Soccer is the most popular and wide-spread sport in the world. It is referred to as the beautiful game, every man’s sport, footie, football, and soccer (which was shortened by Americans from “Association Football”). Coaches and players compare it to a constantly moving chess game.
BASIC OBJECTIVE: Kick ball into opponent’s net more times than opponent kicks ball into your net.
BASIC SET UP: 2 teams of 11 players on a field that is around 120 meters long and 100 meters wide.
DURATION: two 45 minute halves. The clock doesn’t stop, but the referee adds on stoppage time at the end of each half. In some tournament games, the game will continue into overtime if the score is tied at the end of regulation and into penalty kicks if it’s tied at the end of overtime.
- No one can use their hands except for the goal keeper, who can only use their hands inside the 18 yard box surrounding their goal.
- If the ball goes out of bounds on the side line, the last team to touch the ball loses possesion and the other team throws the ball into play. If it goes out over the endline, the ball is kicked in from either a goal kick or a corner kick.
- Touching the ball with your hand or arm intentionally is a foul. Also, tackles from behind, tackles that don’t win the ball, tackles that come in cleats up, kicks executed at the same level of someone’s head. Offsides is where an attacking player who is involved in a play is behind the last defender (not including the goalie) when a ball is played behind last defender on the opponents half of the field. All of these offenses result in a free kick for the opposing team at the site of the foul.
- Yellow cards are issued in cases of stalling, late tackle, unsporting behavior, extreme language, malicious fouls, and fouling from behind. Two yellow cards issued to the same player equals a red card. A hard red can also be issued for violent conduct such as kicking, striking, head butting,spitting, foul play of a serious nature, denying a goal scoring opportunity by committing an offense on a player. If a player or coach gets a red card they are ejected from the game, and their team must play a man down.
- Professional leagues and international games have substitution restrictions, usually 3 subs.
- Barclay’s Premier League: English. Includes Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal
- La Liga: Spanish. Includes Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, At0hletic Bilbao
- Serie A: Italian. Includes Juventus, Milan, Internazional
- Bundesliga: German. Includes Bayern Munich, Hamburg
- Major League Soccer (MLS): American. Includes LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders, Kansas City Wizards, and New York Red Bulls
- WPS,WUSA, both folded women’s American soccer leagues.
- Liga MX: Mexican. Includes Santos Laguna, Cruz Azul, Toluca
- Past- Pele, Diego Maradona, Franz Beckenbauer, Zinadine Zidane, Ronaldo, Johan Cruyff, Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy
- Present- Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Hope Solo, Thierry Henry, Marta
- Jose Mourinho (mastermind strategist who switches leagues and teams frequently), Sir Alex Fergusson (famed Man U coach), Anson Dorrance (women’s soccer antagonist), Jurgen Klinsmann (US Men’s newest team coach, who wants to turn around US soccer, but is having a tough time)
- Defender: Last line of defense. Left defender, right defender, central defender, (stopper, sweeper specific terms for central defenders in diamond-shaped defense. Sweeper is deepest player and stopper plays just in front of sweeper)
- Midfielder- Critical in both attacking and defending. Lots of running. Right and Left midfielders (aka right and left wingers) are speedy and play near respective sidelines. Central midfielders support every play and are skillful play-makers on the ball. They can be further distinguished as attacking and defensive CM’s.
- Forward- Places pressure on other team’s defense. Main responsibility is to score. Right or left sometimes designated, but switch places or play near each other.
- Goal Keeper- Stands in goal. Only player to use hands. Blocks shots on goal, punts, takes goal kicks.
Line-ups are talked about in terms of the ten players on the field not including the goalie. They are listed defenders-midfielders-forwards. So if a team is putting 4 defenders on field, 4 midfielders, and 2 forwards, they say that team is playing a 4-4-2. Teams can change lineups throughout the game by making substitutions or repositioning players on field.
- 5-4-1 or 4-5-1: very defensive line-ups
- 4-4-2: standard, safe line-up
- 4-3-3: offensive minded line-up
- 3-5-2 or 3-4-3: very offensive line-ups
- hat trick= same player scores 3 goals
- nut meg/meg= passing ball between someones legs
- chip=lofted ball
- driven ball=ball kicked in straight line in air or on ground, usually with laces
- curved/bent ball= ball kicked with a side spin on it so that it travels on a curved path
- flank= sideline or wing
- Upper 90= the top corner of the goal.
- Give and go/wall pass= when a player receiving a pass hits it right back to the one who played it to him.
SMART THINGS TO SAY:
- Well timed pass- a pass placed in an opportune place for a teammate to easily run on to and receive.
- Playing more offensive/defensive- see lineups. Also, if a team is sitting back and letting the opponent’s defensive line pass with little pressure, they probably have a defensive strategy. If they are all pushing up and putting heavy pressure on the other team on its end of the field, they are really trying to win the ball back quickly and attack.
- Things you can yell at the ref for: offsides, because they frequently are wrong about it. Handballs, either not calling or calling because it’s kind of a judgement call whether it was intentional or not. Fouls called when your player gets the ball.
WHAT NOT TO SAY:
- “Unlucky.” In a game where players are in control of where and how they play, unlucky is hardly a relevant excuse for a missed shot or cross.
- “Soccer” if you’re watching with anyone outside of North America. You can call it football anywhere and they’ll know what you’re talking about. You don’t need the Spanish accent on it either (futbol).
- Calling a goal as the ball is headed in the net. It’s really annoying.
WHY WE LOVE IT
- Because all 22 players on the field are in control of their positioning, decision making, and work rate, character is easily revealed. Team and player attitudes matter.
- Though scoring comes relatively slowly, in high level games, the pace is fast, and there is always something going on, and there’s always a real opportunity for a goal.
- The goal celebrations are awesome, and the players are all fit.
- This is one of the only professional team sports where players still play with effort and passion.
- It is just like life.