Can A Player Steal The Ball From A Goalkeeper?

Soccer, a game of strategy, skill, and split-second decision-making, places a unique spotlight on each player’s role. The goalkeeper, a guardian of the goalposts, often seems like an impenetrable force.

Some players really like finding ways to bend the rules, and soccer is no different. In soccer, players often try to figure out how to get around the rules without breaking them.

Now, let’s talk about something interesting: stealing the ball from a goalkeeper.

Can you actually do that? Well, we’re going to explore this question and look at the situations where it might work.

One way players try to steal the ball from the goalkeeper is by using a trick.

Here’s how it goes: they stand behind the goalkeeper when the goalie has the ball in their hands. They wait for the goalkeeper to drop the ball on the ground to kick it.

That’s when they make their move.

They snatch the ball from in front of the goalkeeper and score a goal. It’s a sneaky move, but some players try it to outsmart the goalie and score a point.

Steal The Ball: Know The Rules

Before we explore if taking the ball from a goalkeeper is doable, let’s understand the special rules that apply to them.

Goalkeepers are allowed to use their hands inside the penalty area, making it tricky for others to steal the ball.

But there are rules to balance things out—goalkeepers can’t use their hands outside the penalty area, and they have only six seconds to hold the ball.

Is Stealing The Ball From The Goalkeeper Allowed?

In soccer, players are not allowed to kick the ball out of the goalkeeper’s hands. However, once the goalkeeper drops the ball on the ground, any player has the right to steal the ball and attempt to score a goal.

It’s important to note that stealing the ball from the goalkeeper when they are throwing it in front of them with the intent to kick is not allowed.

This restriction is in place to prevent potential harm to the goalkeeper. Once the ball touches the ground, any player on the field can try to grab it.

Some soccer players have successfully stolen the ball from in front of the goalkeeper, and these goals are usually allowed by the referee.

This scenario often occurs because goalkeepers may not always check behind them when kicking the ball toward the middle of the field, assuming there’s nobody there.


While they are usually correct, occasional mistakes can result in goals for the opposing team.

While scoring a goal by stealing the ball from the goalkeeper may not be the most elegant way to score, it still counts as a goal.

In soccer, the manner in which a goal is scored doesn’t affect the point awarded – a goal is a goal, regardless of how it happens.

These rules are valid only in the penalty area and protect the goalkeeper from some actions of other players that are illegal or can cause an injury. Law 12.2 of the Laws of the Game is very clear about this and states that:

An indirect kick is awarded if a player prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from the hands or kicks or attempts to kick the ball when the goalkeeper is in the process of releasing it.

However, stealing the ball from the goalkeeper is part of the game, but players need to follow the rules to make sure the game is fair.

Knowing the details of these rules makes soccer more interesting, creating a balanced and competitive experience.

It’s about playing by the rules, understanding how things work, and making the game strategic and fun for everyone involved.

Can A Goalkeeper Pick Up The Ball After Dropping It?

Can Players Steal The Ball From A Goalkeeper?

No, once a goalkeeper deliberately releases the ball from their hands and it touches the ground, they cannot pick it up again with their hands.

This action is considered a violation of the rules.

The goalkeeper must play the ball with their feet or another part of their body, just like any other outfield player.

However, if the ball is played to the goalkeeper by a teammate’s deliberate kick, throw, or head, and the goalkeeper catches it directly with their hands, they are allowed to pick it up and restart play.

This rule is in place to prevent goalkeepers from wasting time by repeatedly dropping and picking up the ball.

How Long Can A Goalkeeper Hold The Ball?

Can Players Steal The Ball From A Goalkeeper?

In soccer, the rule says goalkeepers can only hold the ball in their hands for 6 seconds.

If they go over this time, the other team gets a free kick. But, in reality, many goalkeepers hold the ball for about 10 seconds because referees often don’t strictly enforce the 6-second rule.

If you watch professional soccer games, you’ll see goalkeepers taking their time with the ball.

They might stay on the ground for a while, slowly stand up, and act like they’re looking for someone to pass to.

Some even bounce the ball a bit before throwing it.

All these tricks make it look like they’re not wasting time, even though they really are.

But if a goalkeeper goes way over the 6-second limit, holding the ball for more than 10 to 12 seconds, it becomes obvious that they’re trying to waste time.

In these cases, the referee might give them a yellow card as a warning for not playing fair.

Why Do Goalkeepers Bounce The Ball?

Goalkeepers bounce the ball as a strategic move to create a better opportunity for distributing the ball or initiating play. Bouncing the ball can serve several purposes.

Resetting Play: Goalkeepers often bounce the ball to reset the flow of the game.

This provides a momentary pause, allowing the team to reposition and organize itself on the field.

Gaining Control: Bouncing the ball helps the goalie maintain control.

By bouncing it, they can keep the ball close and under their command, making it easier to make accurate passes or throws.

Creating Distance: Bouncing the ball allows them to create some distance from opponents. This extra space provides more time to assess the field and make better decisions on where to distribute the ball.

Deception: They might use a bounce as a form of deception.

By bouncing the ball, they can make it less predictable when and where they release it, making it challenging for opposing players to anticipate their next move.

Initiating Quick Counterattacks: Bouncing the ball is a common technique for quickly starting counterattacks.

The goalkeeper can bounce the ball to a teammate who is well-positioned to launch a fast and coordinated offensive play.