2-3 Goal Difference Per Game: Indirect Free Kicks

Treat all free kicks as direct free kicks (DFK), even when the referee signals an indirect kick (IDK). This is especially true when your team is inside or just outside the opposing team\’s penalty area.

According to the laws of the game on IFKs, \”a goal can be scored only if the ball subsequently touches another player before it enters the goal\”. Coaches and players usually take this to mean a teammate must first touch the ball. But the law states that it can be any player.

For all IFKs around the opponents penalty area, have one of your stronger kickers take a low shot on goal. If the ball goes into the net, I guarantee you that more often than not, a field player or the goalie will have touched the ball first.


  • Shoot the ball on the ground so it can get deflected.
  • Shoot the ball hard.
  • Before the game, tell the referee what you have planned and ask if the goal will count if the ball is touched by a defensive player. During a game, some referees could be caught off-guard by this tactic.

Defending Against the Indirect Free Kick

Conversely, if an opponent employs this method for all its IFKs, the defending goalie plays an important part besides trying to save the shot. First of all, she needs to know if the free kick being taken is a direct or indirect free kick. If the free kick is an IFK, the ball is heading directly for the goal, and the ball has yet to touch another player other than the kicker, the goalie should wisely let the ball go into the goal. Since the ball did not touch a second player, a goal kick will be awarded to the defending team and more importantly, the goal will not count. However, should the goalie attempt to save it, get her hands on the ball, but have the ball still go into the net, a goal will be awarded.



2 responses to “2-3 Goal Difference Per Game: Indirect Free Kicks”

  1. Wolf Avatar

    Just wanted to correct you. If the ball enters the net without being touched a goal kick will be awarded and not an IFK. While the approach you mention above is a way to potentially score an extra goal in a game I am not sure it fits in the category of “Improving Soccer in the United States”.

    1. Alex Kos Avatar

      Good catch. Indeed a goal kick is awarded the defending team if an IDF is shot directly into the opponents goal without being touched by a second player. I’ve updated the post.

      One of the points of all the “2-3 Goal Difference Per Game” posts was to give coaches simple tips that could have a profound impact on the game. Coaches, including myself, feel the need to make a difference. If I can help my team lose only 2 – 0 instead of 5 – 0 or help them win close games, then I feel I have helped my team. By teaching my players about IDF strategies, I am helping the become more knowledgeable soccer players and thus improving soccer in the U.S.

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