Interesting situation happened in a U10 game on 31 October 2015 where the goalie scooped a weak cross from the opponent and everyone ran back to midfield. Upon seeing this, the goalie dropped the ball in his box and dribbled nearly to the circle and then passed to a forward. The play was allowed to stand, but was it legal?

(The goalie was my kid so I'm not looking for an argument against the league, just a coaching or an affirmation opportunity)

2 Answers 2


Yes this play is completely legal. It often happens even in the big European leagues where goalkeepers dribble a good 10-15 yards out of their box while the opposition players are all relatively far away.. Goalkeepers have as much right to dribble the ball out as any outfield player. If the goalkeeper has legally caught the ball, and has released it from his hand within 6 seconds of catching it, it does not matter how play is continued after the release. He may pass to a team mate with his hands, his legs, or roll the ball out, dribble himself and then pass with his feet.


Supplementary to the excellent, accepted answer, I might add that once the goalkeeper has released the ball from their hands in this situation, they are unable to pick it up again until it has touched another player.

From the 2016/17 Laws of the Game:

An indirect free kick is awarded if a goalkeeper, inside their penalty area, commits any of the following offences:


  • touches the ball with the hands after:

    • releasing it and before it has touched another player


Younger players will sometimes re-handle the ball when they decide to dribble with their feet, but then come under unanticipated pressure from an opponent. They are then very surprised when a free kick is awarded.


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