The Build Out Line Guide

This document serves as a guide to implementing the “build out line” (BOL) in Auburn Soccer Association’s U10 Recreational League match play. The guide is also available in PDF format.

The BOL is a tool to encourage “playing the ball out of the back” and building attacks involving the backs and goalkeeper in a less-pressured setting. Knowing and understanding the key concepts below will enable coaches and match officials to implement the build out line with better efficacy.

Coaches are responsible for instructing their players (and parents) how to use the build out line. This includes teaching their players to respect the BOL when defending, and teaching goalkeepers to think tactically when distributing the ball as attackers.

Game officials should strive to be consistent in their application of Auburn Soccer Association’s Modified Soccer Playing Rules, taking into consideration the BOL modifications articulated below.

The build out line specifically impacts three key parts of the game: Offside, Goal Kicks, and the Goalkeeper putting the ball back into play once she has possession of the ball with her hands.

Field Layout

Build out lines are to be equal distance between the penalty area and the halfway line.


The BOL marks where an offside attacker may begin to be penalized, replacing the halfway line. Players are not penalized for offside between the halfway line and the build out line.

Goal Kick

Opposing players must move beyond the BOL during a goal kick, and they must remain beyond the build out line until the ball is in play (see Law XVI in Modified Soccer Playing Rules for Auburn Recreational Leagues, p. 17).

Goalkeeper in Possession: Ball in Hand

As soon as a goalkeeper gains possession, opposing players must move beyond the BOL, and they must remain beyond the build out line until the ball is in play.

Goalkeepers may punt or drop-kick the ball.

As a point of player development, coaches should strongly encourage their goalkeepers to primarily use hands to distribute the ball and build attacks. Punts and drop kicks should be used sparingly and only when a goalkeeper recognizes tactical clues that make a punt or drop kick advantageous for maintaining possession and scoring.

Furthermore, goalkeepers are permitted to put the ball into play before opponents are beyond the build out line. However, by doing so, the goalkeeper accepts the consequences of resuming normal play before the opponents move beyond the build out line.

Notes for Game Officials

These modified BOL rules for Auburn Soccer Association’s U10 Recreational League differ slightly from USSoccer’s “Player Development Initiative” in that — although encouraged to primarily use their hands to distribute the ball — Auburn Soccer’s U10 goalkeepers are allowed to punt and drop-kick.

Referees should use common sense when applying the six-second rule of goalkeeper possession, and not count time needed to allow for teams to retreat beyond the build out line. If players fail to honor the BOL by not leaving their attacking third, or by encroaching before the ball is released into play by the goalkeeper, the referee may manage situations with misconduct if deemed appropriate. This may require stoppage of play, and the restart will be an indirect free kick from where the offense took place.

Game officials should be mindful of intentional delays by players failing to retreat in a timely manner or encroaching over the build out line prior to a goal keeper putting the ball back into play. If a team persistently infringes or fails to retreat in a timely manner, it may be appropriate to issue a caution.

Adapted from “USSF Player Development Initiative: The Build Out Line 2019 Update,” prepared by Bruce A. Magnani, Folsom Lake EarthQuakes, Folsom Lake Soccer League, Folsom Soccer Club.


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