What Is A Yellow Card In Soccer?

With an estimated global following of four billion fans, it’s safe to say that soccer (football) is the world’s most popular sport.

Whether you are entering the soccer field for the first time, or you are looking to touch up on the rules of the game for an important upcoming tournament, this article is here to help. 

What Is A Yellow Card In Soccer?

By highlighting exactly what a yellow card is, where it came from, and how best to avoid one, you will be in a great position to excel in the exciting game of soccer.

We will also fill you in on everything red-card-related, because, well, they’re scary and best avoided too.

Rounding out the article, we will shine a light on the general ins, outs, and around of soccer and its rules.

This will give you a well-rounded view of the game so you’ll be informed and ready to boot the ball to the back of the goal and bask in the subsequent glory (well that’s the idea anyway). 

What Is A Yellow Card?

Yellow cards are important moments in soccer games. When a yellow card is awarded to a player, the referee will give the other team a free kick in order to try to score a goal. 

A yellow card is a direct warning given to a player by the referee for unsporting behavior, dissent, or other offenses committed during a match.

A player who receives two yellow cards within one game will be sent off and thus ejected from the game.

A red card is a more serious form of punishment than a yellow card, as it results in expulsion from the game.

History Of The Yellow Card System

Yellow and Red cards were first used in soccer games in 1970. Ken Aston invented these cards because he wanted to make sure players understood the rules.

He thought that having clear colors on the cards would help him communicate with them.

The story goes that Ken Aston was driving one afternoon when he saw the light on a traffic signal change from green to red and watched as every driver automatically stopped.

This made him think about how easy it would be to use these cards to explain the rules to people who didn’t speak English.

Ken Aston designed the first set of cards with colors that could easily be seen by everyone.

These cards were introduced into the 1970 World Cup, and now referees use them every time there is a foul or penalty.

How Does A Soccer Player Get A Yellow Card?

There are many ways that players may receive a yellow card in soccer.

Some instances are a result of something they have knowingly done, other times they may have unknowingly done something that warrants a yellow card too.

We have listed the hottest offenses below so that you know what not to do when playing soccer if you would like to avoid getting yellow carded. 

Players Can Get A Yellow Card For

  • Receiving a second caution after being cautioned for dissent – Receiving a second caution after being cautioned for dissent will give you a yellow card. If you get another yellow card while on the pitch, you’ll be shown a straight red card.
  • Using offensive language – Offensive language includes any words that may cause offense to others. For example, using foul or abusive language towards officials or players, or making obscene gestures.
  • Causing injury to another player – This includes deliberately kicking someone else with your foot or head, or punching or spitting at someone.
  • Disrespecting the referee – Referees have the power to stop play and send players off the pitch for various reasons. Examples include throwing objects onto the pitch, delaying the restart of play, refusing to take part in the game, or showing dissent against the referee.
  • Deliberately handling the ball outside the penalty area – This means that you’re not allowed to handle the ball unless you’re in possession of it. You also cannot use your hands to control the ball. Instead, you must pass the ball with your feet.
  • Abusive verbal behavior towards opponents or spectators – The most common reason for getting a yellow card is abusive behavior towards opponents or spectators. Such behavior includes swearing, insulting people, or threatening violence.
  • Throwing equipment – Throwing equipment includes anything that could injure an opponent, such as a flagstick or water bottle.
  • Gesticulating excessively – Gesticulation includes waving arms around wildly, flailing your arms about, or pointing at opponents. It’s considered excessive if you do it repeatedly.
  • Playing the ball out of bounds – This means that you’re no longer able to touch the ball. For example, if you throw the ball away, you’ve played it out of bounds.
  • Foul Play – Foul play occurs when a player commits one of the following offenses:
    • Kicking or tripping an opponent – Tripping is when you trip or push an opponent without trying to win the ball. Kicking is when you kick an opponent.
    • Striking an opponent with your hand or forearm – Handball is when you strike an opponent with your arm or shoulder. Elbowing is when you strike an opposing player with your elbow.
    • Pulling an opponent’s shirt – Tugging is when you pull an opponent’s jersey so hard that it causes pain. Grabbing is when you grab an opponent’s clothing so hard that it causes discomfort.

How Long Does A Yellow Card Last?

A yellow card is given when a player commits an offense that results in a free-kick being awarded to the opposing team.

Once a player receives two yellow cards, they must leave the field of play until the end of the match.

The player is still considered as having committed an offense, but they do not receive any further punishment.

A yellow card means a player will receive a caution. Once a player receives a yellow card, he or she will be given a caution.

Yellow cards mean caution. When the game is over, you get a new game with a different set of rules.

There are no cards left to carry over, and you start with a clean slate. You play again with the same rules as before.

What Are The Consequences Of Getting A Yellow Card?

A player can get a yellow card once per game. Once he gets 2 yellow cards, he will be suspended for the rest of the match.

In competitions that run over the season, yellow cards are accumulated up to a certain number, and then that person will be suspended for a match.

An example of this happens in Major League Soccer (MLS). In the MLS, yellow card accumulations happen throughout the season until a player gets five yellow cards. Once you get five yellow cards, your season is over. 

Yellow card suspensions are very serious punishments. A yellow card suspension means you’ll miss a match.

You’ll also get a hefty fine. Suspensions usually last a few games, but sometimes they’re longer or shorter depending on how many yellow cards you’ve received.

How Does A Yellow Card Work In The FIFA World Cup?

How Does A Yellow Card Work In The FIFA World Cup?

A player who gets two yellow cards in different games can play the next game. But combining a set number of yellow cards means a player might be banned from the next match via game suspension.

In the semi-final round, the player doesn’t get the carry-over yellow cards. He only gets one yellow card.

If he gets another yellow card, he’s banned from the next game.

In the final, if a player has 4 yellow cards, he won’t be able to play the next game.

However, if a player has 5 yellow cards, he will have to sit out the next game. This is because the FIFA World Cup uses a system called ‘game suspension’. It works like this:

If a player gets two yellow cards in the same game, he is not allowed to play the next game (suspended)

If a player gets three yellow cards in the same match, he will be suspended from playing the next game

If a player gets four yellow cards in the same competition, he will be suspended

If a player has five yellow cards in the same tournament, he will be suspended indefinitely

How Does Getting A Yellow Card Impact Your Team?

Getting a yellow card during a match is a big deal. Players tend to play more cautiously when they know they have received a yellow card. This causes opponents to score more goals than they might otherwise.

A player who plays more cautiously on defense may give up a goal or two to the opposition.

If a player has already been cautioned, it’s important to keep calm and focus on playing well.

The most common way to avoid getting a yellow card is to stay out of trouble. Don’t argue with referees, don’t swear at them, and don’t tackle other players.

Referees are human beings too, so if you want to make sure you don’t get a yellow card, just treat them like humans.

If you do get a yellow card, try to take responsibility for what happened. Tell the referee why you got the yellow card.

It doesn’t matter whether you were right or wrong; just tell him/her why you did what you did.

Can A Manager/Coach Get A Yellow Card?

A yellow card is given to any player for committing an offense during the match.

Yellow cards are given for things such as unsporting behavior, dissent, delaying the restart of play, and other offenses.

In addition, referees are allowed to give a yellow card to a manager or coach if they believe he/she should be held responsible for the actions of his/her players.

Also, referees are allowed to issue a second yellow card to a player or coach if they think the coach committed a serious offense.

What Does A Referee Write On A Yellow Card?

Yellow cards are given to players who get red cards. Players’ names are written on them. A referee can also note down any misconduct reasons and the act committed by the player.

Match times are also written on the cards. The yellow card rule states that if a player receives two yellow cards within 90 minutes then he/she must be substituted.

This means that if a player gets a second yellow card within 90 minutes, he/she will be sent off the pitch.

What Is A Free Kick In Soccer?

A free-kick in soccer is when the ball is placed on the ground outside the penalty area. The kicker has the option of taking the shot himself or passing the ball to another teammate.

If the kicker misses the attempt, he must take the free kick again. If the kicker scores with the free-kick, then the opposing team gets an opportunity to attack the goal.

What Is A Red Card In Soccer?

A red card is given to a player when he commits an offense that merits immediate dismissal from the field of play.

It’s similar to getting a yellow card except it carries much harsher penalties. If a player gets a red card, he will be dismissed from the game immediately. 

Red cards mean that players must leave the soccer field. A referee will hold up a red card to show everyone who is viewing what decision has been made.

The referee is responsible for making sure that every player plays by the rules. A red card shows that the player has been sent off the field. He may be suspended or even expelled from the team if the incident is serious enough. 

How Does A Soccer Player Get A Red Card?

The following list shows some examples of offenses that may earn a player a red card:

  • Violent conduct towards opponents or officials – Violent conduct includes spitting at an opponent, throwing objects at opponents, kicking opponents, punching opponents, etc.
  • Deliberate handling of the ball with intent to injure an opponent – Deliberately handling the ball with intent to hurt another player is considered violent conduct. The offender could receive a red card for this type of action.
  • Using offensive gestures toward an opponent – Offensive gestures include making obscene gestures, pointing fingers, waving arms, etc.
  • Serious foul play – Serious foul play includes dangerous tackles, tripping, diving, headbutting, pushing, pulling, gouging, biting, fighting, etc.

What Happens When A Player Gets A Red Card?

A player who gets a red card must leave the soccer field right away. He/she cannot play anymore.

The team cannot bring on another substitute player. Players get sent off when they commit an offense. When they leave the pitch, the opposing team is given a free-kick.

If the incident happens inside the penalty box this means that they must take a penalty kick.

Penalty kicks are taken by players standing on the spot. A red card can also be given when a player receives two yellow cards consecutively.

This means that he or she is ejected from the game, and the other team gets an advantage by having more players.

How Many Players Can Be Sent Off In One Game?

There can be more than four players on a soccer team. However, there can never be more than four players from one team being sent off.

If five players from one team are sent off, the referee ends the game and the team loses. A team must have a minimum number of players on the field at any given time.

If there are less than seven players on the field, the game might end. Soccer rules dictate that if there are fewer than seven players on the playing surface, the game may not be played.

What Happens If A Goalkeeper Gets A Red Card?

What Happens If A Goalkeeper Gets A Red Card?

A goalkeeper in soccer is no different than any other player. When a goalkeeper gets a red card, he must leave the field immediately.

He cannot return for the rest of the game, and the soccer team cannot bring on a substitute player to take over.

However, there is something that needs to be considered if a goalkeeper is sent-off. Each team must always have a player designated as the goalkeeper on the field at all times.

A team must always choose to substitute a player if he or she gets sent off. However, there is a case where a team may decide to use an outfield player as the new goalkeeper.

This is called a ‘keeper swap’. The only time this happens is if a team has already used all of their allowed substitutions for the game.

Soccer allows teams to use substitutes to replace any outfield players who are injured or sent off.

In this case, the team had no available substitute players left, so they needed to move someone else into the goal.

How Many Games Do Players Miss After Receiving A Red Card?

Yellow cards and red cards are used as punishments for violent acts. Accumulating too many yellow cards over several games can lead to a suspension.

A red card usually leads to a suspension of one to three matches. A player who receives a red card in a league match will be banned for two matches.

However, if he plays in the Champions League, he’ll be banned for four matches. If he spits at another player, he’ll be banned indefinitely.

What Do You Need To Play Soccer?

Playing soccer requires skill, coordination, and practice. It’s important to know how to dribble and pass accurately.

You need to learn how to kick with both feet. Soccer also involves strategy. There are many different strategies that you can use to win games.

You don’t need much space to play soccer. You can even play indoors. The best thing about indoor soccer is that you can play year-round.

You can play soccer by yourself or with a group of friends. Playing soccer with friends helps you get better. You’ll work together to make goals and score points.

If you want to play soccer, you should first find out what kind of soccer league you would like to join.

Then, you will need to buy some basic soccer equipment. You can start practicing right away once you’ve bought everything you need.

If you want to play soccer in the park, you will need to check whether or not it is permitted.

Many parks do not allow people to play soccer inside the park. You will need to ask permission before you start playing.

How To Play Soccer

The main goal of soccer is to score more goals than the opposing team. This is done by passing the ball to teammates who can then either run toward the opponents’ goal or shoot the ball into the net.

To begin a soccer match, each team lines up along an imaginary line called the “touchline.”

The two teams face each other across this line. The referee blows the whistle and the game begins.

Players on offense try to move the ball downfield past defenders. Defenders try to block the offensive players from getting close to the end zone.

To pass the ball, you must dribble it. Dribbling means moving the ball forward with only your foot. Your opponent tries to tackle you if you dribble too far.

Once you have passed the ball, you can either shoot it or pass it again. Shooting the ball means kicking it with your foot.

Passing the ball again means throwing it with your hand.

Once the ball goes out of bounds, the opposing team gets possession of it. They can either throw it back into the field or keep it.

Soccer Equipment

Soccer requires many different types of equipment. Here’s a list of the most important items:

  • Ball – The ball is used to pass and kick the ball. It is made of leather or synthetic material.
  • Soccer boots – Boots help protect your feet from injury. They come in various sizes and with studs to prevent you from slipping on the grass.
  • Socks – Socks provide extra cushioning between your skin and the ball.
  • Uniforms – Soccer uniforms consist of shirts, pants, and shin guards.

General Rules Of Soccer

  1. A soccer game lasts 90 minutes.
  2. Players must wear protective gear such as elbow pads, knee pads, and shin guards. These pieces of equipment prevent injuries caused by contact with another player.
  3. No part of a player’s body except his hands, head, and shins may touch the ground while he is running.
  4. If a player kicks the ball over the crossbar, the opposing team gets one free-kick.
  5. When a player scores a goal, he receives a point. He also wins possession of the ball.
  6. After a goal has been scored, the defending team cannot score until the ball touches the ground.
  7. If the ball goes out of play before all five players have touched it, the opposing team gets the ball.
  8. If a player commits an illegal act (such as tackling or tripping), the referee awards the other team a penalty kick. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Color Cards Are There In Soccer?

Yellow and red cards are used as a means to punish players for misconduct during the match.

A yellow card is given to players who commit fouls during a match, while a red card means the player has been dismissed from the game.

Thus, yellow cards (or warnings) are used to punish mild forms of misconduct, whereas red cards equal expulsion.

What Happens When You Get A Yellow Card In Soccer?

A yellow card is given to players who commit acts of aggression or violence without intent.

There is no immediate punishment. If a player receives a second yellow card in the same match, he/she is sent off the pitch and cannot play again until the next match.

How Long Does A Yellow Card Last?

The yellow card effects don’t stop once the match has ended. However, the severity is lessened for general penalties after the match has ended. Two yellow cards in one match will get you out.

Is Soccer Popularity Growing In America?

Soccer has become increasingly popular in the United States. There is no debate over this.

But perhaps the more important question should be: how is it compared to other popular sporting events? According to a 2018 Gallup poll, Soccer ranked fourth among sports, just behind American football, basketball, and baseball.


So there you have it. You are now in the know when it comes to the great game of soccer and its penalty cards.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a dedicated spectator, a passionate soccer parent, a first-season player, or a seasoned one, the rules surrounding penalty cards are universally important. 

There’s nothing worse than being yellow-carded for a silly mistake that has the potential to cause your team the game (it happens).

For this reason, we hope very much that your new knowledge of the subject will steer you in the direction of being a well-rounded soccer player.

A player who knows how to play the game in a safe and smart manner, with zero chance of hearing the dreaded whistle and receiving a subsequent yellow card.