The corner kick is one of the most underappreciated set pieces in soccer. When utilized properly, it can lead to game-changing goals.
However, many fans and even players don’t fully understand the intricate rules and strategies involved in taking a successful corner kick.
As an avid soccer enthusiast, I decided to create this guide to demystify the corner kick.
What is a Corner Kick?
The basics first – a corner kick occurs when the ball crosses the goal line after last being touched by a defending player. The attacking team is then awarded a kick-in from the nearest corner area of the field.
Soccer Corner Kick Rules and Regulations
FIFA’s official rules contain several guidelines for taking a legal corner kick:
- The ball must be placed in the corner area nearest to where it went out of play. Typically, corner flags mark this area.
- The corner kick can be taken by any player.
- All defending players must be at least 9.15 m (10 yards) from the corner area until the ball is in play.
- The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves.
- The kicker may not play the ball a second time until another player has touched it.
- A goal may be scored directly from a corner kick.
Strategies for an Effective Corner Kick
The perfect corner kick can set up a scoring opportunity, but it requires thought and precision. Here are some key strategies:
- Use speed and curl – A fast, curving ball is harder for defenders to clear.
- Vary the height – Low drives or high-looped crosses give defenders fits.
- Play it short – Pass to a teammate at the edge of the box to catch defenders off guard.
- Use decoy runners – Send players on paths to pull defenders out of position.
- Crowd the goalie – Flood the 6-yard box to distract and block the keeper.
- Curve away from goal – Outswingers are tougher for keepers to control and claim.
==>> You should also read my article about corner kick set plays here.
In the next section, I am giving a personal perspective on the corner kick rules.
My Take on the Rules
As an avid soccer player/fan, I have to admit I’ve shouted at the TV a few times over controversial corner kick calls. While most of the rules make sense to me, there are a couple I think could use some tweaking.
The 9.15 meter (10 yard) distance requirement seems excessive to me. I’ve seen short corners where defenders simply stand 5-6 yards away and easily clear the ball. Reducing the required distance to 6 meters would make short corners more viable and force defenders to react quicker.
I’m also not a fan of the rule that the kicker can’t play the ball twice off a corner. It eliminates creative options like laying it off to yourself for a give-and-go play. Soccer is meant to be free-flowing, so I believe re-touching the ball should be fair game.
However, some players can be very creative.
Here’s a good example by the IFAB: “If a player, while correctly taking a corner kick, deliberately kicks the ball at an opponent in order to play the ball again but not in a careless or reckless manner or using excessive force, the referee allows play to continue.“
The no offsides rule is a must though. Can you imagine the chaos if attackers had to worry about their positioning on a corner? And allowing a direct goal off a corner is a no-brainer. It creates the chance for the sensational goals that fans love to see.
Overall, I think the corner kick rules do a good job of balancing fairness and excitement.
With just a couple of tweaks, it could be even better. I’d love to hear other soccer fans’ perspectives, so feel free to chime in! What changes would you make to the corner kick rules if you could?
This article was all about soccer corner kick rules. Hope you gained value from it.
With the right technique and tactics, the humble corner kick can produce extraordinary results.
The next time you watch a soccer match, keep an eye on corner kick strategies. You may gain a newfound appreciation for this overlooked set piece.