Offsides is one of the most difficult rule in soccer to lean and master. Even at the World Cup the call is not aways enforced correctly! According to Law 11 in FIFA's "Laws of the Game" offside is defined as follows:
It is not an offense in itself to be in an offside position.
A player is in an offside position if:
- he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent
A player is not in an offside position if:
- he is in his own half of the field of play or he is level with the second last opponent or he is level with the last two opponents
A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:
- interfering with play or interfering with an opponent or gaining an advantage by being in that position
There is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from:
- a goal kick, a throw-in, or a corner kick
Sounds simple? Here is a short video to help you understand offsides:
For the complete rules of soccer please refer to the "Laws of the Game" on FIFA's website.