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Soccer Basics

Soccer1- History & Object
2- The Essentials
3- Field Diagram and Positions
4- Glossary of Soccer Terms

The Essentials

Game Length

A standard game is 90 minutes, split into equal halves. The clock does not stop, so the referee adds bonus time at the end of each half to account for breaks in the action. Players, coaches, and fans alike never know how much time is left, as the referee is the only keeper of time. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. In most cases, when the score is tied at the end of regulation play, the game is considered a draw. If a match cannot end in a tie, the first team to score in overtime wins. If neither team scores during overtime, teams can use a penalty-kick tiebreaker to determine the winner.

Start of the game

To start each half, and following a goal, all players must be positioned on their own side of the field before play can begin with a kick-off. The action starts once the ball is kicked in the direction of the opponents’ goal.

Offense and Defense


The team in possession of the ball seeks agood shot at the goal. Teamwork is critical as players dribble and pass the ball around the opposition. Teammates run into open space, where they can receive a pass or distract defenders. The highest success rate comes from shots attempted within, or just beyond,the penalty area; this is why attackers often choose to cross the ball to a teammate to create a scoring opportunity.


Regaining possession of the ball by intercepting passes or stealing the ball from dribbling players is the essence of defense. Therefore, the defense aligns itself across width of the field to cover more of the field, cut down passing angles, and deter long passes. Defenders want to keep opponents in front of them and the ball out of the middle of the field, especially when the ball is close to goal. Consequently, when the ball nears the goal, defenders will often clear the ball either downfield or toward the sidelines to prevent scoring opportunities.



A goal, worth one point, is scored when the entire ball passes over the goal line and through the goal.



There is minimal equipment in soccer. Players wear a uniform, including shorts, a jersey or tee shirt, shoes with cleats for better traction, and shin guards to protect the front of the shin during play. Goalkeepers wear gloves and a different colored jersey with protective padding built in. The soccer ball is usually made of synthetics or leather and is slightly smaller at the youth level.


Common Referee Signals

One referee makes all decisions related to rules, and two linesmen aid the referee by making calls, mostly for balls that go out of bounds. The referee calls fouls against players to ensure fair and safe play. If a player commits a foul, the opposing team is awarded a free kick, which results in an unguarded kick from the spot of the foul. A free kick is either a direct kick or an indirect kick, depending on the type of foul. Sometimes, a referee uses his discretion and allows play to continue through a foul if the offense retains possession of the ball and is on the attack when the foul was committed. In this case, he will call, “Advantage, play on,” and swing his arms upward in front of his chest. In cases of dangerous play or unsportsmanlike conduct, a yellow or red card is given to a player, depending on the severity of the foul. A red card signals ejection from the game.

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