For spectators and fans of soccer, watching players celebrate a goal can be almost as exciting as watching them score. The celebration may be an elaborate performance or an initial passionate reaction, making for great entertainment. Unfortunately, these celebrations can go too far, leaving referees with no choice but to punish the offender.
An excessive celebration in soccer violation is called when a player takes their enthusiasm a little too far. Obviously, emotions can run wild during a game. Being excited when things are going well is not only understandable; it’s expected. This excitement only becomes a problem though when it hinders the safety or efficiency of the game.
The effect on safety and efficiency are probably the best two indicators of whether a celebration has gotten excessive. Anytime the restart of play is delayed or the security of anyone in attendance is called into question, an offense has been committed. For example, inflaming tensions by acting provocatively does nothing to help the game’s flow and could lead to skirmishes, which means delays.
Taking off clothing or having long, choreographed celebrations often do the same thing. Jumping on fences and interacting with spectators is also time-consuming, but there is also the added concern of endangering all those on the field as well as in the stands in the event of a mob. This is why an offense is typically called anytime a celebration is getting out of hand.
At the professional level, players may be cautioned or even ejected, depending on the severity of the excessive celebration. This is indicated, respectively, by either a yellow or red card. The consequences only slightly differ from the rules of lower-level play. For high school or youth soccer, the rules can vary from state to state and even further from school district to school district. However, the most likely result of excessive celebration of a goal in any league is a caution from the referee.
If a player is guilty of excessively celebrating a goal, one of two things may happen. The player will be cautioned with a yellow card and allowed to continue the game, or the player will be given a red card. In the first instance, the referee draws the yellow card and holds it above their head as a warning. In the second, the player has probably already been cautioned and is subsequently given a red card and ejected.
- A player removes their shirt or uses it to cover the head while celebrating a goal.
- Acting and gesturing provocatively or in a way that is meant to cause offense and anger is another way to be called for this violation.
- Approaching spectators or climbing the fence around the field is not only an excessive show of pride; it is also dangerous for all involved, which is why it warrants a caution.