The Most Important Rule In Soccer, Explained (In Time For The World Cup!)

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OLÈ! OLÈ, OLÈ, OLÈ! The entire world is celebrating the beginning of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil — a month-long, international, head-to-head soccer (or futbol) tournament. While there are many reasons the U.S. is slow to embrace the world's game, one of the most obvious is the extremely complex offside rule. As an experienced soccer player (because I played that one season freshman year of high school), I'll try my best to explain.

Unlike offsides in American football (whereby the defender is on the wrong side of the football at the snap), offsides in soccer is about proximity to the goal. Simply put: If you are closer to the goal than the two closest players (including the goalie) on the opposing team, and the ball is not between you and the goal, you have committed the offside offense. You cannot, however, be considered offsides if you are on your team's side of the field or during a corner-kick situation.

Still confused? Check out the video below and sound like a pro at your next World Cup bar outing!


Akilah Hughes — the twenty-something blogger behind It's Akilah, Obviously! — has pretty much won the Internet. When she's not studying improv at UCB, you can find her drunkenly reviewing young adult sagas or taking selfies of her increasingly large hair. You should probably follow her on Twitter.