Sports School: Former Rhinos head coach Pat Ercoli explains offsides

Local Sports

Learn about one of soccer's most confusing rules

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s a good time to get into soccer, with the German Bundesliga already back and the English Premier League returning soon.

If you’re looking to get more educated about the game, former head coach and current president of the Rochester Rhinos Pat Ercoli breaks down the offside rule.

“The offside rule applies to the attacking team, and it only applies to the half of the field that is the attacking side of the field when that team’s in possession of the ball,” says Ercoli. “Ideally, the easiest way to explain it is if you take your blue line like hockey, your second-to-last defender is that line, then anything behind that line all the way to the goal line would be an offside space.”

When the goalie is in net, the second-to-last defender is essentially the last defender.

“So the forward, if he gets into that space between the second-to-last defender and the goal line prior to the pass and then he receives the pass, he would be in an offsides position,”

A player is allowed to be beyond the second-to-last defender as long as he is not involved in the play. If he becomes involved in the play beyond that defender, the play is blown dead and it is the other team’s ball.

“When the pass is made, where that forward is standing, as long as you have everything behind the line, excluding any parts of the body that you can’t score with, then the goal would count. But the minute your toe or your knee or your shoulder or your head is past the second-to-last defender, that would be called offsides.”

Offside is not called if a player receives the ball directly from a goal kick, a corner kick, or a throw-in.

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