How to Keep Score in Soccer

Soccer goalie jumping

With goals something of a rarity in outdoor soccer compared to other sports, keeping score is as simple as counting to 10 (and sometimes, one). Each goal counts as one, and most players on the field remain fully aware of whether the score is 2-0, 4-1 or some other margin, and can adjust tactics as needed -- important in a game without timeouts. The ball has to fully cross the goal line to be counted, notes Law 10, “The Method of Scoring,” in FIFA’s Laws of the Game.

Scorekeeper Responsibilities

If you are formally serving as scorer for a game, you need to track which player scored as well. If a defensive player scores what is called an “own” goal, this is credited to the offensive team, without the defender’s name attached. If an offensive player’s shot is deflected into the goal by the goalkeeper or defender, the player still receives credit for the goal. At higher levels, you need to track assists, time of goal and penalties, as well as shots, saves and the rosters of each team. You also need to report or call in the score to the league, a role that may fall to the winning coach or manager in recreational soccer.

Indoor Soccer

Recreational indoor soccer can be much higher scoring than outdoor, and a badly overmatched team can give up as many as 20 goals or more to a stronger squad. The referee or a separate timekeeper usually has access to a scoreboard though, so players can track scoring. In professional indoor soccer, the Major Arena Soccer League counts goals scored past a 45-foot arc as 3 points, instead of 1, and penalty kicks count for 2 points.