The Rules of Soccer
Soccer officially began in the UK in the 19th century but was played in various forms in medieval times before that. The organized version, known as Association Football, began with the formation of theFootball Association (FA) in 1863 .
Since then, the growth of the game across the world has been incredible. In 1904, FIFA, the governing body that oversees the game globally, was formed. Now, 211 associations are recognized by FIFA. There are an estimated 250 million players worldwide.
More than 26 billion people watch the World Cup, soccer's premier international tournament, making it the most popular sporting event in the world.
Soccer fields are rectangular and are marked with lines that distinguish parts of the field. The lines on the field are:
The touchlines are the two lines that run the length of the field on the longer side of the rectangle. They mark the sides of the field. The goal lines are the shorter lines that complete the rectangle at either end of the field.
The halfway line runs parallel with the goal lines at the exact midpoint of the field. At the exact middle of the halfway line is the center mark, a ball sized circle. The center circle is a larger circle with a 10-yard radius. The center point of the circle is the center mark.
Around each set of goal posts, there are two boxes drawn. They are the six-yard box and the 18-yard box. The six-yard box is the smaller of the two boxes and is 20 yards across the field and six yards deep. The goal sits in the middle of the six-yard box on the goal line with six yards either side of it.
The 18-yard box is the bigger of the two boxes. It is 44 yards wide and 18 yards deep ontothe field. There are 18 yards either side of the goal on the goal line.
Moving The Ball
In soccer, players have the freedom to move the ball in any direction. Players can only use their feet, head or chest to control and advance the ball. Players are not allowed to use their hands, except for the goalkeeper.
Players can run with the ball or pass to teammates to quickly move the ball around the field. Defenders can attempt to take the ball from the opposition by tackling players with possession of the ball or by intercepting passes.
Game Format and Duration
Soccer matches last 90 minutes and are split into two 45 minute halves. The half time break lasts about 15 minutes. The referee can add time onto the end of each half at their discretion. This time is added for stoppages like injuries and can be referred to as stoppage time or injury time.
If a match ends in a tie, one of two things happen. If the match is during league play and ties are an acceptable way for the game to end, the match ends in a tie. If the match is in a knockout tournament and a winner must be decided, then the referee will play two periods of extra time. They are 15 minutes each with a five-minute break in between. If the match is still tied at the end of both periods of extra time, there is a penalty shootout to decide the winner.
In a penalty shootout, each team is given five penalty kicks to score as many as they can. Once each team has taken five penalty kicks, the winner of the match is the team that scored the most. If the same number of penalties are scored by the teams after the five, each team will get one penalty each until one team misses and the other scores.
Soccer Teams and Players
Each team has one goalkeeper. Goalkeepers are the only players that will not receive handball penalties, because they're allowed to touch the ball with their hands. They are only allowed to handle the ball within the boundaries of their own 18-yard box. The goalkeeper's main responsibility is to be the last line of defense for their goal. They stop shots, tackle defenders and distribute the ball after an opposition attack.
Midfielders do a little bit of everything. They are usually positioned near the middle of the field. They are responsible for some defense and some attacking. Depending on the type of midfielder they are, they will usually do more of one than the other.
Attackers play near the opposition goal. Their role is to create chances for their team to score and to score goals. They very rarely have to defend as far back as defenders and midfielders but can apply defensive pressure when asked to.
Apart from the goalkeeper, there is no restriction on how many of each other type of player a team can have. The choice a manager makes about how many defenders, midfielders and attackers a team has on the field determines the style of play and the formation.
Teams can also have substitutes. The number of substitutes a team has depends on which competition the match is being played in. Usually, a team will have five or seven substitutes to choose from.
There is various equipment needed for soccer. It includes:
A soccer strip/jersey denotes which team each player plays for. Strips will be in team colors and each team usually has two or three designs so that they can choose one that won't clash with the opposition team. Goalkeepers will also wear different, usually bright colors, so they can be identified easily by other players.
Shorts allow players to move quickly and change directions without resistance. Players will also wear long socks to cover their shin guards. Shin guards are protective pieces of hard plastic that are worn around players' ankles and shins to protect them from hard tackles.
Goalkeepers are allowed to wear gloves. This is to offer protection against balls struck hard at them. The gloves also provide grip.
And of course, to play, a soccer ball is needed. Just one is fine, though at higher levels multiple balls may be used to keep the game moving along.
Fouls and Penalties
Fouls can be given anywhere on a soccer field. If a foul is committed anywhere on the field except in the 18-yard box of the defending team, a free kick is given at the spot of the foul. If the foul is committed in the defending team's 18-yard box, a penalty is awarded.
Fouls are given mostly for defending players tackling an attacking player unfairly. This can be if they trip, kick or push an attacking player without a clear, successful attempt to play the ball. Fouls are also given for handballs.
Scoring and Winning
As above, to win the game, teams must score more goals than their opponent.
Soccer Rules Summary
- A soccer match is 90 minutes long, split into two 45 minute halves.
- If a match ends in a tie, it can go to two 15-minute extra time periods or a penalty shootout if it is still a tie after extra time.
- To win a soccer game, a team needs to score more goals than the other team.
- To score a goal, a team must put the ball in the opposition goal.
- There are 11 players on each team in soccer.
- Each team must have one designated goalkeeper.
- The goalkeeper is the only player on the field who can handle the ball. They can only handle the ball inside their own 18-yard box.
- Players can only advance the ball with their feet, chest or head.
- If a player is charged with a foul, the opposing team is given a free kick if the foul took place on most of the field. They are given a penalty if the foul happened in the attacking 18-yard box.
- The referee can give players yellow and red cards for excessive or dangerous fouling.