Soccer 101: More than Just a Throw

Soccer 1-1 Throwin

The rules of soccer state that if a ball goes out of play on either sideline, the match will be resumed by a ‘throw-in’. Whichever team touches the ball last before it goes out of bounds concedes the throw-in.

This rule helps maintain the flow of a soccer game.

Non-stop, flowing action is part of what makes soccer the Beautiful Game. When the ball rolls out of play, elite players use that brief moment to organize their team’s defensive shape or, in certain circumstances, advance up the field to gain leverage in the attack.

Soccer is similar to many sports in that - more often than not - sustained offensive pressure yields positive results. Throw-ins can be a useful tool to pin the opponent back in their defensive half. A throw-in that is flicked deep into the opponent’s half gives the team an opportunity to move, as a unit, up the field to produce scoring opportunities.

Oftentimes throw-ins are taken conservatively in order to keep possession of the ball; which is also a smart approach. Ball possession is undoubtedly a vital part of the game. 

A player taking the throw-in will normally either throw the ball to his/her teammate’s (1)feet or (2)head; with the intention of (1)keeping possession or (2)flicking the ball up the field. Players may even field throw-ins in an offside position. 

Throw-ins are a fundamental aspect of the game. We’re taught how to properly throw the ball in as young kids. Youth coaches will typically say, (1)‘throw the ball to a teammate’, or, (2)‘throw it up the line’ to teach kids the importance of (1)keeping the ball or (2)getting it forward.

The third (and more exciting) option is the long-throw. Or, in Orlando Pride forward Danica Evans’ case, the “flip-throw”.

If the ball goes out of play anywhere near the opponent’s goal line, a common tactic is to launch a long-throw into the opponent’s penalty box with the purpose of creating a goal-scoring opportunity directly from the throw in. 

Orlando City’s Scott Sutter  is known for his tremendously effective long throw-ins. Sutter will take his mark a few steps back from the sideline and, after a quick run-up, launch the ball toward Cyle Larin, Kaka and the boys in Purple to scrap for a shot on goal. 

The Pride’s Danica Evans takes a more acrobatic, unorthodox approach to her long throw-ins. Her “flip-throw” features a front handspring in rhythm with her release to really put some oompf on the throw. Watch below  to see what Evans is capable of producing with what most teams would consider a routine throw in.