Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 35109

Law 11 - Offside 9/21/2023

RE: Under 13

Tyler of Vancouver, BC Canada asks...

Can an attacker be offside if both the kicker and the receiver are already past the second to last defender. For example, if the defenders are on the other end of the field and an attacker is standing by the penalty box. If an attacker with the ball dribbles past the defenders and is just past the halfway line on the defenders side and passes to the attacker by the penalty box. Would that be offside?
Thanks in advance.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Tyler,
when there is no 2nd last opponent then the BALL itself becomes the imaginary line at each moment a teammate is touching the ball.

In your scenario the attacker is not only closer than the 2nd last opponent but also CLOSER to the opposing goal line then the ball when his teammate passes, then YES all the criteria for offside call is there.

That teammate would have to dribble/touch the ball when the ball was CLOSER to the opposing goal line than the attacker inside the PA. Only then could it be possible for the attacker in the PA to participate in active play. The restriction was lifted the moment the ball was closer to the opposition goal line than he was, WHEN, his team mate last plays it over or back or out in front for the now, non offside positioned player to run on to.

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Tyler,
Yes, a player can still be be in an offside position (and commit an offside offence) in the circumstances you describe. I'm not sure, but it sounds as if you may be alluding to a surprisingly persistent myth of the game, the one which says a player cannot be offside if all the opponents are in the opposite half of the field.

I can't quite figure out how or why this particular myth ever arose but I've heard it many times over the years.

However, as my colleague ref Dawson points out and as the offside law makes clear, offside position is judged relative to both the second last opponent and the ball. If a player is in the opponent's half, and closer to the end line than both of these entities when the ball is last touched by a team mate, they are in an offside position and if they then become involved in active play, they are guilty of an offside offence.

In your example, since the ball is just past the half way line and the player is by the penalty area, the player is clearly in an offside position and on receiving the ball, would be guilty of an offside offence.

The only way for this player not to be in an offside position would be if their team mate advanced with the ball until the ball was closer to the end line than the player in question and the ball was then passed to them.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tyler
If an attacker is ahead of the ball in the opponents half that player is in an offside position UNLESS there are two opponents between the attacker and the goal line.
So in your example the receiver must be BEHIND the ball in the attacking half to be in an onside position as the 2nd opponent option is not available. If the ball is played to the receiver who is ahead of the ball then offside must be called when the receiving player touches the ball.
As described it is offside.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 35109
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.