Hey, we all have to start somewhere. If you’re new to the game and just want the fundamentals of how it’s played, you’re looking for answers to what your kid is up to or what you’re watching on TV, we’ve got you covered.
The Basics of Soccer
Because soccer is a worldwide game, it has its own lexicon that may be foreign to American spectators or players. Why do the English refer to kits as “kits” and cleats as “boots”? What exactly is a 4-4-2 formation, and how does it operate? Why are relegation fears so prevalent? We’ll go through all of those words as simply as possible to provide you with a basic understanding of soccer. Here’s the easiest one. Because there is already so much confusion about the game, it’s being called “soccer” instead of “football.” The term comes from the same sport; they’re all names for ways to play it. Even before the 1970s, ‘football’ was used by the national governing body of soccer in this country while ‘soccer’ was the usual word in England.
It’s important to understand the basics of how the game is played in order to get a better idea of what’s going on. A few facts might be beneficial. First and foremost, unlike other sports where the rules change every year, soccer is rather conservative. The laws of the game are known as The Laws, and they can only be modified at a meeting of representatives from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. As a result, modifications are uncommon, and the rules are simple to follow. You may obtain a copy of FIFA’s Laws Of The Game by visiting their website. What exactly is FIFA? It’s the international governing body for football that runs the World Cup. What is the World Cup? That’s the biggest soccer event, with 32 National Teams competing. We’ll get to it in a minute. For now, let’s discuss the field.
The Soccer Field
The field dimensions are not set in stone, much as baseball isn’t. Soccer, instead of following strict measures, utilizes minimums and maximums to fit the fields within those limits. The length must be between 100 and 130 yards long, with a width of between 50 and 100 yards. That’s a substantial difference; therefore, international games have stricter regulations. Games in the top tier require fields that are between 110 and 120 yards long with a width ranging from 70 to 80 yards. Regardless of the length, the objective (8 feet high by 8 yards wide), the six-yard box immediately in front of the goal, and the 18-yard box immediately behind it all have to be precise.
Fortunately, most American NFL stadiums and college football stadiums can accommodate a regulation soccer field that meets international standards. Some can’t, however modern NFL stadiums are usually built with soccer in mind. Why? Hosting soccer matches at NFL venues is quite profitable. In addition, the field is referred to as the “pitch” in soccer jargon.
At the highest level, the game lasts 90 minutes with a possible 30-minute extension for overtime. There are two 45-minute halves and both come to an end after stoppage time. What is stoppage time? The clock does not stop in soccer, therefore the referee adds time at the end of each half to make up for interruptions in play. The amount of additional time added is indicated by the referee, but it isn’t always accurate. This means a 90-minute match on average will last 94 minutes or more depending on the referee’s discretion. Players may continue playing until the whistle is blown by the referee in soccer.
The referee is in charge of the whistles and cards. Cards? You got it. In soccer, a yellow or red card is used to deliver punishment. A yellow card signals that a player has broken the rules. If the situation is serious, the referee can display a red card to put an end to it immediately. That means the player must leave the game permanently, with his team unable to substitute anyone. It’s known as “playing down a man” and implies that the team uses ten players instead of eleven.’ A single yellow card against one player results in a red and a dismissal. A team must have at least seven players on the field at any given time. If a foul is committed in the 18-yard-box, the referee can issue a penalty. This means that the team that was fouled gets to take a free-kick from the penalty position 12 yards from the goal line’s midpoint.
Soccer balls come in a variety of sizes, with a new smaller version (size 3) available for young players. A size 3 ball may be used by a young player until they reach the maximum adult size 5 ball, at which point they would use the approved adult size 5 ball. Balls were formerly made of leather without being waterproof and had laces. Consider trying to kick a leather-covered soccer ball on a rainy field. The contemporary soccer ball is frequently constructed of plastic and is surprisingly light.