Corner Kick in Soccer: Everything You Should Know

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Corner kick in soccer: One of the most exciting parts of a soccer game is when your team gets to take a corner kick. The opportunity is given to you to put the ball, almost unopposed, into the opposition penalty area where there is a good chance your team may get a shot on goal.

So many important goals have been scored from corner kicks throughout the history of soccer. Whether you are watching a soccer game from home or on the field playing it’s important that you know and understand all the rules around a corner kick. Especially as they are such an important part of the game.
So what is a corner kick? Learn what a corner kick is in soccer now!

What is a Corner Kick?

A corner kick during a soccer game occurs when the ball travels past the goal line and goes out of bounds. And the last touch comes from the defending team. Once the ball goes out of bounds, the ball stays in the corner arc nearest to where the ball went out of bounds. And the corner flag post doesn’t move during the kick.

A corner kick in soccer is a means of restarting a game after the ball has left the field of play. The referee will award a corner kick when the ball has gone over the goal line at either end of the field without a goal being scored. And a defending team’s player was the last player to touch the ball.

This means that whether the ball has been deliberately pushed out of play by a goalkeeper or taken a deflection from a defender after a shot by the attacking side, the last player to touch the ball before it goes over the goal line determines whether or not the referee will award a corner kick.

Any player can take the kick in the nearest corner of where the ball went out. However, they can’t touch it again until another player makes contact with it. All defenders need to be at least 10 yards away from where the kick occurs.

If the corner taker kicking from the arc touches the ball again before another player does, it results in a free kick for the defending team where the penalty occurs. Also, any attacking player who makes contact with the ball on a corner kick won’t receive offsides.

The rules for a corner kick

A corner kick occurs when the ball goes out of play at either end of the soccer field after being last touched by a player from the defending team.

But once the referee has awarded a corner kick, how does a player take it? There are 5 specific rules given for the procedure on how to take a corner kick. Let’s look at them now.

The ball must be placed in the corner area nearest to where the ball crossed the goal line

On a soccer field, there are four corners. When the ball goes out of play, the attacking team can’t just decide amongst themselves where they want to take the kick from.

At a corner kick, a player must place the ball within the corner arc of the nearest corner from where the ball went out of play.

This can be seen as a disadvantage to some teams if they have a corner kick specialist who is better with one foot rather than the other. Most teams plan for this to happen. And they will have decided who will take the corner kick before the game. It can be a different player depending on the side of the field the corner needs to be taken from.

The ball must be stationary when it’s kicked. And it has to be taken by someone from the attacking team

The reason for insisting that the ball is stationary at a corner kick in soccer is to prevent the attacking team from taking a rushed kick.

A player will sometimes try to take the kick quickly to catch the defense out before they’re ready. When they do this there is a higher chance that the ball will not have come to a complete stop before they kick it.


By slowing down and making sure the ball is stationary before it’s kicked all the players are given time to get into position and be ready to contest the corner kick.

The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves. It does not need to leave the corner area

This rule ties in with the previous rule. The ball has to start from a stationary position as once it is moving it is once again in play.

Most of the time you will see the ball kicked through the air straight into the penalty area from a corner kick. However, you will see a player just gently tap the ball a few inches to one of their team players.

The most common reason this is done is when a team is trying to slow down the game. At this point in a game, the team taking the corner is usually in the lead and they don’t want to lose that lead.

The thinking is that by kicking the ball straight into the penalty area there is a chance that the other team could get the ball rather than someone on their own team. And the opposition has a much higher chance of scoring a goal if they have the ball!

For the attacking team in these moments keeping possession of the ball is more important than the possibility of creating another goal-scoring opportunity.

The corner flag must not be moved

At no point in a soccer game must the corner flag be moved. They are not optional items in a game and they must stay in position for the duration of the game.


The reason a player may want to move the flag is if they feel it is in the way of their run-up for the corner kick. This does not change the rules though. A player cannot even try to bend or lean the corner flag away from the upright position to try to get around the rule.

It is acceptable for a player to return the corner flag to its position if it has fallen over or been moved accidentally.

Opponents must remain at least 10 yds (9.15 m) from the corner arc until the ball is in play

The team defending the corner kick may want to get as close to the ball as possible to try to block the kick from getting too close to their goal.

It used to be the case that no other player could be within 6 yards of the ball at a corner kick. However, in 1888 the rules were changed to allow any player on the same team to be as close as they wanted. And in 1914 the rules we changed to restrict any opposition players from coming within 10 yards of the ball.

If the opposition players could stand immediately in front of the ball, it would make the corner kick a little pointless and frustrating for the attacking team. Because they are unlikely to be able to get the ball past the defending player.

How Successful are Corner Kick Goals in Soccer?

According to Sports Stack Exchange, a corner kick that results in a goal is rare at 1.42%. During the 2010 Word Cup, a goal via corner kick was one out of every seventy chances. A Reddit thread data analysis breakdown had a successful corner-kick goal at 1.27%.

Şükrü Gülesin has the most direct corner kicks going in as a goal with 32. Şükrü Gülesin was a Turkish player who played from 1940 – 1955. The term for a direct corner kick goal without anyone touching it is an Olympic goal or Olimpico.


If you are looking to kick the ball toward the goal area, you should plan to curve the ball’s trajectory. To curve the ball, you want to angle your kick using the inside of your foot. One note is that you should have a right-foot kicker on the left side of the corner of the pitch and vice versa.

As you kick through the ball with this angle, you want to create air time for the ball to get to a teammate or increase a scoring opportunity via a header or a kick. Also, as the kicker, you can’t kick the ball again until another player touches it after your kick.

What is a Short Corner Kick?

While you can kick the soccer ball toward the opposing team’s goalie, you can also take a short kick from the corner area. One popular short corner kick is the overlap.

An overlap play has the kicker pass the ball a short distance to their teammate. And their teammate either gives it back to the original kicker or can take the ball themself. A short corner kick is a great strategy to pull a defender away from the goalkeeper and help set up an offensive play.


It is usually considered a short corner when the ball has traveled less than 10 yards (9.1m) to another player on their team. 10 yards (9.1m) from the corner flag is the nearest an opposition player can be to the ball at a corner kick.
The advantage of doing this is that the opposing team cannot come within a 10-yard radius of the corner flag at a corner kick. This allows the other player to receive the ball unopposed.

How to Defend against the Corner Kick

The defending team must stay at least ten yards away from the corner kick on the soccer field or receive a yellow card. Ensuring that they are ten yards away from the kicker, most teams line up a wall of defenders near the goalie to stop players from having a clear shot at the goal.


Each player on the defending team usually has a specific role to play at a corner kick in soccer. Teams can also move players around the pitch to either stack everyone near the goal or evenly space them out around the field.

Difference between a corner kick and a goal kick in soccer

A corner kick is taken from the corner of the soccer field at the end of the field nearest to the goal the attacking team is attempting to score. The goal kick is taken from the 6-yard box next to the defending team’s goal.

A goal kick is awarded when the ball goes over the goal line at the end of the field. And the last player to touch the ball was on the team attacking the goal. As long as a goal hasn’t been scored the defending team can take a goal kick from anywhere within their own 6-yard box.

The difference with a corner kick is that the ball has to have gone over the goal line at the end of the field. However, the last player to have touched it is a player from the defending team. At this point, the attacking team can take the corner kick.

Difference Between a Corner Kick and a Throw-In


There are two primary differences between a corner kick and a throw-in during a soccer match. A corner kick uses a player’s foot to kick the ball and resume play, while a throw-in occurs using your hands.

A corner kick happens when the ball goes out of bounds after it crosses the goal line, while a throw-in occurs when the ball goes out of bounds and doesn’t cross that line.

Difference Between a Corner Kick and a Penalty Kick

A penalty kick occurs when the defending team causes a foul within their own penalty area. A foul can be from contact or by a handball. When a penalty kick occurs, an offensive player will kick the ball in front of the goal. And all players need to position themselves outside the penalty area until the kick.


Besides, a corner kick occurs when the soccer ball passes the goal line and goes out of bounds by a defender. There is no foul on this play. So an offensive player resumes play by kicking the ball from the corner arch.

Conclusion: What is a Corner Kick in Soccer?

In summary, a corner kick occurs when a defending team player last touches the ball after it passes the goal line and goes out of bounds. A successful Olympic goal is rare at around 1.5%. With it being rare, teams try and place the ball toward their teammates during a corner kick. Usually, a referee won’t count the extra time it takes for a player to take a corner kick. However, if there is ample time that a player takes before finally kicking the ball, they might.

If this post about corner kicks has made you interested in finding out more about the rules of soccer check out some recent articles I wrote at FootballTerms.

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