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Give any lay person a quick run on the soccer rules and everything will run smoothly, until you get to offsides. At that point they will first think they understand, then get confused, they have have an aha! moment and then an ahn? and then they will try to bludgeon you to death with the linesman flag.

To avoid such an unpleasant scenario, theLeftWinger will explain the offsides rule from the safety of the other side of the computer screen. You can always recommend a lay friend to this Web site, but never give them my home address.

The idea of the offsides is simple: to avoid giving an unfair advantage to the attacking team over the goalie. The rule is initially, also very simple: At the moment the ball is passed to the player by a fellow teammate, there must be at least two players from the opposite team between the receiving player and the goal.

Sounds simple, no?

Ok, let’s move forward. So, the first thing that gets people irked is the when the ball is passed part of the rule. This means that the moment when the ball gets to the second attacker is irrelevant, what matters is the position that player was when the ball was kicked in his direction. It is a tricky thing to do if you are not trained to do it, because you naturally follow the movement of the ball, not of the other twenty-one motherfuckers that do not have the ball with them at that moment.

By the way, Dr. Francisco Maruenda from the Alquerías Center for Health in Murcia, Spain, concluded that is impossible for the human eye to process all the information necessary to establish the fixed position of five moving objects as if they were fixed points and calculate accurate to the centimeter distance between these objects, all at the same time, to make an 100% correct ruling all the time.

Leave it to the British to be so concerned with fair play to the point of creating a rule so anal the human eye cannot process.


Moving on. This is moment that the new comer will see something that seems offsides and will be tempted to scream to the top of the lungs. Let’s take it slow, shall we? There are exception to the offsides rule. Here is a short list:

  • If the attacking player is behind the ball in relation to the goal.
  • If the attacking player receive the ball from a goal kick, corner kick or throw in.
  • If the ball is not received directly from your teammate, but it touches a rival player (the goalie excepted)
  • If the goalie rebounds the ball, then the attacking player that touched the ball first is the reference for the offsides.

Keep in mind, all that only counts in the moment the ball is passed to the attacking player.

By the way, San Jose Earthquakes, next time the ref gives offsides when you score legally, it is alright to bludgeon him with the linesman flag.

I’ll help.

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