In a U-10 game in the USA, playing 6v6, a referee surprised me with what he described as a little known FIFA rule on goal kicks and goalkeeper punts. He would not let the goalkeepers kick or punt the ball on the fly over the center line (midfield line). I have coached U10 soccer for 5 years and never heard of a rule like that.

Apparently, it was OK if our goalkeeper punted or kicked the ball just short of the center line and had the ball bounce over it to one of either our players or the opposition’s players. What is the correct rule?

USSF answer (June 18, 2009):
The referee was correct. Such a rule exists in small-sided soccer (Under 10 and Under 12 only) played under the rules recommended by the U. S. Youth Soccer Association:

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct: Conform to FIFA with the exception that an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team at the center spot on the halfway line if a goalkeeper punts or drop-kicks the ball in the air from his/her penalty area into the opponents penalty area.

The USYS modifies the recommendation with the following advice:
Law 12
The rule on the goalkeeper’s distribution still allows for the ball to be punted the entire length of the field, it just can not go directly into the opponents’ penalty area

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