The penalty area in soccer is the large box outlined at each end of the field. It’s a location in which fouls result in greater consequences, and defenders must use added caution when making tackles. What significance does the penalty box have, and what additional rules apply inside it?
The soccer penalty box is an 18 by 44-yard space on either end of a soccer field. Any foul committed inside the penalty area by a defending team results in a penalty kick for the attacking team. The smaller box inside the penalty area is called the six-yard box. Goalkeepers are only allowed to use their hands inside the penalty area.
This article comprehensively covers everything you need to know about the soccer penalty box. Read on to learn more about penalty area dimensions, rules, and other aspects of this part of the field.
Table of Contents
What is a soccer penalty box?
Soccer fields are unique in that there are minimal lines on the field. The penalty box is one of the few outlined spaces on the pitch, which means it must be significant, right? What is a soccer penalty box?
The soccer penalty box, or penalty area, is a designated space on both ends of a soccer field. Any foul committed by a team inside their penalty area results in a penalty kick for the attacking team. Inside the 18-yard area are the 6-yard box and the penalty spot. Goalkeepers are only allowed to use their hands inside their penalty area.
The soccer penalty box has a list of rules attached to it.
Goalkeepers, the only players on the field allowed to use their hands, can only do so inside their penalty area. Using their hands elsewhere on the field will result in a free kick and, if intentional, a red card.
The penalty area also makes up the section of the field where fouls and handballs result in penalty kicks.
Players who commit a foul inside their penalty box could receive a yellow or red card depending on a handful of other circumstances, like if the foul prevented a goal-scoring opportunity.
How big is the soccer penalty box?
The penalty area takes up a lot of space on a soccer field. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not actually 18 yards wide. Exactly how big is the penalty box?
The penalty box is a rectangular area stretching 18 yards from each goal post, hence, an “18-yard box.” Inside the 18-yard box are the 6-yard box and the penalty marker, which is 12 yards from the center of the goal. The penalty box is 18 yards (54 feet) long and 44 yards (132 feet) wide. The goal is eight yards wide.
The penalty box is outlined with white lines on a soccer field.
On some multi-use fields, like at turf facilities where multiple sports are played, the soccer lines might be a different color.
The penalty area dimensions and the rest of the field will be smaller for younger teams.
What is the small box inside the penalty area?
There is a smaller area inside the penalty area. It doesn’t serve a purpose during the run of play but retains one critical function. What is the small box inside the penalty area for?
The small box inside the penalty area is a space from which goal kicks must be taken called the goal area or 6-yard box. It gets its name because the lines stretch six yards to the front, left, and right of each goalpost. It’s six yards long and 20 yards wide.
The 6-yard box outlines the space from which a team must take its goal kicks. The ball must be placed inside the six-yard box or on its lines for the goal kick to count.
A goal kick is a free kick awarded to the defending team if the ball goes out of bounds on their goal line, touched last by the attacking team.
The rule for fouls inside the penalty area
The penalty area adheres to a slightly different set of rules regarding fouls. Fouls committed in the box result in stricter punishment for defending teams.
Fouls and handballs committed by a defending team from anywhere inside their penalty area result in a penalty kick for the attacking team. Goalies are allowed to use their hands in their penalty area unless the ball is intentionally played to them by a teammate, at which point they must use their feet.
Suppose a goalie uses their hands to control the ball after a teammate passes it to them, even inside their team’s penalty area.
In that case, the result is a yellow or red card for the goalie and an indirect free kick, not a penalty kick, for the other team.
Offside calls on players inside the penalty area do not result in penalty kicks.
Is any foul in the penalty box a penalty?
Fouls committed by defenders inside the area are costly, but that raises the question; is every foul in the penalty area a penalty?
All fouls committed by players inside their team’s penalty area result in a penalty kick for the other team. These fouls generally result in a yellow or red card for the player that committed it. Professional leagues use a Virtual Assistant Referee, or VAR, to review called or missed fouls in the penalty area.
These fouls include handballs in the box, which VAR also reviews.
What is the dot inside the penalty area?
The soccer penalty box has a tiny circle in the middle of it. It’s only used for one thing. What purpose does the dot inside the penalty area serve?
The dot inside the penalty area on a soccer field marks where the ball is placed during penalty kicks. The spot is 12 yards from the goal line, centered with the goal. According to the laws of the game, at least part of the ball must be touching the penalty spot before the kick is taken.
The penalty spot is only used during penalty kicks.
It serves no purpose other than marking where penalty kicks are taken.
During penalty kicks, the center referee’s job is to ensure the ball is placed correctly on the spot.
Likewise, an assistant referee stands on the goal line during penalty kicks to ensure the goalkeeper does not step off the goalline early before the kick taker strikes the ball.
What is the arc on the penalty box?
The strange-looking arc on the penalty box, like the penalty spot, is used for only one thing—and at the same time as the spot. What is the arc for?
The arc on the top of the penalty box shows the minimum ten-yard distance players, apart from the designated kick taker and the defending goalkeeper, must stand from the penalty spot during a penalty kick. Players are not required to stand on the arc during penalty kicks but must be outside the penalty area.
Additionally, players must be behind the penalty spot, at least 12 yards from the goal line. Ten yards away is the closest a player can be to the penalty spot during a penalty kick.
The arc is only used for penalty kicks and serves no other purpose.
Can you score from inside the penalty box in soccer?
Yes, anyone can score from inside the penalty box.
How many penalty areas are there on a soccer field?
There are two penalty areas at each end of a soccer field, one for each team.
Can a goalie come outside of the penalty area?
Goalkeepers for each team are allowed anywhere on the field but can only use their hands inside their respective penalty boxes.
How wide is a soccer penalty box?
The penalty area is 18 yards wide from each goal post totaling 44 yards (132 feet) in width.