Learn: How To Play Soccer

How to Play Soccer

As is the case with many team sports, soccer is a game played with the purpose of scoring on the opposing team’s goal. The team with the most

goals at the end of the game wins. What makes soccer different is the fact that it is played on 50-100 yards wide by 100-130 yards long rectangular shaped field with a set of goal posts on the short ends of the rectangle and a regulation size 5 ball.

This basic set up combined with two teams that can field 11 players and a referee is all that is needed for a soccer game.

The first thing that is important to a soccer game is the dress of the players. Each team is required to wear matching jerseys except the goalies that have to wear

shirts that are distinguishingly different from the other players and the referee. Players are also required to wear shorts, shinguards, stockings to cover the shinguards, and footwear. For outside matches, the footwear is cleats. For indoor matches, turf shoes are typically required.

Headgear is not allowed unless it is required under some type of religious law and is approved by a referee. When it comes to jewelry, it is really the referee’s discretion. If not removable, the piece does usually end up being taped. The key rule for the dress of soccer players is that no player is allowed to wear anything that is considered dangerous to themselves or any other players.

The formation of the players on the field is up to the coaches. Each team is required to have ten players on the field plus one goalie. In some competitions, having seven players can be considered enough to field a team. Each player on the team has a position to play and a job to do. These positions are:

Goalie – The goalie’s job is to stop the opposing team from getting the ball in the net. They are the only players on the field that are allowed to use their hands or arms during ball play. They can only do this in the marked area in front of them which is known as the penalty area.

Sweeper – A sweeper is the last line of defense before the goalie. They can go as far up the field as they want to but do tend to stay close behind the defense. Not all coaches choose to use the sweeper position while fielding a team.

Stopper – This position is the center of the defense and controls the defensive line. It is the stopper’s job to stay in the backfield counter opposing attacks.

Defense (Fullback) – Fullbacks are the players that play alongside the stopper. They also tend to stay in the backfield and must do all that they can to eliminate the opposing teams chance to shoot.

Midfielder – Midfielders are positioned between the offense and the defense and play both roles during the game. You can find them back supporting the defense or up at the top aiding the forwards. Midfielders are the ones who put the most pressure on the ball.

Striker – A striker’s main job is to score. They are the center forwards and usually stay in the center area. Strikers must pressure the defense and stay in front of the opposing team’s goal as much as possible.

Forward – Forwards are also scorers on the team and are positioned on the outside of the striker. These players must support the midfield and communicate with each other in order to make the best moves for the game.

Players play for two halves that last for 45 minutes each. The clock does not stop when a ball goes out of play, but may be stopped during injury time.

When a ball does go out of play, it can be brought back in a number of ways:

Throw in – This is done when ball crosses over the sideline. Player of opposing team to that which last touched the ball throws ball must throw ball with two hands directly over the head without letting their feet get off the ground.

Goal Kick – Defending team gets ball after attacking team has pushed ball over goal line without scoring.

Corner Kick- Kicks are done by attacking team on marked off corners of the field after defending team pushes ball over goal line.

Fouls result in free kicks for the opposing team. The level of the foul will determine which type of kick there is. There are:

Penalty Kicks – Kicks take place in the penalty box with only one player facing off against the goalie.

Indirect Kick – Free kick given to fouled team, but the ball must touch another player before going into the net.

Direct Kick – Free kick given to fouled team that can be directly put into the back of a net.

When a player commits a foul, they have the possibility of receiving a yellow card, which is a caution for misconduct. Just remember that two of them in one game are equal to a red card. A player that receives a red card must exit the game immediately. Since you undoubtedly want to stay in the game, stay away from cards and have fun!

Further Reading and Additional Resources

AWESOME: Video Series about ‘How to play soccer’, very comprehensive, very well done

Soccer Positions Basics and Kickoffs

How to teach ‘aggressive play’ soccer