Offside (Rare But Legal)

Barry, an adult amateur fan, asks:

 

Is there anywhere within the offside rule that means the free kick to opposition can be taken in your half of the pitch?

 

Answer

 

Yes, of course.  While kind of rare (mainly because most team styles of play make the conditions it would require rare), it can certainly happen.  Consider the following (simplified to save time and space but with all pertinent information):

 

SCENARIO CONDITIONS

  • Red versus Blue
  • Red #7 has the ball in his own end about 30 yards up from his goal line
  • The Blue goalkeeper is defending his goal but all his teammates are crowded upfield and all ten of them are either in Red’s half of the field or in their own end of the field but within 10 yards of the midfield line, all massed generally to the right side of the field
  • Red #16 is about 12 yards into the Blue end
  • Red #7 sees “space” (no opponents) on the right side of the field
  • Red #7 kicks the ball toward the empty right side of the field
  • Red #16 anticipates his teammate’s action and begins running toward where he estimates the ball will land, in the process of which he crosses the midfield line and, five yards in, takes control of the ball

DECISIONS

  • Red #16 is in an offside position (ahead of the ball, ahead of the second to last defender, and in the opposing team’s end of the field) while Red #7 has the ball in his possession
  • Red #16 has committed an offside offense while in an offside position (coming from where he originally acquired it) and is correctly whistled by the referee
  • The restart is an IFK for the Blue team where Red #16 became involved in active play by interfering with play (touching the ball) and that location is 5 yards inside the Red team’s end of the field

So, why do we have this question arising now and so many believing that it is not possible to have the offside offense punished in the offending team’s own end of the field?  That is also simple to answer.  Because the Laws of the Game changed several years ago but a lot of people didn’t fully understand the implications of the change.  Not too long ago, when an offside offense was committed, the decision resulted in an IFK where the offside position was originally achieved (i.e., where the attacker was when he or she acquired the offside position) but the International Board changed it to where the offense was committed while in an offside position.

 

Because it was impossible to acquire an offside position in your own end of the field, the offside offense restart was always in the defender’s end of the field.  Although it was always possible (given the scenario’s terms) to have committed the offside offense in your end of the field, the restart was always shifted to the opposing end of the field … until the Law changed.  Many simply did not understand all the consequences of this change in the Law.  There had been no comment on this when the change was first made but, within a year, it had become obvious that many were arguing that the restart couldn’t be where the Law change now made possible and, so, in the next year’s Law changes, the International Board added the observation that, of course, the restart location could be in the attacker’s own end of the field under certain (admittedly rare) conditions.  In short, the Law change didn’t involve either offside position or offside violation requirements — it “merely” changed the location of the restart.…

STLDs (no smirking, you’re all adults)

James, an adult amateur fan, asks:

I have a question in regards to Law 11: coming from an offside position.
As stated, the player ‘carries’ the ruling or a ‘flagged’ violation until interference or contact with the ball. Law 11 refers to the “second-last defender.” This confuses me slightly. Does this mean last defender including the goal keeper?

Answer

First of all, a minor correction in terminology – don’t refer to what the player carries as a “violation.”  An offside position is not a violation, simply a condition a player achieved by being at a certain place at a certain time.  The offside violation arises from doing the one thing a player who is carrying this condition must not do – become involved in active play by interfering with play or an opponent.

That cleared away, the term of “second to last defender” or, briefly, STLD means exactly that, with no special status or exemption for the defending goalkeeper.  The goalkeeper is a defender, just like any of the other 10 players of his/her team.

Problems sometimes arise regarding this because, in the vast majority of cases in defining an offside position (not the offside offense), the goalkeeper is the last defender and the next one up from (or even with) the goalkeeper thereby becomes the STLD.  This is so common that many referees and lead assistant referees (plus an untold number of fans!) focus on the goalkeeper (not surprising because the goalkeeper stands out on the basis of the easily observed different uniform) and are thus in error when you have one of those goalkeepers who like to play upfield from their usual place.  In such cases, officials can make a mistake in routinely counting up from the goalkeeper while forgetting that the person from whom they should be counting up is the actual defender who is closest to the goal line and, as a result, they may call for an apparent offside violation on someone who is not in an offside position because he or she is not past the STLD but maybe the 3rd or 4th last defender.  Keying on the goalkeeper in offside position issues is easy, routine, and fits the vast majority of cases, but doing so is not only hazardous but can lead to embarrassing errors when, just at the moment for whistling that offside “violation,” the official suddenly sees that there is another defender behind the goalkeeper!…

Interfering with Play or An Opponent

David, a U13 – U19 referee, asks:

The recent interpretations about the location of restarts for offside infractions seem to need clarification. Sure, if multiple attackers are running onto a through ball, we must wait until we know who reaches the ball first, an onside attacker or an offside attacker. The restart would be at the point that the offside player touches the ball or becomes involved in play or interferes with an opponent.

However, in the case of a through ball pass by an attacker to 30 yards from the half-way line with a lone attacker running onto it, and perhaps. a defender in pursuit, ARs have previously flagged the attacker as offside as soon as the offside attacker indicated that s/he was going for this ball. This is still the case we have seen recently in professional games, world-cup games, and college games. Some referees, and instructors, are taking the position that ARs must still wait until the attacker touches the ball before raising the flag, even if this causes an unnecessary long run by the attacker and defender.

It would seem that as soon as an offside attacker runs toward the ball, especially with a defender in pursuit, that s/he has become involved in play, or interfered with the opponent, and the offside infraction should be flagged and the restart would be at that point, not another 20 yards closer to the goal line when a touch might eventually take place. It’s this latter scenario that needs clarification for the majority of referees for youth games.

Answer

An outstanding (if rather long) question that is not easily answered.  Remember, the Laws of the Game were never intended to be exhaustive regarding every possible permutation of what happens on a soccer field.  Thank goodness for that!  So, here goes.

For ease of reference, we have divided your original single paragraph scenario into three sections.

Everything you say in the first section is correct and, as you state, is now the current Law regarding the restart location for an offside offense.  There is one correction, however, which might be thought minor but actually isn’t — Law 11 (Offside) states that the offense consists of becoming involved in active  play, not just “play.”  The second section is a factual description of the difficulty some referees have had in understanding this change, applying it correctly, or reacting to offside offense scenarios that are rather uncommon in youth play but are more likely seen in highly competitive levels of play.  The third section lays out a concrete scenario for discussion.  It is the more speculative last part of section 2 and all of section 3 that we will focus on.

Remember when we said that the Laws of the Game don’t cover everything?  One of the reasons for this is that the International Board (IFAB) assumes we will incorporate into the current Law various earlier statements they have made on Law topics.  In other words, have there been any prior decisions or interpretations that are relevant here that have not been specifically overridden?  There are.

The two scenarios below assume that Player A is in an offside position (i.e., the ball was last touched/played by a teammate of Player A and Player A meets all relevant offside position requirements).

In scenario 1, Player A runs toward the ball and the AR/Referee judges that, though no contact with the ball or interference with an opponent has occurred as yet, the movement of both Player A and the last defender is such that a collision, with resulting injury, is likely.  In this case, call an offside violation with the restart location being the position of Player A when this judgment occurs.  Given the speed at which this sort of play develops, the decision needs to be made quickly in order to forestall the collision.

In scenario 2, Player A runs toward the ball and the AR/Referee judges that there is no other attacker who is not in an offside position with a realistic opportunity to reach the ball before Player A,  In this case, call an offside violation with the restart location being where Player A was when the AR/Referee made this decision.  It is important to remember that the intent of this scenario is withhold judgment until it is clear that only Player A’s pursuit of the ball is clear and likely to continue.  After all, Player A should be given at least some brief opportunity to recognize (or hear teammates shout about) his situation and cease his potentially illegal pursuit.

Scenario 3 below has become a subject of strenuous debate and no official interpretation has yet been announced which resolves the issue (same assumption as above regarding Player A being in an offside position).

Player A is several yards away from the ball (at the edges of what would be considered “playing distance”) with an opponent (either the original “last defender” or some other defender who has moved into a competitive distance as the play has developed) also in a position to challenge for the ball when Player A makes a sliding tackle toward the ball,  This would be an obvious offside offense if contact with the ball (or with the defender) is made, but some referees argue that the mere attempt to “slide tackle the ball” itself constitutes an offside offense even if no actual, discernable contact with the ball is made.  They base this response on the argument that this is a form of interference with an opponent even though the similarity with any of the stated examples of “interfering with an opponent” are tenuous and, at best, arguable.  We express no opinion as to the correct solution, only note that there is a difference of opinion that has not yet been resolved.

The above scenario has become one of those situations where the ultimate question – so far answerable only on an individual referee basis and only in an actual (as opposed to theoretical) game situation – is “what would soccer want?”…

Brief (Sort of) Offside Answer

Jeff, a HS and College Referee, asks:

An attacker is NOT in an offside position when the ball is touched/kicked towards the goal by his teammate. He runs to an offside position before the ball arrives. Is it an offside foul?

Answer

We recommend that you use the search feature on the website and look for recent Q&As under the search category  “Law 11” – what you find there (this answer will also show up) can provide considerably more detail than what follows.

No.

OK, maybe a little more detail.  Your terminology is incorrect – and incorrect in a way that makes explaining the answer a bit more difficult.  So, let’s start simply with the incorrect terminology.  You say that this attacker was not in an offside position when a teammate last touched/played the ball.  Fine so far.  Then you say that “He runs to an offside position before the ball arrives.”  That is your downfall because, wherever that attacker was when he and the ball finally “connect,” he was not in an offside position.

“Offside” position is not a place on the field, it is a condition an attacker acquires by being in a certain place (ahead of the second-to-last defender, ahead of the ball, and ahead of the midfield line) at a certain time (the moment a teammate touches/plays the ball).  This “offside/onside” condition remains unchanged during whatever happens afterward until that “play” is over.  In short, if the attacker was not in an offside position when his teammate kicked the ball, then he can never thereafter be in an offside position no matter where the ball moves, no matter where he moves, no matter where his teammates move, and no matter where any of the defenders move … as long as it is the same play.

How do you know when it stops being the “same play”?  When (a) the ball leaves the field, (b) the referee stops play for any reason, (c) there is a new touch/play of the ball by a teammate, or (d) a defender clearly gains possession and control of the ball (except for a “deliberate save”).  In the case of (c), a new determination for all attackers must be made as to their individual offside/onside positions.  In (d), determinations must also be made as to offside/onside positions but, this time, it’s the opposing team players who have to be evaluated because, guess what, they are now the attackers!

Since, according to the scenario you provided, the attacker wasn’t in an offside position when he made contact with the ball (because he wasn’t in an offside position when the play began), then by definition he did not commit any offside offense when he himself touched/played the ball.  We call this “coming from an onside position” and it is one of the most misunderstood aspects of Law 11 because everyone else (excepting the officiating team, of course) thinks in terms of where everyone is when the play ends, whereas we as officials have to pay attention to where everyone was when the play began.  The evil twin to “coming from an onside position” is “coming from an offside position” — it is equally misunderstood but we’ll leave that for some other Q&A.

Oh, and by the way, one other item of incorrect terminology … offside is not a foul.  It is an “offense” — only an offense covered in the first part of Law 12 can be termed a “foul.”…

Advantage vs. Offside Offense

(Originally published on 10/4/17, “Operation Restore”)

ST, an adult amateur referee, asks:

An attacker is fouled by a late tackle by a defender after the ball was passed to his teammate (foul was not cardable).  The Referee saw the teammate was in good attacking position so he shouted advantage and gave the signal.  What the referee didn’t know was the teammate was in an offside position so, when he received the ball, the AR flagged to signal an offside offense. Should the referee blow the whistle and give a DFK to the attacking team?

Answer

Yes.

To understand why, we have to explore the intersection of advantage decisions and off side offenses.  Law 5 makes it clear that an advantage decision, once given, can be called back if the advantage that was originally thought to exist does not materialize or could not be maintained over the course of the next several seconds.  This normally is the result of such developments as the ball possession being lost or the fouled player being unable to maintain his equilibrium.

Note #1: advantage is a team concept  and applies potentially to the attacker’s entire team so the issue is not always what happens to the fouled attacker but what happens to the attacking team’s overall ability to maintain a credible attack against the opponents.

Note #2: we did not say whether they might be able to score a goal — that gets into “obvious goal scoring opportunity” (OGSO) which, though similar, is a different issue.  The key phrase for advantage is the ability to maintain a credible attack moving forward.  And this, in turn, leads us to include scenarios in which the attacker, though fouled and as a result losing his personal control of the ball, is nevertheless able to get the ball to one or more other members of his team.  All of this must be taken into consideration after the Referee has signaled for advantage.  If this credible attack cannot be kept going forward either by the fouled attacker or by the attacker’s team, Law 5 requires that we stop play and return to the original foul.

Note #3: the Laws of the Game seriously frown on using advantage if the offense involves violence of any kind.  That was not the case here because, as the scenario states, the original foul was not cardable.  If it had been an offense which would draw a red card for SFP or VC or Spitting, stop play and deal with it.

What happened in the given scenario?  Everything looks fine, up to a point.  The foul (late tackle) was called (yes, it was because the advantage signal is a declaration that the foul occurred).  For the next few seconds, we are going to see what happens.  If the attack remains credible, we let that foul go (but come back at the next stoppage if there was any nonviolent misconduct); if it does not, we come back to the original foul.

Here, the Referee judged that the team would be able to maintain its attack if the ball released by the fouled attacker went to his teammate.  Remember, at this time the teammate who was the intended recipient of the pass and who was objectively in an offside position had not yet committed any offense.  For whatever reason, the Referee failed to “read” the offside position status of this teammate but, even so, while we might quibble about whether the Referee should have foreseen the problem, there remained in the several seconds of the “advantage time” the possibility that another teammate might come roaring out of nowhere and control the ball before it even got to the intended recipient — in which case, everything could have proceeded as expected.

That did not happen, the intended recipient in an offside position made the mistake of interfering with play while in that position, an offense which would otherwise have resulted in control of the ball simply passing to the opposing team for an IFK restart but for the fact that the game was “sitting on” advantage time.  Because it was, the Referee should come back to the original foul and restart with a DFK where the foul occurred.  If questioned, the Referee need only reply (if a response were needed) that “the advantage did not materialize.”  Look at it this way.  What the Law did was to say that the teammate in the offside position was, for all practical purposes, not there and could not play the ball anyway.  It was the functional equivalent of having desperately played the ball into space with no chance that anyone on his team would get it (in which case, the return to the original foul would be obvious).  The fact that the teammate did touch the ball is irrelevant because the real issue is that, following a foul, the fouled player’s team could not continue to make a credible attack forward.  This result would have been the same if the teammate, realizing his offside position, simply stepped aside without making contact with the ball.

 

 …

Straightforward Offside

(Originally published on 7/30/17, “Operation Restore”)

Jim, a U13 – U19 coach, asks:

A player is on a breakaway and scores with a clean shot past the goalie. The goalie makes an aggressive tackle and injures the player on the play inside the 18 yard line. The goal is subsequently called off because of an offside violation.  Obviously the goal is not allowed, but what is the correct call in relation to the dangerous tackle on the now injured player?

Answer

We are going to treat this as  a straightforward sequence of play and not delve into any of the possible complications, interesting though some of them might be.  Accordingly, our answer is based on the following: attacker makes a shot on goal which goes into the net, then the defending goalkeeper aggressively tackles the opponent and injures him, then the decision is announced that the goal is not allowed based on the attacker having committed an offside violation.

Where several offenses occur sequentially (i.e., one after another), the first offense determines the restart.  Here, the first offense was an offside violation so the punishment is an indirect free kick taken from where the attacker became involved in active play by touching the ball (which subsequently went into the net so the apparent goal has to be canceled).

The second offense was a tackle which, by its description, would seem to meet the definition of having been taken with excessive force and without regard for the safety of the opponent. However, because play was already considered to have been stopped when the offside offense was committed, the goalkeeper’s action was not a foul but it is misconduct.  The goalkeeper should be sent off and shown the red card for violent conduct.

Just as an indication of how and where this could become sticky, the offside offense and the excessive force tackle could have happened at the same time — we would not like to try to figure that one out.  Most referees would probably avoid the problem by declaring the events were sequential rather than simultaneous.

 

 …

Offside — U-10 Version

(Originally published on 7/20/17, “Operation Restore”)

Esther, a U-12 and under fan, asks:

I was watching a U10 game.  R9, a Red forward, had been hanging out offsides. The ball got kicked up the field towards the goal Red was attacking and it passed R9. He ran after it and kicked it. The ref called him offsides. My question is this: was he offsides because he was offsides before the ball passed him or was he onsides because he didn’t touch the ball until after it passed him? Note: the other team’s defenders weren’t involved–they weren’t even on their side of the field!

Answer

We are sighing (metaphorically) as we face once again a question regarding Law 11 (Offside) which we can’t really answer because crucial information is missing.  Why is this so?  It’s not because someone is deliberately withholding it but, rather, because (we’re guessing here but guessing based on a lot of experience) so many people don’t know what “offsides” is and therefore don’t know what the Referee has to know in order to make the correct call.

Pardon us if we vent just a little bit more.  There is no such thing as “offside” — indeed, there is no way using proper English that the word “offsides” would ever be correct (unless we were talking about several of them).  Moreover, in the offered scenario above, the word (plus it’s kissing cousin, “onsides”)  was used five times and in each case it is arguable as to which of the two standard meanings was intended.  So, let’s start:

  • Offside Principle #1: There is no such thing as “offside” unless the word is paired with one of two other words — position or violation.
  • Offside Principle #2: An “offside position” is a condition an attacker acquires by being in a certain place at a certain time.
  • Offside Principle #3: An “offside offense” is a violation of the Law and, in most cases, is punished by stopping play and giving the opposing team an indirect free kick.
  • Offside Principle #4: Every offside offense requires being in an offside position but being in an offside position is not by itself an offense.  In logic, this is can be stated as “An offside position is a necessary but not sufficient condition for an offside offense.”

One more thing before we move on to the substance of the question.  Most U-10 recreational soccer teams (boys or girls) use what are called “small-sided” soccer rules rather than the “full blown” Laws of the Game and these “small sided” rules were set up years ago by the US Youth Soccer organization affiliated with US Soccer.  Those rules do not include Law 11.  In brief, therefore, we were confused right at the very start when the scenario implicitly declared they were two U-10 teams which were apparently using “offside” in their game.  Certainly, this is possible because many local organizations have their own special local rules that don’t always follow what the national or state soccer organizations say they should.  Given this is is apparently the case here, it becomes impossible to guess what those rules may be since, technically, they shouldn’t be there at all.

Accordingly, the only thing we can do is to discuss the scenario as though the teams involved were using Law 11 exactly, without any special local rules.

R9 had every right to be where he was (although it must be noted that Law 11 was intended to be a specific deterrent to “hanging out offsides”) — which we are going to translate as “offside position” because that is the only meaning it could have at this point.  This makes the further assumption that the designation of “offside position” was used in the meaning of Law 11 that R9 was past the midfield line, past the ball, and past the second-to-last defender while one or more of his teammates had possession of the ball.  We assume that, when the ball was kicked “up the field,” it was kicked by a teammate of R9.  When R9 “ran after it and kicked it,” he committed an offside offense (becoming involved in active play by interfering with play — kicking the ball — while in an offside position).  He was, therefore, correctly and appropriately called for this offside offense.

R9’s offside position was created the moment his teammate kicked the ball while he occupied the position we described above.  He kept the offside position through anything and everything that happened between the time his teammate kicked the ball until he committed the offside offense … which is when play was stopped by the referee’s correct decision. No other issues were involved.  A9 could have not run after the ball and, though still in an offside position, would not have committed an offside offense.  A9 could even have started running after the ball and still not have committed an offside offense so long as he did not touch the ball or interfere with an opponent.

 …

Offside Once More

(Originally published on 7/7/17. “Operation Restore”)

Darrell, an adult amateur player, asks:

Can you comment on example circumstances which allow for the offside sanction even though the player in the offside position has not yet touched the ball?

Answer

Sure.  In fact, we have been known to comment on just about anything involving soccer (for exceptions, see the “About” page).  So, let’s review for a moment.  Law 11 says that, once a player is in an offside position, there are certain things that player cannot legally do: (1) interfere with play, (2) interfere with an opponent, and (3) gain an advantage by being in the position.

For purposes of this answer, we can ignore (3) because, actually, it is not an independent or separate way of committing an offside offense.  It has more to do with issues related to the offside position.  Even the terms of “gain an advantage” in Law 11 themselves rely on a player in an offside position committing an offense only if he or she interferes with play or interferes with an opponent.

We come back now to the specific question that asks whether a player in an offside position can be charged with an offside offense without having “touched the ball” and the answer has to be, yes, because there is a whole second category of offside offenses that don’t involve touching the ball at all.   An attacker can also be punished for an offside offense if he or she, while in an offside position, blocks an opponent’s line of vision, challenges an opponent for the ball, or makes an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball, to name a few.

There you have it — three specific ways to commit an offside violation without ever having to touch the ball.

Dropped Balls and Offside

(Originally published on 7/5/17, “Operation Restore”)

Alan, an adult amateur referee, asks:

With the LOTG 2016-2017 changes, can a person who receives the ball directly from a dropped ball be considered in an offside position?

Answer

Nope, but the question you are asking has nothing to do with any of the Law changes that occurred in 2016-2017 (or, as a matter of fact, in 2017-2018 either).  The possibility of being in an offside position was decided decades ago when the offside position was defined as requiring four things.  the player in focus must (1) at the moment the ball is touched/played by a teammate, (2)  be ahead of the ball, (3) ahead of the second-to-last defender, and (4) ahead of the midfield line.  The simple truth is that the dropped ball lacks (and will always lack) requirement (1).  Because the ball is put into play by the Referee, whichever player makes initial contact with the ball once it is in play will not have been preceded by a touch/play of the ball by a teammate.  Ergo, no offside position — ever.

Now, once that player makes contact with the ball (assuming the ball made contact with the ground first), any teammate of that player is subject to being in an offside position based on requirements (2) – (4).

Perhaps what you were thinking of when you posted your question was the issue of whether a goal could legally be scored “directly” by the player who first makes legal contact with the ball at a dropped ball restart.  Unfortunately, that is a different question and, if that is what interests you, please submit it for consideration (the answer, by the way, is no).

Offside and the Rebound

Ken, a U-12 and under coach, asks:

Can a player be called offsides on a rebound shot? For example: one of my players made a shot on goal which was touched by the goalie and another player on my team then received the rebound shot and scored. He was then called offsides and the goal was taken away. Can this be an accurate call?

Answer

Maybe.

Before explaining, we need to step onto our soapbox once again and plead with everyone to remember the proper terminology.  First, there is no such thing as an “offsides” — unless you are talking about two or more of them.   Second, “offside” is an adjective and, in any scenario involving an offside issue, nothing meaningful can be done unless and until this adjective is tied to one of two other words (both nouns) — position and offense.  Law 11 deals with both and they are two very different things.   To analyze a potential offside scenario, we either have to start with determining “offside position” or we have to assume an offside position before anything can be done about “offside offense” because the first (always and ever) requirement for an offside offense is for the player in question to be in an offside position — no offside position, no offside offense … offside position, maybe an offside offense.

With that mini-rant out of our system (at least until the next Law 11 question), let’s return to the scenario above.  It actually involves both position and offense but the problem is that we don’t have enough information about “position” in order to move onto the issue of “offense” so we will simply make an assumption.  In any situation involving a “rebound,” there can never be an offense unless the player receiving the rebound was in an offside position at the time her teammate made the shot that led to the rebound that led to the ball coming to to a teammate of the player who made the shot.  Remember, “no offside position, no offside offense.”  So, to get to the offense issue, we have to assume that the recipient of the rebounded ball was in an offside position at the moment her teammate touched/played the ball.

That issue out of the way, we arrive at the problem of an offside offense.  Let’s call the player who received the rebound A15 just to keep things simple.  Law 11 states generally that a rebound from any thing  (e.g., crossbar, goal post, referee) does not alter the offside position status of A15 — if she was in an offside position before the rebound, she is still in an offside position after the rebound and it follows, therefore, that she commits an offside offense if she interferes with play (which she did) or interferes with an opponent (which she didn’t).  A rebound from another attacker (e.g., A8 makes a shot on goal, the ball bounces off A11 who was not in an offside position at the time, and then goes to A15) is a new play/touch on the ball and thus the offside position status of A15 has to be reevaluated — we know (actually, we assumed) that A15 was in an offside position when A8 made the shot on goal but now we have to determine whether, at the moment the ball was touched/played by A11, A15 was still in an offside position or not.  If not, no offside offense if A15 then scores a goal.

Things get a bit more complicated if the rebound comes from a defender (which is what this scenario is about).  If the rebound came from a defender, the general rule is that the rebound does not change the offside position status of A15.  However, the real issue is whether the contact with the defender was in fact a rebound.  By using the term “rebound,” the issue is simplified because that question is already resolved.  What makes life complicated is deciding whether the defender’s contact with the ball was, in fact, a rebound.  If the defender possessed and controlled the ball (i.e., played the ball), that action is deemed to have removed any offside position from A15 because, now, the ball has not been last played by a teammate of A15.  If the defender plays the ball badly and it goes to A15 (who is no longer in an offside position), A15 is perfectly free to score a goal without incurring an offside offense penalty.  The goal would stand.  The issue of whether the ball rebounded from the defender or was played by the defender is “in the opinion of the referee.”

A few years ago, Law 11 was modified regarding the issue of rebounds and offside positions.  That change directed us to consider a “deliberate save” by any defender (including the goalkeeper) as not altering the offside position status of any attacker (i.e., a deliberate save was to be considered the same as a rebound).  For guidelines on what constitutes a deliberate save, see p. 92 of the 2017/2018 Laws of the Game.

Now, to the “maybe.”  If A15 was in an offside position at the time her teammate made the shot on goal and if the touch on the ball by the goalkeeper is considered a rebound or a deliberate save, then A15 was still in an offside position, she committed an offside offense by interfering with play, and the goal should be disallowed.  If A15 was not in an offside position when her teammate made the shot on goal, then she couldn’t possibly commit an offside offense no matter how you interpret the goalkeeper’s touch on the ball and so the goal stands.  If A15 was in an offside position and if the goalkeeper’s touch on the ball was neither a rebound (or deflection) nor a deliberate save, then A15 committed an offside offense and the goal should not stand.

Whew!…