Soccer is the most popular team sport
worldwide, especially in Europe, North America and
South America. From children’s and community
teams to select and national teams, soccer is available
to all ages and competition levels. Accommodating
to all body types, soccer is an excellent and easily-
learned team sport for youth players. Soccer is not
only a fun hobby, but has great health benefits
including improved cardio-vascular health, muscular
strength and muscular endurance.
Dating as far back as 3000 years ago, many ball-
kicking games have been played worldwide. In
China and Rome, games combining soccer and rugby
were played, using the inflated bladder of a cow or goat
as a ball.
The first Football Association was developed in 1863 in
England. Football and rugby split and formed new rules,
and only eight years later, with fifty member
clubs, the first international matches were
4. Basic Rules
Each team must have ten outfield players and one goalkeeper.
Games are ninety minutes long, separated by a fifteen minute
half, and are supervised by a referee and two assistant referees to
enforce the rules. Play is stopped when the whole of the ball
passes out of the field of play. If the ball passes over one of
the touch lines, it may be put back into play by a throw-in by a
member of the opposite team who put the ball out of play. A
point is awarded when the whole of the ball passes over the
opposite team's end line between the posts of the goal. A
free kick or penalty kick may be awarded to the opposite
team in the event of an offside, a foul or misconduct
performed by their opponents.
5. Playing Surface
A soccer field must be between 100 and 110 metres in
length, and between 64 and 75 metres in width. Each
field must also include a half-way line, a center
circle, two six yard boxes, two eighteen yard
boxes, two goals and a penalty spot. The center circle
has a 9.15 metre radius about the center spot. The
six yard boxes must be 5.5 by 18.32 metres and the
eighteen yard boxes must be 16.5 by 40.3 metres.
Each penalty spot is 11 metres from the center of
the goal line. Goals are 7.32 by 2.44 metres.
6. Players and Positions
There are four basic positions in soccer: the
goalkeeper, defence, midfielders and forwards. There are
many different team formations, one example is the 3-4-
3, which refers to three defence, four midfielders and three
forwards. The three outfield positions branch off with
more depth, for example, the sweeper, fullbacks and
stopper are forms of defence. Midfielders may be stacked
into a 1-2-1 formation, with one more offensive and one
more defensive player. The forward who plays closest to the
opponent’s goal may be called a striker.
To a degree, each player must be defensive or
offensive, depending on which team has possession of the
8. Attire and Equipment
Players from each team must wear a uniform including a
jersey, shorts, shin pads, socks and cleats. Goalkeepers
must wear gloves and a different coloured jersey. Each
goalie, the outfield teams and the referees must be
wearing a different colour to eliminate confusion.
A team should have pinnies, cones and balls for practices.
Other practice equipment may include mini-nets, and
supplies such as medical tape, pro-
wrap, scissors, bandages, and instant cold packs should
be kept in case of injuries.
To prevent the injury of yourself and others, avoid wearing screw-
in cleats, wear properly fitting shin guards, wear any necessary
braces properly, remove all piercings and metal or hard plastic
hair clips, and follow the rules.
Other health issues associated with soccer include dehydration and
heat stroke. Soccer is often played in hot summer
conditions, which can quickly dehydrate you or even cause heat
stroke, so remember to hydrate properly before, during and
after the game, and try to stay as cool as possible. It is also a
good idea to warm-up and cool-down properly to reduce the
risk of strained or pulled muscles.
Soccer is a contact sport, and injuries are bound to
happen, so be prepared to treat minor injuries such
as bruises and scrapes, to major ones like sprains and
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