A goalkeeper in a recent game made a save. He then started to jog with the ball in his hands toward the forward part of the penalty area. He released the ball in an attempt to punt it but missed it completely with his foot. The ball rolled away but remained in the penalty area. He ran over and then picked the ball up with his hands again. Is this allowable? Should he have had to play it with his feet? Or is it an infraction since he had released the ball?
Answer (October 15, 2007):
Let’s begin the answer with an excerpt from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:
12.16 GOALKEEPER POSSESSION OF THE BALL
The goalkeeper is considered to be in possession of the ball while bouncing it on the ground or while throwing it into the air. Possession is given up if, while throwing the ball into the air, it is allowed to strike the ground.//rest snipped//
The same is true of releasing the ball to kick it. Once the ball has been released by the ‘keeper, he or she may not pick it up again. However, in the younger or less-skilled age groups, the intelligent referee will consider the situation carefully and perhaps decide that the infringement is “trifling,” i. e., not worth punishing at this particular age or skill level. If that occurs, a warning to the ‘keeper would be in order, just to reinforce the fact that the infringement has occurred.
NOTE: See also the following item on another goalkeeper topic.