What are the rules regarding goal kicks in football?

Several contributors made notes on the rules concerning the goal kick in association football/soccer. They are condensed here:

  • The kick can be taken from anywhere in the goal area (the small box) and is not in play until it has left the penalty area (the big box) into the field of play.
  • After the kick, no player may touch it until it has left the penalty area. If they do, the goal kick is retaken.
  • If the ball does not enter play, if it does not leave the penalty area or crosses the defender's goal line before entering play, then the goal kick is retaken. This applies even if it enters the kicking team's goal.
  • A goal kick is a direct free kick, if it goes straight into the opponent's goal then a goal is awarded.
  • If a goal kick does enter play, but somehow enters the kicking team's goal directly, no goal is awarded and the restart will be a corner kick for the opposing team.