Soccer. Picture Soccer in Argentina

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1 Soccer is the world's most popular sport. It is the national sport of most European and Latin American countries, and of many other nations. Millions of people in more than 200 countries play soccer. Soccer's most famous international competition, the World Cup, is held every four years for both men and women. Soccer in Argentina In a soccer game, two teams of 11 players try to kick or head a ball into each other's goal. The team that scores the most goals wins. Players must kick the ball or hit it with their head or body. Only the goalkeepers can touch the ball with their hands. Soccer as it is played today developed in the United Kingdom during the 1800's and quickly spread to many other countries. Until the mid-1900's, the game was not greatly popular in the United States. But today, it is one of the nation's fastest-growing sports. In the United Kingdom and many other countries, soccer is called football or association football. The word soccer comes from assoc., an abbreviation for association. The field and equipment The field is rectangular and may vary in size. In international competition, it measures from 100 to 130 yards (91 to 119 meters) long and from 50 to 100 yards (46 to 91 meters) wide. The boundary lines on the sides of the field are called touch lines. Those on each end are called goal lines. The goals stand in the center of the goal line. Each goal measures 24 feet (7.3 meters) wide and 8 feet (2.4 meters) high. The penalty area is a rectangle in front of each goal. It is 132 feet (40.2 meters) wide and extends 54 feet (16.5 meters) in front of the goal. Defending players are penalized if they break certain rules while in their own penalty area. The goal area is a smaller rectangle that measures 60 feet (18 meters) wide and extends 18 feet (5.5 meters) in front of the goal. Attacking players cannot come into contact with the goalkeeper in this area unless the goalkeeper is holding the ball and has both feet on the ground. For the names and sizes of other sections of a soccer field, and the names of other lines, see the field diagram with this article. The ball is made of leather or other approved material and is inflated with air. A soccer ball used for adult games measures from 27 to 28 inches (69 to 71 centimeters) in circumference and weighs from 14 to 16 ounces (396 to 453 grams). Children generally use a ball with a circumference of about 25 inches (64 centimeters). The uniform consists of a shirt, shorts, calf-length socks, and shoes with cleats. Some soccer players wear shin guards. The goalkeeper's shirt differs in color from those worn by the other players of both sides and by the referee. Page 1 of 8

2 Players and officials The players of a soccer team except for the goalkeeper, who normally remains within the penalty area use certain formations for offensive or defensive strategy. The score of the game often determines a team's strategy. For example, a team that is ahead may use a formation based on defense. A team that is behind may choose one that emphasizes offense. Some formations are designed to take advantage of the weaknesses of the opposing team. Other formations center around the special abilities of a star player. One popular formation is the The first line of this formation has four defenders, the second line consists of four midfielders, and the third line has two forwards. A number of other formations are also used in soccer. For example, the is popular with many teams throughout the world. This formation uses three defenders, five midfielders, and two forwards. International soccer rules allow a team to substitute only two players during a game, regardless of how many players are injured. Under international rules, a player who has been substituted for may not return to the game. College and high school teams in the United States and Canada allow an unlimited number of substitutions, with players allowed to return to the game after they have been substituted for. The forwards have the primary responsibility for scoring goals. They are sometimes called strikers. They must be exceptionally skillful with the ball, be able to pass accurately, dribble (nudge the ball ahead with the feet while running down the field), and shoot accurately. A good forward can fake an opponent out of position in order to score a goal with the head or foot. Forwards may also put pressure on the opposing team's players when possession of the ball is lost. The midfielders, also called halfbacks or linkmen, unite the offense and the defense. These players have a role in every play and require exceptional physical endurance. Midfielders sometimes score goals, but they must always be in position to help the defense. The defenders, sometimes called fullbacks, form the last line of defense in front of the goalkeeper. A defender tries to take the ball away from the other team and pass it to a midfielder to start an attack. If the goalkeeper is out of position, one defender may stand directly in front of the goal to protect it against shots. A defender called a sweeper tries to intercept passes by roaming from side to side behind or in front of other defenders. The goalkeeper has perhaps the most difficult job. A goalkeeper must move quickly to all parts of the penalty area to stop shots or take the ball from an opponent. After stopping a shot, a good goalkeeper controls the ball and starts an attack by kicking or throwing the ball to a teammate. The goalkeeper is the only player who may touch the ball with the hands or arms. The officials. A referee and two referee's assistants officiate most games throughout the world. In high school and college games in the United States, two referees or a referee and two assistants may be used. The referee serves as the timekeeper and enforces the rules. This official decides all disputes and may put a player out of the game for repeated fouling. The assistants help decide which team gets possession of the ball after it goes out of bounds. The assistants also signal the referee when they see a player commit a foul. They cannot, however, make decisions. The assistants only assist the referee, who has the sole responsibility for calling fouls and breaches of conduct. How soccer is played Page 2 of 8

3 Soccer games played according to international rules are divided into two 45-minute halves, with a brief rest period between halves. College games in the United States also consist of two 45-minute periods. Leagues of younger teams adjust the length of games according to the physical abilities of the players. In some leagues, the teams play an overtime period if the score is tied at the end of regulation time. If the teams are still tied after the overtime, each may shoot a series of five penalty kicks at the goal. The team that scores the most goals out of five, or gains an unbeatable advantage after each team has taken the same number of kicks, is declared the winner. Starting the game. A soccer game begins with a kickoff in the center of the field. The opposing captains flip a coin to decide which team will kick off. The other team kicks off to start the second half, when the teams change goals. After a goal, play resumes with a kickoff by the team scored upon. The kickoff takes place in the center of the field on the halfway line. The players line up in their half of the field. No player on the defensive team can enter the center circle until play has started. To start play, the kicking team must move the ball forward at least the distance of its circumference. The player who kicks off may not touch the ball again until another player has touched it. No player on the defensive team may enter the center circle until the ball has rolled at least the distance of its circumference. The ball in play. After the kickoff, the ball remains in play unless it completely crosses a goal line or a touch line. There are no time outs in soccer unless the referee calls one after a player has been injured or for some other reason that the referee feels requires stopping the clock. The attacking team tries to advance the ball into the opposing team's territory. The attackers then try to pass the ball to a player who is in a good position to score a goal. A player may kick or hit the ball into the goal with any part of the body except the hands and arms. The defending players constantly shift their positions to break up attacks. They try to cover their opponents, intercept passes, and take the ball away. Hard body contact is permitted only when it results from an attempt to kick the ball or hit it with the head. Restarts. If the ball goes out of bounds, play is restarted with a corner kick, a goal kick, or a throw-in. The referee, assisted by the referee's assistants, decides which type of restart is used. If the ball crosses the goal line without going into the goal, play resumes with either a corner kick or a goal kick. A corner kick, which is made by an offensive player, takes place if a member of the defensive team touched the ball last. The offensive player kicks the ball from the nearest corner of the field. A goal kick occurs if an offensive player touched the ball last. A defensive player restarts play with a kick from inside the goal area in the half of the goal area nearest the point where the ball went out. A goal kick must clear the penalty area before it can be touched again. A throw-in takes place if a player knocks the ball over a touch line. An opposing player throws the ball back into play. The thrower must have both feet on the ground, either on or behind the touch line. The throw must be made with both hands from above and behind the head. Fouls. A player who repeatedly commits fouls may be sent off the field for the rest of the game. No substitute is allowed for such a player, and a team must then play one person Page 3 of 8

4 short for the remainder of the game. After most fouls, the referee awards a free kick to the other team. This kick may be a penalty kick, a direct free kick, or an indirect free kick. A penalty kick is awarded if the defending team commits one of nine fouls within its penalty area. These fouls are (1) deliberately kicking or attempting to kick an opponent, (2) tripping an opponent, (3) jumping at an opponent, (4) violently charging into an opponent, (5) charging into an opponent from behind, (6) striking an opponent, (7) holding an opponent, (8) pushing an opponent, or (9) deliberately touching the ball with the hands or arms. The opposing team takes the kick from the penalty spot, which is 12 yards (11 meters) directly in front of the goal. All the players, except the kicker and the opposing goalkeeper, must be outside the penalty area and 10 yards (9 meters) from the ball when the kick is taken. A direct free kick may be awarded for one of the nine fouls committed anywhere on the field except the penalty area. This kick is taken toward the offending team's goal from the point where the foul occurred. Opponents must be at least 10 yards (9 meters) from the ball when it is kicked, but they can try to block it. An indirect free kick is awarded for dangerous play, such as (1) kicking the ball when the goalkeeper is holding it, (2) obstructing (blocking) an opponent, (3) charging an opponent in an otherwise legal manner when the ball is not within playing distance, or (4) unsportsmanlike conduct. The kicker kicks the ball toward the offending team's goal, but it must touch at least one other player before entering the goal. All opponents must be at least 10 yards (9 meters) from the ball, but they can attempt to block it. The referee also awards an indirect free kick if a player is offside. Generally, an attacking player is offside when between the ball and the goal line in the opponent's half of the field. However, the player is not offside if (1) two opponents were closer to their goal line than the player was, (2) the player is in the player's own half of the field, or (3) the player received the ball from a corner kick, a goal kick, a throw-in, or a drop ball. The Soccer terms table with this article defines a drop ball. Soccer skills Soccer requires a variety of skills. They include (1) kicking, (2) passing, (3) heading, (4) dribbling and faking, and (5) tackling. Kicking is the most important skill in soccer. It involves shooting at the goal, putting the ball in play, or putting the ball into a particular area of the field. A good player can kick the ball accurately in many ways with either foot. In most cases, kicking the ball with the instep is the most effective method. A player can control the accuracy, distance, and power of a kick better with the instep than in any other way. In certain situations, however, a player might use the outer or inner side of the foot or even the heel. Soccer players generally try to kick the ball so that it travels just above the field. Players put their nonkicking foot next to the ball. They keep their head down and their eyes on the ball. Then they swing their kicking leg with the toes pointed downward and kick the ball squarely with the instep. After the foot strikes the ball, the leg should straighten and follow through. This action makes the ball travel in the right direction. A player usually stops the ball before kicking it. Kicking a moving ball lessens the player's control over the direction of the kick. Passing the ball among teammates enables a team to move into scoring position and keep Page 4 of 8

5 possession. A player tries to pass the ball so that it travels just above or on the ground. Occasionally, the ball may have to be kicked over the head of a defending player. Short passes generally are more effective than long ones, which involve a larger margin for error. Heading means hitting the ball with the head. It sometimes is the only legal way a player can reach the ball in the air. A player may use the head to pass the ball, intercept an opponent's pass, or shoot at the goal. Good players can head the ball long distances with great power and accuracy. When heading, a player jumps up, snaps the head forward, and hits the ball with the forehead. A ball that hits the top or back of the head, may stun the player. Dribbling enables players to keep possession of the ball while running. While dribbling, a player can pass or shoot the ball if an opponent threatens to take it away. Faking makes dribbling more effective. A player may fool an opponent by faking a pass or a shot and then dribbling. The player may also fake a dribble in one direction and then dribble in another. Tackling involves using the feet to kick or hook the ball away from an opponent. An ideal tackle involves little or no body contact and leaves the defending player or a teammate in control of the ball. In a sliding tackle, a player slides along the ground with one leg extended and takes the ball from an opponent. Soccer competition Soccer is played on several levels throughout the world. Professional teams provide the most popular competition in many countries. Semiprofessional teams compete for pay, but play only on a part-time basis. Amateur athletes play in interclub soccer competition and are not paid. Many colleges and high schools include soccer as part of their athletic program. The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) governs soccer in all parts of the world. It consists of the national soccer associations of more than 150 countries. These associations include the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and the Canadian Soccer Association. Most soccer games, including those in the United States and Canada, are played according to international rules established by the FIFA. In North America. As in other parts of the world, competition in the United States is divided into divisions, based on the skill level of the teams. The highest level is the Division I Major League Soccer (MLS). The MLS features a number of well-known American and international players. The United Soccer Leagues (USL) has more than 100 affiliated clubs. It includes the Division II A-League, the Division III D3 Pro League semiprofessional league, and the Premier Development League (PDL), an amateur Division IV league. As in Europe, teams that meet certain standards can advance into a higher division from season to season. The USL also has youth and women's semiprofessional leagues. The national governing body for soccer in the United States is U.S. Soccer. It has its headquarters in Chicago. Besides staging national and international tournaments, the federation organizes and manages seven national teams that represent the United States in competitions throughout the world, including the Summer Olympic Games and the World Cup. The United States Youth Soccer Association, a branch of U.S. Soccer, conducts national, state, and regional championships for boys and girls up to the age of 19. The American Youth Soccer Organization, an independent group, holds regional championships and sponsors teams that compete with teams from other countries. Page 5 of 8

6 The Canadian Soccer Association holds national and international tournaments. It also conducts national, provincial, and regional championships and sponsors teams that represent Canada in international competition. In Europe and Latin America. Most countries in Europe and Latin America have professional or semiprofessional soccer leagues. These leagues consist of a number of divisions for teams of varying ability. At the end of the season, two or three teams from each division may move into a stronger or weaker division, depending on their record. The winner of the top division is the country's national champion. Soccer in Latin America International competition includes the FIFA World Cup, held every four years. For a list of World Cup winners, see the table: World Cup (table: FIFA World Cup championship games). The national all-star teams of 32 nations compete in the men's tournament and those of 16 nations compete in the women's tournament. All member nations of FIFA may compete in qualifying rounds held two years before the championship. These rounds determine which teams will join the host nation and the previous champion in the final tournament. European club teams compete annually in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League. This tournament begins with almost 100 teams and determines the European club champion. The UEFA Cup is a tournament for clubs who did not qualify for, or were eliminated from, the Champions League. South American teams compete in a tournament called the Copa Liberadores. North and Central American domestic champions compete for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Champions Cup. The Winners of the two tournaments meet for the Interamerican Cup. National teams from throughout the world compete in events similar to the FIFA World Cup. The European Championships are held every four years. Every two years, competition is held for the Copa Cup in South America, the Gold Cup in North and Central America, and the African Nations Cup in Africa. Soccer in Africa History Page 6 of 8

7 A game similar to soccer was probably played in China as early as 400 B.C. In the A.D. 200's, the Romans played a game in which two teams tried to score by advancing the ball across a line on the field. The players passed the ball to one another but did not kick it. London children of the 1100's played a form of soccer. In the early 1800's, many English schools played a game that resembled soccer. Players added many rules that changed the game, but each school interpreted the rules differently. In 1848, a group of school representatives met at Trinity College in Cambridge and drew up the first set of soccer rules. In 1863, representatives of English soccer clubs founded the Football Association. Soccer began to spread throughout the world in the late 1800's. By 1900, associations had been established in Belgium, Chile, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. In 1904, the national associations founded the Federation Internationale de Football Association. The Canadian Soccer Association was established in 1912, and the United States Soccer Federation was set up in In 1930, the first World Cup was played in Montevideo, Uruguay. Since then, the World Cup has been held every four years except during World War II ( ), when the games were suspended. Early soccer match In the United States, major league professional soccer has attracted little continuous interest from fans. Neither indoor nor outdoor competition proved successful, even with the occasional addition of stars from Europe and Latin America. The American Soccer League was the longest-running professional league in U.S. soccer history, operating from 1921 to The North American Soccer League existed from 1966 to Some of the world's greatest players competed in the league, though they were past their prime. Among them was Pelé, a Brazilian player generally acclaimed as the greatest player in the history of the sport. Pelé While professional soccer struggled for acceptance, amateur soccer grew in popularity during the late 1900's. Today, amateur soccer is one of the fastest growing team sports in U.S. high schools. Soccer competition at the college level has also gained in popularity. In 1991, the United States won the first FIFA-sponsored women's World Cup championship. The United States won the title again in In 1994, the United States was the host for the Page 7 of 8

8 World Cup tournament, the first time the World Cup was played in the United States. The U.S. team advanced to the second round before being eliminated, the highest finish by an American team since the United States placed fourth in How to cite this article: To cite this article, World Book recommends the following format: "Soccer." World Book Student.World Book, Web. 10 Nov Page 8 of 8

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