Can You Use Your Arms In Soccer?

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Can you use your arms in soccer? Well, that question has popped up in every beginner’s mind.

Whether you are someone starting in the soccer world or you are just curious to learn a few things about soccer, you are in the right place.

The use of arms is seen in many sports like Basketball, handball, American football, and so on. However, in soccer(aka football for some), it is different. But only one player is allowed to use his hands.

In this article, you are going to learn whether players are allowed to use their hands on a soccer pitch or not. Plus, what will happen if they do so.

Let’s get started.

Can You Use Your Arms In Soccer?

The goalkeeper is the only player allowed to use his arms in soccer. The ten other players on the pitch would be sanctioned if they were to touch the ball with their arms. This includes defenders, midfielders and attacking players.

With that being said, yes, you can use your hands, but only if you are a goalie.

In case you are not familiar, soccer is a game played by eleven players in each team with the primary role to score as many goals as possible.

The games are played on a pitch, which is also called a field, with two separate 45 minutes timelines. The break in-between these two segments is usually used for regrouping purposes and redefining strategies.

But unlike basketball, soccer players have to use their feet to pass, shoot, score and run with the ball. The use of arms is not part of the rules for any player that plays in a position from the defense to the attack.

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Only the goalie has this privilege.

But, why is the goalie the only one allowed to use his arms?

Let’s explore it and you are going to understand why it is important for the goalie to use his arms.

Why Does The Goalie Use His Arms In Soccer?

The goalie is the only one using his arms because he is the last one to beat before scoring a goal.

The goalie is dedicated to keeping the opposing team from scoring goals. Being on guard at the goal, he is allowed to use both hands and legs to stop any balls from entering his cages.

This job means he has to stop powerful shots from the opposition.

Could you imagine catching a shot with any part of the body except the arms?

This sounds impossible. A goalie needs his arms to successfully make saves. Plus, the goal post area is about 8 yards long and 8 feet high, making it impossible to catch any ball heading to the angle without arms.

But, although the goalie is the only player allowed to use his arms, this doesn’t mean he should do it anywhere field.

This leads us to the next question, when and where can a goalie use his hands?

When Can A Goalie Use His Hands?

A goalie can only use his arms and hands in his penalty box.

can you use your arms in soccer - A penalty box

If the goalkeeper tries to catch the ball outside his box area, it will result in him receiving a sanction(Yellow card).

Keep in mind that this happens a lot in professional games where a goalie will forget and not realize that he is outside the box, then catch the ball with his hands.

But forgetting is normal. They are human beings.

So, the goalie is the patron in his box. But once he leaves his box, he becomes like the other players. Meaning, he can only use his feet.

Also, if you are wondering, what if a goalie catches the ball in the opposing box area?

Well, as mentioned before, the goalie is the patron in his penalty area only. This means, even if he finds himself in the opposition box area, he is not allowed to touch the ball with his arms. This will still result in a sanction.

The same thing would happen to any other player who tries to touch the ball with their hands anywhere on the pitch.

However, note that the sanction may vary depending on the way the ball has been touched with the hand.

For example, the referee might decide to not give a sanction if the player has touched the ball intentionally. But, a foul might still be whistled based on the referee’s judgment.

Here is what The IFAB says about that: “As the interpretation of handball incidents has not always been consistent due to incorrect applications of the Law, the members confirmed that not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offence. In terms of the criterion of the hand/arm making a player’s body “unnaturally bigger”, it was confirmed that referees should continue to use their judgment in determining the validity of the hand/arm’s position in relation to the player’s movement in that specific situation“.

Something you should also keep in mind is that if a goalie is unavailable and there is no other goalie to replace him, then it is possible that a defender, midfielder or attacking player play as a goalie whether they have skills or not.

In this case, they will be able to use their hands.

The rule is that whoever plays as a goalkeeper is allowed to use their arms.

Final Word

The goalie is the only player allowed to use his arms in soccer. But not everywhere on the pitch. Only in his penalty box.

However, if a defender, midfielder or attacking player touches the ball with their hands, this will result in them being penalized with a card.

I hope you have gained value from this article.

Are you a soccer player? What is your favourite position? Let us know in the comment section below.

You can also read: Is pushing allowed in soccer?

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