Is Soccer A Contact Sport? (All Reasons For & Against) (2023)

Is Soccer A Contact Sport? (All Reasons For & Against) (1)

Soccer Is arguably the most popular sport in the world. It is the only sport alone that can paralyze entire countries and cities for one single game. It is incredible how people around the globe live this beautiful game as if it was a religion. Even for an ardent soccer fan like me, it’s pretty hard to explain why many people are so passionate about soccer.

However, while its status as the world’s most popular sport is unquestionable, there is a serious debate on whether soccer should be classified as a contact or non-contact sport.

Is soccer a contact sport?Soccer is regarded as a contact sport. With twenty outfield players running and competing for the ball, the chances are always high that either intentional or unintentional physical or bodily contact would occur.

Definition Of a Contact Sport

Before we go into why exactly soccer is regarded as a contact sport, we will have to go through the definition of what a contact sport actually is.

This is a type of sport where contact between players will happen, the contact is not a part of the game, and the players are highly discouraged against making heavy contact. Basketball and soccer are typical examples of these types of sports. Contact will occur and can either be intentional or unintentional but not on every play and it’s not an actual part of the rules.

(Video) 'Football' vs 'Soccer' – WHY the war of words?

In sports, contact between players is often classified by different degrees ranging from contact, non-contact, and collision or full-contact. In full-contact sports, collisions are a literal part of the game and eliminating them would literally remove a significant portion of what makes the sport what it is.

In non-contact sports, players do not come into contact with other players. Swimming is a great example. If you run into another player then something might have gone seriously wrong.

Why Soccer Is a Contact Sport

Is Soccer A Contact Sport? (All Reasons For & Against) (2)

It involves the use of the body to shield the ball: In soccer, shielding is an essential dribbling technique that players use to keep possession of the ball in tight spaces. Shielding typically occurs when a player in possession of the ball positions himself/herself between an opponent and the ball in a bid to create a physical barrier using their body. The opposing player will attempt to win back the ball and in doing so, will come into contact with the player shielding it.

Contact through slide-tackling is almost inevitable:In soccer, slide-tackle refers to an attempt to win back the possession of the ball by sliding on the ground toward the opposing player having the ball. Though a slide tackle is legal provided it is safely executed, the physical contact that results from it can result in serious injuries and this is what makes soccer a contact sport. We have all watched or perhaps witnessed a few soccer players break their legs out there on the pitch, and these instances would not occur if soccer wasn’t a contact sport.

Shoulder to Shoulder Is Allowed

Shoulder barge is very much allowed. Every soccer fan out there knows that pushing is illegal. However, fair charging through shoulder push is legal. A barge refers to a considerably stronger force. It is often executed primarily to remove a player out of their position.

(Video) Call It Football Not Soccer

In soccer, a shoulder barge is used to describe a scenario when the player, who’s trying to win the ball, uses her/his body to physically remove an opponent from his position so that he wins the ball. This is a common practice in soccer and always results in players coming together hence the contact.

Reasons Against Soccer as a Contact Sport

Contact between players is not mandatory: As we previously mentioned, a contact sport is one which emphasizes on physical contact between players and removing this contact aspect would seriously impair the game. For instance, it would be impossible for a sport such as American football, rugby to be played without contact. However, this does not necessarily apply to soccer, as the game could potentially be played without players making contact with each other and it would just be fine.

It only allows for a minimal amount of legal contact: Unlike in full-contact sports such as American football and rugby; where frequent, deliberate and permissible violent physical contact is a common part of the game, soccer-only allows for a relatively smaller amount of contact.

The rules of the Game as stipulated by FIFA, the world’s governing body of soccer, clearly specify what types of contact are allowed and which ones are punishable. It is quite common and normal to see a soccer player going down from even one of slightest contact challenges in search of a free-kick, which then allows him to attempt to score a goal from the awarded free-kick.

What Do The Rules Say About Contact In Soccer?

Is Soccer A Contact Sport? (All Reasons For & Against) (3)

Fair Contact: In soccer, a fair contact challenge is described as being side-by-side as the players challenge for the ball. Typically, fair charging involves a tussle for physical space by players within a considerable playing distance of the ball. It does not involve the use of either elbows or arms. Shoulder-to-shoulder challenges usually occur when two players push each other physically with the primary aim of winning the ball.

(Video) Why Soccer Players Flop So Much

It is also imperative to note that “making oneself big” or simply shielding the ball away from the opponent is another legitimate technique of shoulder-to-shoulder challenge. However, the player shielding the ball is not allowed to use his arms or any other part of the body other than for balance purposes.

Also, they should not either push or hold the opponent seeking the ball. If the player is simply using his arms or any other part of the body to maintain balance while shielding the ball, then the opponent who initiates contact with him is guilty of breaching the fair charging rules. Equally, the player having the ball should not initiate any form of contact and if he/she does, the player should be punished by the referee accordingly for having initiated an illegal charge.

In general, it is considered an offense for a player to charge an opponent in; a reckless, careless manner and using a force deemed excessive by the referee.


Tackling is another aspect of the game that usually results in contact between players. However, tackling is arguably the easiest way to regain ball possession and perhaps this is why players, especially defenders, love tackling. So, what do the rules say about tackling in soccer?

Slide tackles:A slide tackle challenge can be fair or unfair, however, the chances of a tackle being unfair are always greater. According to the FIFA rules, a tackle can be reckless, careless or dangerous. A tackle is only deemed fair if the defender or the player making the tackle first made contact with the ball rather than with the opponent. This only implies that for a player to make a fair tackle, the ball must be within touching distance.

(Video) US soccer: Will Americans ever care about football? - BBC News

Offenses:Any player who charges, kicks or attempts to kick, pushes, jumps, strikes or attempts to strike an opponent commits an offense and is punishable accordingly. It also extends to a player who improperly challenges, tackles trips or attempts to trip an opponent. The referee will give a free-kick to the opposing team if a player commits any of these offenses in a manner perceived by the referee to be reckless, careless or using excessive force.

The referee will use his power based on judgment to determine the degree of the penalties to be applied. The penalties could include awarding a direct-free kick, a yellow card or both. In serious cases, the referee may issue a red card which means subsequent sending-off of the player in addition to the free-kick.

Accidental contact:It is also important to mention there are some contact situations that do not fall under either fair or unfair challenge. They are purely accidental and do not result in any player being punished and include:

  • Two players vying for a high ball using their heads and one ends up heading his opponent.
  • A player running at high speed while solely concentrating on the ball and ends up hitting an opponent.
  • Two football players equidistant from each other, both trying to win a 50-50 challenge collide.
  • Two players of the same team bundling into each other.
  • A player lands awkwardly on the ground after legs get entangled.
  • A player hitting on the goal post
  • A player getting hit by the ball when there is little time to react.

Final Thoughts

Soccer is a tough game which involves a lot of physical tussles which can sometimes lead to severe injuries. Over the last decade or so, FIFA, the world’s governing body for soccer has made tremendous improvements regarding how the game should be played. Unlike a few years back when hard-tackling, pushing and the use of excessive force was a common part of the game, today’s soccer rules are non-contact oriented and tailored toward enhancing the overall safety of the game.


Is soccer a contact sport? ›

Football (or soccer for our US audience), as it is played today, is definitely a contact sport.

Is soccer a contact or non contact? ›

Let there be no misunderstanding: Based on the rules, soccer is a contact sport.

Is contact allowed in soccer? ›

Physical contact between opponents is allowed and very common on the soccer field. In the course of the game, while contesting for and within playing distance of the ball, two players may legally go shoulder to shoulder (called fair charging).

What are 3 reasons you should play soccer? ›

Other benefits of playing soccer

teaches coordination. promotes teamwork and sharing. teaches you to 'think on the run' helps to increase skills in concentration, persistence and self-discipline.

What level of contact is soccer? ›

Similar to a full-contact sport, some sports are considered to be high contact, where contact often happens between players. Of all the types of contact sports, soccer is mostly a high contact sport. There are times when it may border into being full-contact, and other times when it goes into the low contact category.

Is kids soccer a contact sport? ›

While soccer is a contact sport, it is not a collision sport. Some contact between players may occur, but generally kids' soccer is relatively safe, with a lower risk of injury than other, rougher team sports.

What is illegal contact in soccer? ›

An intentional collision with another player as part of the play action involving the ball is called “charging” in soccer. It is penalized with a direct free kick (or a penalty kick if the foul happens in the infringing player's own penalty box at age 7 or older).

Which sports are non-contact? ›

Examples of non-contact sports include cricket, tennis, table tennis, badminton, golf, bowling, bowls, croquet, pool, snooker, bossaball, darts, curling, tug of war, bodybuilding, swimming, diving, gymnastics, sprinting, running, track and field, bicycle race, rowing, archery, freestyle football, footgolf, fistball, ...

Is kicking a soccer ball a contact force? ›

A contact force is defined as the force between two objects that are in physical contact. For example, kicking a soccer ball is a contact force since physical contact is between the foot and the ball.

Do soccer players play with contacts? ›

Not every footballer has been blessed with 20/20 vision, in fact, there are quite a few footballers who wear contact lenses whilst on the pitch to aid their game.

Why should contact sports be allowed? ›

Benefits of organized contact sports include:

Respect: Children learn to listen to and respect teammates, coaches and officials. Also, children learn to follow rules and respect opponents. Teamwork: Organized sports teach children to work with and help teammates in order to achieve a common goal.

Is soccer good for you why or why not? ›

Improves Cardiovascular Health.

The average soccer player, with the exception of the goalie, may run up to 2 or 3 miles during a full game. Most players are moving constantly, either walking, jogging, or running; this increases their heart rate, burns calories, increases aerobic capacity, and improves stamina.

What is the main purpose of soccer? ›

Soccer is a game played on a rectangular field with two teams of 11 players each. The purpose is to make a goal by advancing a ball over the goal line into the goal net, and at the same time defending a goal and keeping the opponents from scoring.

What is the hardest contact sport? ›

Pound for pound, the toughest sport in the world is . . . Boxing. The Sweet Science. That's the sport that demands the most from the athletes who compete in it.

What is the most high contact sport? ›

When you think of sports injuries, full contact sports like football probably come to mind. However, one of the most dangerous sports in terms of serious injury is not football, soccer, or basketball…it's cheerleading.

What is the most popular contact sport? ›

Today, the world's most popular contact sport is soccer, which is played annually by over 250 million players in over 200 countries.

Is indoor soccer a contact sport? ›

In those countries, gymnasiums are adapted for indoor soccer play.
Indoor soccer.
NicknamesIndoor football
Team members5–7 per side (including goalkeeper)
Typeteam sport, ball sport
6 more rows

What is the safest contact sport? ›

Golf is considered one of the safest sports to play because of the limited contact you have with other players.

Are you allowed to pull hair in soccer? ›

Hair pulling is rare, and isn't specifically covered within the Laws of the Game so comes under either violent conduct or unsporting behaviour, depending on the specifics, though the mere act isn't an automatic dismissal. But when off the ball and with force it would be considered by most referees to be a red card.

What counts as a contact sport? ›

Contact/Collision Sports and Activities

Examples: boxing, ice hockey, football, lacrosse. In contact sports, the person is constantly making contact with other people or objects, but with less force than in collision sports.

Is it illegal to say mine in soccer? ›

Football's laws dictate that players are not allowed to shout anything that “verbally distracts an opponent during play or at a restart” and leads to an advantage being gained. Shouting “Mine!” or “Leave it!” isn't explicitly against the rules, but it is all down to the context.

What are 5 types of contact sports? ›

The following are examples of contact sports:
  • Wrestling.
  • Judo.
  • Karate.
  • Boxing.
  • Football.
  • Rugby.

What sport makes u skinny? ›

Swimming is one of the best sports to lose belly fat fast. Individuals can burn more calories when they run faster and cover more distance. Also, the rate of fat loss depends on the strokes chosen.

What are non contact games? ›

Non-contact games are sports where participants should have no possible means of impact, where players have separate lanes or take turns of play, such as sprinting, swimming, darts, snooker, gymnastics, tennis, table tennis, chess, badminton etc.

What is an example of contact and non contact forces? ›

The frictional force is an example of a contact force. Gravitational force is an example of a non-contact force.

What are examples of non contact? ›

A non-contact force is any force applied to an object by another body without any contact. For example, magnetic force, gravitational force and electrostatic force.

Does Ronaldo wear contact? ›

Cristiano Ronaldo

But what you may not know is that the footballing superstar wears contact lenses to ensure he can perform at his best level on the pitch. Around 20% of Ronaldo's goals have been headers, showing that contact lenses are safe even when the ball is making contact with the head very close to the eye.

Can soccer players wear glasses? ›

Rules for glasses in soccer

According to FIFA rules, it is forbidden to wear everyday glasses while playing. The reason behind this is that glasses can be dangerous not only for the player who is wearing them but also for the opponents. FIFA allowed the players to wear special sports goggles during the match.

Are contacts safe for sports? ›

Yes, children who play sports can wear contact lenses. In fact, contacts are one of the safest types of corrective eyewear for physical activity. Eyeglasses can easily be knocked off by contact or slide down the nose during gameplay.

Why kids shouldn t play contact sports? ›

Kids who play contact sports are at risk of repeated head trauma and concussion. This is because the brain is actively developing throughout childhood. Brain injuries take energy and time away from learning and development processes.

Why contact sports are not worth the risk? ›

Children that participate in sports of any kind always run the risk of an injury. Contact sports like football and soccer in particular have a higher probability of a collision, fall, or injury occurring. A common injury is a concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).

Why should contact sports be banned in schools? ›

A brain specialist says banning kids from contact sport needs to be seriously considered to avoid brain damage. It comes amid growing research and concern about CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) which again hit headlines after a study on former Richmond player Shane Tuck showed he had a severe case of CTE.

What are the negative effects of soccer players? ›

These include neurological issues—chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), concussion, mental illness, and memory loss—as well as ACL tears, arthritis, heart conditions, musculoskeletal injuries, pain, and inflammation.

What are the side effects of soccer? ›

Common soccer injuries include:
  • Ankle sprain.
  • Knee sprain.
  • Calf strains.
  • Clavicle fracture.
  • Foot fracture.
  • Wrist fracture.
  • Kneecap bursitis.
  • Meniscal tear.

What is the disadvantages of being a soccer player? ›

Injuries. There is no way to avoid injuries when you are playing this physical game daily. At some point, the player's body stops performing well, and it becomes more vulnerable for injuries. Hard and extensive soccer traumas can destroy a career's prospects and force players to quit.

Does soccer Have advantage? ›

Generally, if the ball is received and the attack is promising – presenting an opportunity to shoot or score, “Advantage” is applied and play is allowed to continue without the Referee blowing his whistle.

Is soccer more mental or physical? ›

Soccer is a Mind-Body Intervention

You've probably heard this cliche before: “in sport, 90 percent of performance is mental”. We won't argue whether that number should be taken at face value or not, but there's no denying that elite soccer performance depends heavily on one's mental toughness.

What are three facts about soccer? ›

It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries, making it the world's most popular sport. No one knows exactly when soccer was created, but the earliest versions of the game can be traced back 3,000 years. Soccer is the most popular game in the world. In many countries it is known as “football”.

What does soccer teach you? ›

Playing soccer helps kids build valuable life skills, such as hard work, decision-making, problem-solving, and communication. Through healthy competition, it also teaches the importance of teamwork and cooperation, balanced by good sportsmanship.

What is the most important in soccer? ›


The commonly-held adage is that if you control the midfield, you stand a fine chance of winning the game. Central midfielders come in all shapes and sizes and occupy a number of different roles.

Which sport is known as contact sport? ›

The term contact sport is used to refer to sports such as basketball and handball, and the term limited-contact sport to sports like baseball, volleyball and squash.

Is soccer or basketball more contact? ›

This is because in soccer, players are often tackled and knocked around (both on the ground and in the air). Meanwhile, in basketball, there are a lot less physical contact between players.

What is a no contact sport? ›

Noncontact sporting. events and activities” mean sports that can be conducted while substantially maintaining. appropriate social distancing, and that involve at most only close contact or proximity. between participants that is incidental to the activity.

Is soccer a hard sport to play? ›

It's harder than football, harder than baseball, harder than basketball, harder than hockey or soccer or cycling or skiing or fishing or billiards or any other of the 60 sports we rated.
Degree of Difficulty: Sport RankingsSoccer
36 more columns

Is soccer the most athletic sport? ›

Each skill is important to a player's overall ability within the game and helps to improve a player's athletic ability. All these skills, plus all the others that come alongside those skills, help to make soccer one of the most athletic sports an athlete can compete in.

What is the most tired sport? ›

Having got the honourable mentions out of the way, here's a countdown of the 10 most exhausting sports in the world:
  • Basketball. ...
  • Boxing. ...
  • Australian Rules Football. ...
  • Ice Hockey. ...
  • Cross country skiing. ...
  • Marathon. ...
  • Road cycling. ...
  • Ironman Triathlon.
Jan 1, 2017

What sports are quiet? ›

Some examples of silent sports are: cross country skiing, hiking, running, mountain biking, paddle boarding, and fly fishing.

Is it better to play sports with contacts? ›

Contact Lenses

Football players need their vision to locate where the ball is on the field and where other players are to protect themselves. Having good vision not only improves your performance, but it also keeps you safe. Many eye care specialists recommend contact lenses to athletes.


1. Frito-Lay | Is It Called Soccer or Football?
2. Soccer Rules: Learn about Defensive Fouls | Football
(Sikana English)
3. Soccer or Football?! Thierry Henry HATES the Word “Soccer”
(CBS Sports Golazo)
4. ⚽️ Fouls in Soccer : Soccer Direct Fouls / Indirect Fouls and Goalkeeper Fouls Explained
5. Using Your Hands In Soccer
(Dexton Crutchfield)
6. Soccer Rules | Football Rules | Beginner Guide
(The School Of Sports)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanael Baumbach

Last Updated: 05/26/2023

Views: 5835

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (55 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanael Baumbach

Birthday: 1998-12-02

Address: Apt. 829 751 Glover View, West Orlando, IN 22436

Phone: +901025288581

Job: Internal IT Coordinator

Hobby: Gunsmithing, Motor sports, Flying, Skiing, Hooping, Lego building, Ice skating

Introduction: My name is Nathanael Baumbach, I am a fantastic, nice, victorious, brave, healthy, cute, glorious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.