up and designed around a player’s feet, or any other parts of the body except for the hands and arms, being used to touch, kick, or pass the ball.

The restriction on a player using their hands or arms is what sets soccer apart from other sports, such as football or rugby even though they all share the same history and origins.

Check out more about the origins of soccer by checking out my article – How Soccer was Invented.

Because of this, it makes sense that a player isn’t allowed to score a goal with their hands, and because of this, a goal cannot be scored from a throw-in.

What Happens If the Ball Goes Into the Goal From a Throw-In

Ok. So, if a goal cannot be scored from a throw-in, what happens in the situation where the ball does go into the goal directly from a throw-in, whether it was done deliberately or accidentally?

If the ball goes into the goal from a throw-in in soccer, then either a goal-kick or corner-kick is awarded. If the ball is thrown into the opposition’s goal, a goal kick is awarded to the opposition team. If the ball is thrown into the player’s own goal, then a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team.

In both scenarios, the opposition team is given possession of the ball as a consequence of the player’s mistake.

If the ball does end up in the player’s own goal and a corner kick is awarded to the other team then the player could be facing some serious consequences as a corner kick is a great goal-scoring opportunity for the other team!

Can You Score Another Player Touches the Ball After a Throw-In?

You’ll probably have noticed that throughout this article I keep referring to the fact that a goal cannot be scored “directly” from a throw-in.

There is a reason for this.

Firstly, I’ve been using this phrase because, as you will remember, this is what the rules state.

But also, because of the fact that if the ball makes contact with a player, such as a goalie, after the throw-in and then travels into the goal, a goal has been scored and is allowed to stand.

This is because in this case, the ball would have been scored indirectly from the throw-in and not directly. The ball touched another player before ending up in the goal.

Here’s an example of this happening.

Have a look at this video below where Stuttgart goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler only very slightly touches the ball from a throw-in as the ball goes past him and then desperately tries to stop it as it rolls into the goal behind him.

Goalkeeper Own Goal After Throw-In - The Strangest Goal of the Season?

Although it’s hard to see the touch of the ball with his foot, he admitted to touching the ball in his post-game interview. And if you want to find out whether it would have been ok for him to pick the ball up, find out by checking out my article: Can a goalie pick up the ball from a throw-in?

In this example in the video, the goal is counted because the ball didn’t travel directly into the goal. It touched the goalie on the way past and because of this the referee correctly judged the ball to have traveled indirectly into the goal and therefore awarded a goal.

Conclusion and More Info

Hopefully, you now feel you know the answer to the question of whether a goal can be scored from a throw-in and what the consequences are if this takes place.

If you are looking for more information on the rules for a throw-in in soccer, check out my article – The 11 Rules for a Throw-In in Soccer.

If you are specifically looking to find out more about scoring goals in soccer then check out any of these other articles I have written:

Click here for my article answering the question of whether or not a goalie can score in soccer.

Click here to go to my article about whether defenders can score in soccer

Or click here to go to my article explaining all you need to know about what a goal in soccer is, the rules surrounding it, and what it’s worth.

Ben Clayfield

Hi! My name's Ben. I've played, watched, read about, and enjoyed soccer throughout my life. I really enjoy finding out more about the game I love and sharing it with you all. Find out more about me here - Ben Clayfield

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