Could You Actually DRIBBLE A Penalty Kick? (Explained)

Have you ever thought if penalty takers are allowed to choose not to shoot the ball and start dribbling it instead? 

Let’s do a quick dive into what the Laws of the Game mention, and how it was actually possible in the past!

Can you dribble a penalty kick?

Based on what was mentioned in Law 14 of the Laws of the Game, it is not possible for a player to dribble the ball from the penalty spot during a penalty kick.

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While this is not mentioned directly, there are multiple rules that imply that the penalty taker cannot dribble the ball. 

Rule #1

The first one states that: 

The player taking the penalty kick must kick the ball forward; backheeling is permitted provided the ball moves forward.  

This rule is really clear and states that the penalty taker must ‘kick’ the ball forward. You might say that it can be a weaker kick that will allow him to dribble afterwards. 

Rule #2

However, the next rule doesn’t agree with that. It states that:

The kicker must not play the ball again until it has touched another player. 

This rule undoubtedly disallows the penalty taker to start dribbling, as a dribble will usually mean that the player has to take a few touches with the ball.

I’ve been unable to find such an example where a player has dribbled the ball from the spot!

Based on the interpretation of these rules, it is actually possible for the penalty taker to pass the ball to another teammate. You can find out more about how it’s done here.

The 1990s MLS Penalty-Taking Rule

As a football fan, you’ve surely watched many important matches like the ones in the Champions League finish in a draw. The winner of these matches was then decided by a penalty shootout.

The same rule applied in the best American football league, the Major League Soccer (MLS).  

A match ending in a draw isn’t something the sports fans in the USA are used to. To make things more interesting, the MLS implemented a change of rules. These rules changed the way the deciding penalties at the end of the match are taken

This way, the ball was put at a distance of 32 meters from the goal. The player had 5 seconds to dribble, shoot or do whatever he wanted with the ball. 

The keeper was also able to choose whether he was going to wait or try and win the ball. However, fouling the player resulted in a normal 11-meter penalty.

The MLS penalties of the ‘90s looked something like this:

However, this has already been discontinued, and penalties in the MLS follow similar rules to those in other football competitions.


While it is possible to pass or ‘fake’ a penalty shot, the Laws of the Game prevent you from actually dribbling the ball from the spot!

You can find out whether it’s possible to score from a penalty rebound off the post here.

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