What Is 6 Yard Box in Soccer? (Everything You Need to Know)

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Soccer wasn’t the most popular game in the past. And when people came up with it, it looked more like rugby. And soccer fields looked very different. They had holes, furrows, and small furry animals and were nothing like the soccer fields of today. 

But there had to be markings since people needed them to make sense of the rules. A soccer field is marked with bright white lines that make up special areas.

In winter, when there’s snow, it can be marked with bright red spray, but the areas still mean the same thing. 

However, of all, one area means much less than people often think about it. It’s the 6-yard box. Some say the goalie can’t be touched there; others say the normal rules don’t work there. It can’t be so silly, can it really? Scroll down to learn more about it in detail.

What is a Six-yard Box in Soccer?

The rules treat the 6-yard box as an extension of the goal. But they don’t say it outright because they need to sound boring enough to look like rules. They succeed in it nicely, which is where their secret to success lies. 

They also call it the goal area, not the box, which is very formal and correct, yes. What the rules specifically say is that the 6-yard box is an area near the goal. It’s drawn with straight lines where one line goes alongside the goal line, 6 yards away. 

The other two lines start 6 yards away from the goalposts and go into the field. So the area bounded by these 3 lines and the goal line is the goal box. But it doesn’t say much about its purpose or the reason it’s there, does it?

What is the Purpose of a 6-yard Box in Soccer?

The purpose of the 6-yard Box in soccer is to make the game fair. Not enough information, right? It’s easy to figure it out once we think about what would happen without a goal area. 

Say an attacking team is fouled against by the defenders, but it happens one yard from the goal. First things first, if it’s a serious mistake, then it’s a penalty, which is big in soccer. 

But what if it’s a small and strange mistake? Like if a defender would stand with their hands spread out shouting, “None shall pass!”

And if none actually shall, then the referee has to give an indirect free kick. What the word “indirect” means is that you can’t kick the ball directly into the goal. Instead, you have to pass it to someone, who then can try to score. 

Now, imagine this would have happened one yard from the goal; how messy would that be? Also, think it would have happened a foot from the goal. That wouldn’t be a free kick but a brawl. 

So when they wrote the rules, they thought of that. The result, the attackers do a free kick no closer than from the line of the box. And that’s it. There are no other made-up strange rules about it. 

Why the 6-yard box Also Called the Goal Area?

That’s what it’s called in the rules, sure! But how many players run around with a copy and read it? Most people just ball it a box, or “that thing,” anyway. And when it comes to an argument, people like to come up with a lot of claptrap. 

Like, the goalie is the only person who can be there, or you can’t touch the goalie there. Some say you can’t be there at all, like it’s magic, or you have to close your eyes when you’re inside. 

Actually, the goal area is a very small thing and has no strange rules. It’s there just to make the game a bit more fair and easy to set up, that’s all.

Is the 6-yard Box Actually 6 Yards?

The 6-yard box is actually six yards. It’s drawn 6 yards away from the goalposts but not in a semi-circle. Instead, it looks square, like most lines on the soccer field. 

Since the goal itself is 8 yards long, then math tells us that the goal area has to be 20 yards long. So it’s simple: 20 yards long and 6 yards wide. They say it’s rectangular, but it’s the same as saying it’s a box.

Can a Goalkeeper Be Touched in the 6-yard Box?

Yes and no, but it depends. There is really nothing special about the 6-yard box when it comes to goalies. As far as the game is concerned, the box is just a part of the penalty area, which is where goalies can handle the ball. 

However, what people mean about goalies being protected is a completely different thing. It doesn’t have to do with the goal box but the goalie’s control of the ball inside the penalty area. So when the goalie holds it in their hands or bounces it, then they control the ball. 

In this case, the rules don’t allow the attackers to challenge the goalie. They just have to wait. 

Since waiting can’t take forever, people came up with the 6-second rule. It says that if a goalie holds the ball for more than 6 seconds, then they make a mistake. 

As a result, the attackers are given a free kick from within the penalty box but no closer than the goal box. 

Can You Be Offside in the 6-yard Box?

Yes, you can be offside in the 6-yard box. It is because the offside rules don’t treat the goal area differently. There’s simply nothing in the rules that has to do with offsides and the goal box. 

And no wonder since the box is the exact place where the attackers would like to be if there were no offsides.

After all, the offside rules are there to prevent unfair play. Also, one example of that would include standing near the other team’s goal, waiting for the ball to come.

What Kind of Kicks Are Taken in the Goal Area?

Goal kicks and free kicks Are mostly taken in the goal area. “But who kicks?” you might say. If the ball flew off the soccer field over the goal line but not into the goal, then a goal kick is made.

The goalie places the ball anywhere in the goal box and kicks it really hard. The harder, the better because then the game can be taken right to the rivals.

The free kicks are a bit more difficult. First, what if attackers made a mistake, like kicking the ball when the goalie held it inside the goal box?

Then a free kick is given to the defenders, which may look like a goal kick from far away. But when the defenders make a mistake, it’s quite a different cup of tea. If it was a big mistake, then a penalty is awarded to the attackers. 

Anyway, when the defenders make a small mistake, then an indirect free kick is taken. In this case, the attackers can’t put the ball very close to the goal.

The ball can only be on the line of the goal area and can’t be kicked directly into the goal. By the way, a small mistake can be really small, like if a goalie held the ball longer than 6 seconds.


The 6-yard box in soccer is an extension of the goal. It’s treated like that to make the game fair and easy to set up, nothing more. 

Contrary to popular opinion, the goalie has no special powers in their goal area. Basically, all the rules are the same there.

The only difference is that the attackers can’t be awarded a free kick closer to the goal box line. Otherwise, it would have been somewhere between silly and dangerous.

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