How Soccer Has Changed: Game-Changers

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The sport of soccer dates back over 2,000 years. FIFA’s “History of Football” chronicles documents that an early form of the game was played in China in the second and third centuries BC.

Further evidence of similar games has been found throughout history all across the world. However, it wasn’t until 1848 that the official “Cambridge Rules” were established.

It was from that moment that the game began to develop into the soccer of today. As interesting as it may be to learn about the sport’s origins, how soccer has changed in its contemporary form is and continues to be, a far more fascinating story.

How has soccer changed?

Soccer has changed in countless ways over the years; from how the game is played on the field, to how it’s handled off the field, to how fans have become intertwined with their teams and it’s players. There are three key factors that are at the core of all major developments within the game:

  1. Technology
  2. Media
  3. Social Media
  4. Tactical Development
  5. Style of Play

A once simple game, soccer has transcended into a global phenomenon that involves much more than 11 v 11 on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Why has this come to be? How has soccer changed since it’s inception all those years ago? Let’s take a look.

A timeline of the history of soccer | Image courtesy of liveaboutdotcom.

How have soccer rules changed over time?

Soccer rules have changed significantly over time. Here are some of the changes you might not have heard about:

  • Goal kicks were introduced in 1869.
  • Crossbars were only added to goalposts in 1875!
  • Penalty kicks were first introduced in 1891.
  • The modern offside rule was implemented in 1990.
  • The pass back rule, that goalies are not permitted to touch the ball with their hands following a deliberate pass to them, was introduced in 1992.
  • Goal-line technology was introduced in 2013.
  • VAR was debuted in 2017.

As with all industries, soccer has experienced much change due to technology: both in-game and externally.

TV

watching soccer on TV

When soccer was first being played, there were no TVs. The first-ever televised soccer game was broadcast by the BBC on September 16th, 1937. Over 80 years later, it’s the most viewed sport on the planet. Over 3.5 billion people watched the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

That’s almost half the population of Earth! Sports broadcasters are now airing more matches than ever before. For the 2019 – 2022 cycle, the Premier League sold its broadcasting rights for a record $11.7 billion.

The broadcasting structure for Major League Soccer differs from the European game. The programming focus is more localized and varies from franchise-to-franchise.

MLS Broadcasting

However, the MLS is reported to be gathering all local and national media resources to make a push for a large broadcasting deal in 2022. The goal is to maximize exposure to the league as a whole, drawing in eyes from every corner of the US market.

As MLS vice-president of Media, Seth Bacon told Sports Business Journal:We are constantly thinking about our media rights strategy, and media rights and content are the most significant assets that we and any other league have”. The TV is opening up more and more people to the game every day.

Social Media

social media

Social Media has fundamentally changed the relationship between fans and players. It provides a direct communication link unlike any technology in history. A shift in social trends toward mobile devices has forced teams, broadcasters, and players to turn their focus to social media and all things mobile.

Social media has become the first point of communication and the most important and influential marketing tool available to soccer franchises.

Not only does social media allow soccer organizations to share content with their followers, but it also encourages engagement with fans and helps build valuable relationships. Each platform serves a different purpose and has changed the sport in a different manner. 

Instagram

Instagram has become a modern player’s voice. It’s the most personable social media platform available and gives followers access to their on-field heroes. Fans see Instagram, more than any other social platform as the ideal way to interact with players and teams.

Nielsen Sports reported that Manchester United achieved almost 27,000 interactions (comments, likes, shares, etc.) per 1,000 Instagram fans, compared to 4,229 interactions per 1,000 Facebook fans.

It is no surprise that Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform out there for soccer brands and organizations. 3 out of the top 10 most-followed Instagram accounts are soccer players, with one of those players being the most followed Instagram account. Can you guess who they are?

10. Neymar

Neymar Instagram

9. Messi

Messi Instagram

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo Instagram

An individual player’s sponsorship deals are heavily reliant on their social media presence. A player’s value to a sponsor has got as much to do with their off-field game than their on-field one. In the modern era, it is very rare to come across a soccer player with no social media, particularly Instagram.

Players are expected to plug their sponsors and reflect on every single game with regularity. Instagram and soccer players now go hand-in-hand. This gives players a lot of power over their clubs.

A player’s image rights and social media presence have a strong influence on big-money transfers. There has been a clear shift in the balance of power between franchises and players.

Pro Soccer Cleats

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Nike Mercurial Superfly 7 Club MG FG Soccer...
PUMA - Mens Future Shoes, Size: 7 D(M) US,...
adidas PREDATOR 20.3 LL FG Sneaker...
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Second-Skin : Fit Soft synthetic material and a Dynamic Fit collar work together to wrap your foot and provide a second-skin feel on the field.
NETFIT, featuring our advanced NETFIT technology to ensure the perfect fit and support for any foot shape and superior lock-down
Shaft measures approximately low-top from arch
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Textured for Touch : A micro texture from heel to toe gives you the touch you need for creativity at high speeds.
evoKNIT PRO upper and RAPIDAGILITY outsole for sharp bursts of speed
The adidas brand has a long history and deep-rooted Connection with sport. Everything we do is rooted in sport
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Versatile Traction : A versatile multi-ground plate provides traction on natural- and artificial-grass surfaces.
ADAPT: evoKNIT PRO upper featuring NETFIT for customizable lacing and freedom of movement
Driven by a relentless pursuit of innovation as well as decades of accumulating sports science expertise
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Sockliner for lightweight cushioning / Higher plate overlap on the toe for durability
STRIKE: 3D Havoc Frame for game-changing precision and powe
On the forefoot, raised elements add extra swerve
Rating
Product
Nike Mercurial Superfly 7 Club MG FG Soccer...
Nike Mercurial Superfly 7 Club MG FG Soccer...
Features
Second-Skin : Fit Soft synthetic material and a Dynamic Fit collar work together to wrap your foot and provide a second-skin feel on the field.
Features
Textured for Touch : A micro texture from heel to toe gives you the touch you need for creativity at high speeds.
Features
Versatile Traction : A versatile multi-ground plate provides traction on natural- and artificial-grass surfaces.
Features
Sockliner for lightweight cushioning / Higher plate overlap on the toe for durability
Rating
Amazon
Product
PUMA - Mens Future Shoes, Size: 7 D(M) US,...
PUMA - Mens Future Shoes, Size: 7 D(M) US,...
Features
NETFIT, featuring our advanced NETFIT technology to ensure the perfect fit and support for any foot shape and superior lock-down
Features
evoKNIT PRO upper and RAPIDAGILITY outsole for sharp bursts of speed
Features
ADAPT: evoKNIT PRO upper featuring NETFIT for customizable lacing and freedom of movement
Features
STRIKE: 3D Havoc Frame for game-changing precision and powe
Rating
Amazon
Product
adidas PREDATOR 20.3 LL FG Sneaker...
adidas PREDATOR 20.3 LL FG Sneaker...
Features
Shaft measures approximately low-top from arch
Features
The adidas brand has a long history and deep-rooted Connection with sport. Everything we do is rooted in sport
Features
Driven by a relentless pursuit of innovation as well as decades of accumulating sports science expertise
Features
On the forefoot, raised elements add extra swerve
Rating
Amazon

Twitter

If Instagram is the leading voice for players, Twitter is most definitely the fans’ voice. It provides the landscape for fan opinion and discussion and is home to millions of debates and arguments about soccer. Twitter has not only changed the game for fans, but it’s also become one of the major news sources in soccer.

Transfer news and rumors are a constant on Twitter, with many accounts dedicated solely to bringing you the ‘inside scoop’ on off-season trades. Journalists regularly break exclusive stories on Twitter.

Teams use it release starting XI’s ahead of every game. Sports broadcasters have bought the rights to upload match highlights as they happen on social platforms.

Twitter has become the go-to source for live sports content. If a broadcaster isn’t posting a highlight they may #LiveTweet the event, constantly keeping their followers updated. Tuning in to the news or sports telecasts for soccer updates is a thing of the past. Fans now need updates immediately.

Facebook

Facebook is the number 1 social media channel in the world and, in turn, is the biggest channel for soccer teams and players. Although the platform retains a lot of importance and value, statistics are showing that its growth has plateaued and it is no longer the favored place for the consumption of soccer content. 

Facebook has changed the game in the sense that it was the first major social media platform for soccer content. However, the accessibility provided by the likes of Instagram and Twitter makes them the future players in the social media market.

FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube
Team Fans Growth Fans Growth Fans Growth Fans Growth
Manchester United 73.3M -0.6% 18.6M 12.1% 25.3M 25.4% 1.3M 163.3%
Liverpool 32.4M 6.4% 10.9M 15.6% 11.4M 116.9% 1.8M 137.6%
Machester City 36.7M 26.3% 6.6M 17.2% 9.8M 64.2% 1.6M 45.8%

Table outlining the social media numbers and growth % of the EPL’s biggest 3 teams | Info. courtesy of The Drum.

Soccer’s Growth and Exposure

The commercial value of social media is paramount in today’s game. Strategies are essential to ensure that a player or franchise is getting the necessary exposure. It opens up a lot of opportunities but also creates a vulnerability and provides a platform for negativity.

There is no hiding place for soccer players today. Many are subject to scathing criticism and often harmful abuse on social media. For its many positive effects on the sport, social media has a downside.

Although it does not have a direct influence on what happens on the field, social media has a firm stronghold on almost all things off the field. It controls how the sport is consumed as a whole. It generates millions of dollars but is it beginning to negatively affect the purity of the game?

V.A.R

A Video-Assisted-Referee is an external official who reviews decisions made by the in-game referee through the use of video. V.A.R and the in-game referee communicate live via headset.

assistant referee

Since its introduction to a worldwide audience in 2018, there has been no escaping V.A.R. It has had a say in the two biggest cup finals in world soccer since then: the World Cup Final in 2018, and the Uefa Champions League Final in 2019. V.A.R also contributed to the change of the handball rule earlier this year.

Despite having a huge impact on the sport, V.A.R hasn’t had a very warm welcome to the game. Judgments made by V.A.R are still regularly disputed by players, coaches, pundits, and fans. Decisions in games are not necessarily black and white and will always draw debate.

VAR Technology

Closely examining in-game events magnifies this and puts referee calls under intense scrutiny. For many, V.A.R has brought about too much negative change and hasn’t improved the game. It slows the game down and dampens the atmosphere. Some also believe that it has exposed issues with the rules themselves.

The counter-argument acknowledges that in spite of its teething problems, V.A.R  is a step in the right direction regarding the use of technology in sport. It will further develop and help eliminate human-error (for the most part), making for a more even playing field. Get used to it folks, V.A.R has changed the game and it is here to stay!

Sports Science

Image result for sport science

Sports science plays a major role in 21st-century soccer. Player diets, gym work, out straining sessions, and recovery activities are carefully measured and analyzed. At the highest level, much of team analysis is data-driven. Wearable technology is used to track player work-rate, distance covered and types of movements carried out in games and training.

These upper body compression vests contain state of the art athletic instruments used to gather data on every movement that a player makes.

This data can then be used to analyze players’ output and performance. It can also be used as a guide for recovery to ensure that injury preventative measures are being taken. A huge emphasis is now placed on recovery in the modern game.

Recover & Physio

Players undergo individual and group recovery sessions designed specifically to counteract the physical punishment that their bodies endure. Ice-baths, cryotherapy, massages, and physical therapy sessions are taken regularly by players.

Sleep plays a massive part in the recovery process. Many professionals will have their sleep monitored by coaches and will be directed to designated ‘sleeping zones’ on the training grounds for any added rest that is needed.

The influence of sports science has resulted in players being the fittest that they’ve ever been. Even compared to 20 years ago, the modern pro’s work rate and fitness level are far superior.

Tactics and Style of Play

Throughout the history of soccer, we have witnessed eras of dominance by different teams and playing styles. Tactics, formations, and playing styles are perhaps the aspects of soccer that have changed most over time.

1870 – 1930

In the early days (the 1870s), when the rules of the game differed to today, teams set out in wildly attacking formations. It would be a regular occurrence for teams to play in a 2-2-6 or 1-2-7 shape! Passing was not the main feature of the game.

Teams would march forward in a swan-like formation. Players would dribble at the opposition with their teammates in support, collecting loose balls. This trend continued throughout the next number of decades.

The 1950s

The 1950s saw the Hungarian national team make some of the most influential tactical developments in world football at the time. In a historic game vs England, Hungary played a deep-lying midfield player, who partnered up with a central defender They then pushed on 2 other defenders into attacking full-back positions (much like we see in today’s game).

Although they still deployed 4 strikers, they were constantly on the move in search of space to create meaningful attacks. This led to a lot of goals. Hungary went on to beat England 6-3 at Wembley that day, in front of 100,000 fans.

England vs Hungary, 3-6, 1953.

The 1960s

Brazil, between 1958 and 1970, were the first team to successfully operate with a 4 man backline. They played with 2 central defenders and 2 attacking full-backs, a tactic that has remained a staple in the game ever since. This gave them a solid defensive foundation and allowed for the likes of Pele to reak havoc on their opposition.

The 1970s

The antidote to this Brazilian dominance was forged in the Netherlands. In the 1970s, “Total Football” was birthed, led by Dutch talisman, Johan Cruyff. This style of play has been the most significant and influential tactical evolution in the history of soccer.

Rinus Michel’s genius system involved constant movement and interchanging of positions by all outfield players. It was the first glimpse the world got of fluid soccer. To the untrained eye, it often looked like players were wandering about the pitch as they pleased.

But, in reality, they were operating in a precise footballing system and philosophy. This style created the framework for Pep Guardiola’s masterful Barcelona, Bayern, and Manchester City teams of the modern era.

The 1980s

The famous “Catenaccio” (door bolt), was a heavily defensive tactic first adopted in Italy in the 1960s. However, it was used most successfully in the ‘80s as a counterploy to the aforementioned Dutch philosophy.

Although this formation had flaws, particularly when the team was in possession, the style of play laid the foundations for many great Italian teams. Since then, we have seen several decades of Italian powerhouses enduring tremendous success in Europe. It was this type of tactical formation that led to Italy’s World Cup triumph in 1982

The 2010s

The next period of dominance by one particular style arrived around 2008, with Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona. This approach naturally bled into the Spanish national team, leading to a World Cup win in 2010 and back to back European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

Like the “Total Football” approach, the “Tiki Taka” style of play, adopted by the Barcelona and the Spanish national team of this era, involved fluid football. Large amounts of possession and intense high pressing off the ball were core features of the gameplan. 

Pep Guardiola

Despite Guardiola’s departure from Barca in 2012, they have continued to be a dominant force in world football. Since 2008, they’ve been almost untouchable domestically, picking up 8 La Liga titles, 6 Copa Del Reys, and 6 Spanish Super Cups in 11 seasons.  They have also lifted the Uefa Champions League trophy 3 times in that period.

Pep Guardiola and players

The success of both these teams has impacted soccer on a global scale. Teams all across the world are implementing Barcelona training methods at the grassroots level. We now see low tier teams adopting a possession and pressing approach. Long balls are becoming a rarity in modern soccer.

The next great style of play

What tactical trend is in the pipeline for future generations? Sportswriter, Jonathan Wilson believes that the cyclical nature of the game is already being demonstrated in the form of fast-paced counter-attacking teams. Liverpool is an obvious example of this.

Although Klopp’s side shares certain qualities with a Pep Guardiola type team, their doggedness, ruggedness, and directness set them apart somewhat. If Wilson is correct, we may be in for an exciting new wave of high octane soccer over the coming seasons!

The Future of Soccer

We’ve come a long way since the 1-2-7 formations of teams in the 1800s. The modern game is now acutely tactical and played under scientific guidance by the fittest of athletes.

Not only this, but the beautiful game is also now observed and followed on a huge array of platforms. There are more eyes on the sport than ever before.

This benefits players and teams on a monetary level but it also creates added pressure. There is no escaping the bright lights! Technology continues to shape the world that we live in. What does the future hold for soccer in this regard? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. For more useful guides, see the articles below or visit our home page.

How have soccer balls changed? Soccer balls have slowly developed over time from pig bladders and skulls to aerodynamic high performing balls of today. The modern ball is a standardized size 5.

How have cleats changed? Cleats were originally very heavy and leatherbound. The cleat progressed to a less heavy shoe, resilient to wear and tear but less prone to absorbing moisture. Over time, cleats further developed in this manner. The modern cleat is extremely lightweight and is designed for control, comfort and speed.

How have uniforms changed? Uniforms have changed significantly over the years also. ‘Jerseys’ from olden days were heavy material that offered little ventilation and was prone to soaking in a huge amount of moisture. Although fashion and style have influenced how uniforms looked over the years, the modern-day soccer jersey contains technology that absorbs sweat and moisture, regulates temperature and helps maximize performance.

Read More…

Soccer Rules for Yellow Cards – Official

yellow card 4496844 1280 e1576159629491

The rules for a yellow card in soccer are very much debated and can be a matter of opinion. Let’s look at the rules, to see what they actually say.

When is a yellow card given? A yellow card is given as a caution when a player is “reckless”. For players, substitutes or substituted players.

When I play soccer or coach, there will always be times when you think there should be a yellow card given. Debates go on after soccer matches, to whether it should have been a red card that was shown or just a yellow.

In this article, I have researched the rules from the officials at FIFA, so that there is no debate, although some rules are at the discretion of the referee, so there will always be contentious decisions. Let go through each case and what is deserving of a yellow car.

To keep it simple, all of the examples here are about yellow cards. There are a number of other rules regarding non-caution offenses and more for red cards.

Official Soccer Rules

First, the definition from FIFA about the types of fouls;

Carless – means that the player has shown a lack of attention or consideration when making his challenge or that he/she acted without precaution: no further disciplinary sanction is needed if a foul is judged to be careless.

FIFA Law 12

Reckless – means that the player has acted with complete disregard of the danger to, or consequences for, his opponent: a player who plays in a reckless manner shall be cautioned.

FIFA Law 12

Using excessive force – means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring an on opponent: a player who uses excessive force shall be sent off

FIFA Law 12

For the following examples, we will need to use these three definitions – ‘carless’ ‘reckless’ and ‘using excessive force’. A yellow card is for;

  • Charging an opponent – caution if reckless.
  • Holding an opponent – When the ball is in play and the holding continues.
  • Handling the Ball – When a player handles the ball to break-up attacking play. If an attacker uses their hand to attempt to score a goal.
  • Dangerous play – If a player makes an action that can risk an injury to another player.
  • Impeding the progress of an opponent – If a player holds another player back or blocks a player on purpose, that prevents an attack.

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Name
FORZA Alu60 Soccer Goal - Club Spec Aluminum...
FORZA Alu60 Soccer Goal - Club Spec Aluminum...
Features
ELITE CONSTRUCTION – Suitable for year-round use, the impressive goal frames are engineered using 60mm reinforced aluminum which is finished using an optic white polyester powder coating.
Features
PREMIUM SOCCER NETS – These soccer nets are crafted using 3mm braided HDPE net twine with a 100mm knotted mesh. Nets are UV treated & feature overlocked edges for increased strength.
Features
FREESTANDING & PORTABLE – The lightweight & portable goals feature an innovative foldaway design for simple portability. Back & side brackets fold inwards & feature quick release clips.
Features
RANGE OF SIZES – This range of FORZA Alu60 Soccer Goals accommodates for all ages. Choose from 10 sizes of goal which range from 6ft x 4ft (kids soccer) through to full size 24ft x 8ft senior goals.
Rating
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Misconduct

Seven Offenses for a Player

  1. Unsporting behavior
  2. Dissent by word of action
  3. Persistent misconduct/fouls
  4. Delaying play
  5. Not moving away from a ‘dead-ball’ (eg. free kick)
  6. Comes in to play without the referee’s permission
  7. Leaves play without the referee’s permission

Three Offenses for a substitute or Substituted Player

  1. Unsporting behavior
  2. Dissent by word or action
  3. Delaying play

Fouls

Soccer players in a tackle
  • Breaking up an attack, where there is the possibility of creating a scoring chance.
  • Holding a player or their shirt to prevent the opponent from getting the ball.
  • Handling the ball when a player is in their own box to prevent the attacker from attacking.
  • Handling the ball in an attempt to score a goal even if the player does not score.
  • Simulation, where a player tries to con a referee into thinking that they are injured in order to punish the opponent. If a player tries to make-out that they have been fouled.

Unsporting Behaviour

Removing or partial adaption of Jersey;

  • A player removing a jersey when celebrating a goal
  • The jersey is pulled over the player’s head
  • A plyer covers their head with a jersey or mask

For clarification it is not a yellow card when a player lifts up their jersey just on their front – this could be done in a celebration of for wiping their face.

Other Offences for a Yellow Card

Referee deciding a yellow card
  • If a player changes positions with a goalkeeper during the game without notifying the referee.
  • A player kicks the ball when leaving the field, as an example a substitute or medication.
  • Verbally distracting a player during play or a set-piece.
  • Showing a lack of respect for the game, opponent and referee.
  • Marking the field of play, where there should be none officially.

Dissent – Action or Word

Protesting verbally or physically against the decision of a referee.

Delaying Restart in Play

  • Deliberately taking a free-kick from the wrong position
  • Pretending to take a throw-in, only to leave it for another player
  • Kicking or carrying the ball away when the referee has signaled to stop
  • Excessively delaying taking a throw-in or set -piece
  • Provoking an opponent by touching the ball to distract them
  • Obstructing a set piece from being taken by standing in the way of the ball and not retreating

Persistent Fouls

If a player commits a number of fouls throughout the game, regardless if they are the same. A player will be warned by the referee when they have committed a number of foul before being given a yellow card.

The discretion for this is for the referee to decide. If a player commits a number of fouls within a 15 minute period.

Denying a Goal Scoring Chance

If a player tries to stop a goal from being scored – this can also result in a yellow card if the play is allowed to be continued by the referee and a goal is scored. The referee can caution the player when the game is next stopped.

Two Yellow Cards

If two cards are given to a player during a match, it will result in a red card. When one yellow card is issued, a player may be fined or suspended, depending on the number of yellow cards, that the player has previously been given.

Goalkeepers

If a player tries to block the keeper when they are kicking it out of their hands they receive a yellow card.

How long is a player suspended for after two yellow cards?

A player who is shown two yellow cards during a match will be sent off during that game. The player will not be able to play the next match. Further suspensions can be given if the player has accumulated a number of cards.

Does a yellow card expire?

For league matches, yellow cards will be reset halfway through the season. Cup competitions each have different rules.

What happens if a soccer player gets two yellow cards?

A player who is shown two yellow cards during a match will be sent off during that game. The player will not be able to play the next match. Further suspensions can be given if the player has accumulated a number of cards.

Read More…

For more information regarding the rules for the MLS, you can click here.

Soccer Rules for Kids + Useful Lists

kids soccer e1571231578286

We want kids to enjoy soccer, but with many rules, it can be confusing. Teach them the basics with the useful list, so they can enjoy the game.

What are the soccer rules for kids? When the whistle is blown, the game is stopped or started. Yellow cards are a warning, for an offense and a red card means the player is sent off, for committing a serious foul. Corners are given when the ball goes behind the goal. Throw-ins are given when the ball goes out of play on the sideline.

What is a foul? When do we have a corner kick? Just a couple of the many questions kids have when they are starting out. I will take you through the basics and on to more advanced rules in a soccer game, which is easy for a kid to understand and for someone to tell them.

soccer field infographic
Soccer field infographic

Soccer Rules for Kids

The length of a match varies, depending on how old you are. The younger you are, the match is shorter, plus there are fewer players on the pitch.

  • The match is 90 minutes for adults
  • 45 minutes for the first half
  • 15 minutes for a break
  • 45 minutes for the second half
  • Extra time is added by the referee for each half, because of stoppages

How many players are there and what do they do? Let’s look at the adults as an example.

  • 11 players per side
  • 1 referee on the pitch
  • 2 assistant referees at either side of the pitch

What are the roles of each of the players? We will use the standard 4-4-2 formation in this example, to give an idea of what they do.

442 Soccer Match

Soccer Positions for Kids

  • 1. Goalkeeper – stops the shots at goal – can use his hands in their penalty box
  • 2. Fullback – Defender on the right side of the pitch
  • 3. Fullback – Defender on the left side of the pitch
  • 4. Center Back – Defender in the center to one side of the penalty box
  • 5. Center Back – Defender in the center to one side of the penalty box
  • 6. Center Midfield – Protect the center backs from an attack + start attacks
  • 7. Right Midfield – Play in front of the right fullback – defend + attack on the wing
  • 8. Center Midfield – Partner with N.6 and defend and attack
  • 9. Striker – Play in and around the opponent’s penalty box – aim to score and assist
  • 10. Striker – Partner with N.9 and attack and create chances together
  • 11. Left Midfield – Like N.7 but on the left side

These positions are as a guide, so they will vary from team to team.

Starting a Soccer Match

Before the game, a coin is tossed to see which way each team attacks for the first half. The teams will swap ends after the half time break.

Both teams will be in their own half – whoever won the coin toss, will kick off first. The ball is placed in the center of the pitch and the player will kick it back to one of their teammates.

The aim of the game is to score more than the opponent. If the scores are equal after the final whistle, the game is a tie/draw. In a normal league match, each team will get a point for a tie/draw. If the game is a cup match, the teams may need to play on to decide the winner – either with extra time and penalties or just penalties.

Ball in Play

The ball is in play when the soccer ball is within the pitch. So in the rectangle, marked outlines. If the ball goes over the boundary line, a team will be awarded a throw-in or a corner kick. At any time the referee can stop the game with their whistle, for foul of another offense.

The Referee

The decision of the referee is final if a player is showing disrespect, the player can be shown a yellow card. When the whistle is blown by the referee, the game is stopped.

The referee will point to the direction of the reason and then towards the attacking end, for the team the decision has been made. The referee will blow the whistle for the match to be continued.

When is a Goal Scored?

A goal is given when the ball crosses the over the line, inside the goalposts. All of the balls need to be over the line for it to be counted. If any foul is committed during the build-up, the referee can call back the play and decline the goal.

Restarting the game after a goal is the same as a kick-off when the game is first started. All the players go into their own half and the team which conceded the goal will take the restart from the center circle.

What is a Throw-In?

Along the long side of the field is where a throw-in is taken. This will mainly involve the fullbacks and wingers. When the ball goes over the line, whichever team who caused the ball to go out, it will be awarded against and the opponents take a throw-in.

How to Take a Throw-in?

From the position of where the ball went out, normally a fullback will take the throw-in. The ball is thrown with two hands from behind the head – the ball must be released when the ball is over the players head. The player taking the throw must stand off the pitch until the ball is back in play.

What is a Corners Kick?

Corner kick soccer match

If the ball goes over the line behind the goals, a corner is awarded to the opponent. This is only given when a team kicks it out behind the back of their own goal. If the ball is kicked out when you shoot at your opponent’s goal, the other team is awarded a goal kick.

How to Take a Corner?

The ball is placed in corner of the pitch, to the side of the goal to which the ball went out. If it went over the goal, the referee will say which side the corner should be taken from. Opponents must stand 10 yards away from the corner till the kick is taken.

What is a Goal Kick?

When the attacking team kicks the ball behind the goal, a goal kick is awarded. The goalkeeper normally takes the kick, but another player can take it also.

How to Take a Goal Kick?

The ball is placed on the corner of the 6-yard box which is around the goal. When the referee is ready, the kick is taken and the ball is back in play. The opponents must stay out of the penalty box until the kick is taken.

What is a Free Kick?

A free-kick can be awarded for a foul on an opponent. The reason for a foul could be;

  • Bad tackle
  • Pulling a player’s shirt
  • Obstructing an opponent
  • Offside

The referee will blow the whistle for the foul play and instruct the teams of the decision. When the kick is being taken, the opponents need to stand 10 yards away from the ball.

How to Take a Free-Kick?

With the wall of players standing 10 yards away, you can either chip the ball over the wall or hit it to one side of the wall where you can see the goal.

Chipping the ball is the best option, but this takes some skill and you don’t want to waste a shot. So for beginners, it’s best to strike the ball as hard as you can towards the goal, which gives you a chance of the keeper making a mistake or for the chance of a rebound.

Penalty Kick

penalty kick soccer

A penalty kick is awarded when a foul is made inside the penalty box. The referee will blow the whistle and will point to the spot. An attacking player will take the penalty and all of the players except the opposition goalkeeper will remain in the box.

How to Take a Penalty?

The goalkeeper needs to stay on the line of the goal, if not the referee could ask for the penalty to be taken again. With all the other players outside of the box, the referee will signal with the whistle to take the kick.

The striker will normally aim for the corner and the keeper will try to guess which way the shot is being taken. First is accuracy, then add power as you develop your technique..

Substitutions

Changes to the players can be made during the game. The ball needs to be out of play for this to happen and the referee will signal to the sideline. For the adults, there are 7 substitutes on the bench and 3 changes can be made during a game. The players that are taken off, cannot enter the field to play again in that match.

For youth soccer, the laws are looser and players that are substituted can play again. The number of substitutes will vary for each club, generally, only 3 substitutes are needed. Your local league will have its own rules.

What is Offside?

This rule applies for the older age groups of players, currently from the age of 10 and up in U.S.A – check your local rules.

An offside is awarded when an attacking player is standing behind the last defender (towards the keeper) when the ball is played behind that last defender. For an attacker, you must say inline with the last defender, until the ball is played through, then they can run past the defender.

A free-kick is awarded to the defending team when there is an offside. The freekick is taken from the position where the attacking player was offside.

Why Players Get Yellow Cards?

A yellow card is given caution to a player. It can be given for one of the following reasons.

Soccer foul
  • A number of tackles resulting in a foul
  • A bad tackle – where a player kicks an opponent before connecting with the ball
  • Stopping a break – when a foul is made and a team has a chance to attack the goal
  • Shirt pulling – touching is okay but don’t grab
  • Disrespect to the referee or opponent – shouting or bad language – unsporting behavior
  • Tackles around the box – This can halt the opponent
  • Fouls causing a penalty – a bad tackle or foul in your box
  • Handball – when the offense is deliberate
  • Celebrating with fans – players should not be in contact with fans
  • Taking off a shirt – players face this normally after scoring as a celebration
  • Showing a yellow card – imitating a referee to show a card to an opponent

For the younger players, the referee will take into account if a mistimed tackle is made on an opponent – due to inexperience. Normally for the younger players, the referee is more lenient.

Why Players Get Red Cards?

A red card shown to a player means the player has to leave the field of play. They will not take part in the rest of the match (there is no sin-bin). Some of the main offenses for a red card being shown are;

referee red card
  • Dangerous tackle – too strong a tackle where a player in danger
  • Two yellow cards – If a player is shown two yellow cards it results in a red card being shown
  • Disrespect – If a referee deems a player to have used abusive language
  • Two footed tackle – A player lunges into an opponent with studs hitting the player
  • Tackle from behind – this could result in an injury
  • Violence – Aggressive play such a striking someone, especially near the face
  • Telling the referee – if a player tells a referee what decision they should make
  • High foot – endangering another player
  • Spitting – if this is done at or towards a person

How long is a soccer match for each age? Sports Rec;

  • Under 6: 10 minutes per half – 10-minute break
  • Under 8: 20 minutes per half – 5 to 10-minute break
  • Under 10: 25 minutes per half – 5 to 10-minute break
  • Under 12: 30 minutes per half – 5 to 10-minute break
  • Under 14: 35 minutes per half – 5 to 10-minute break
  • Under 16: 40 minutes per half – 15-minute break
  • Above 16: 45 minutes per half – 15-minute break

What are the pitch sizes for youth teams and adults?

AgePitch Size – Yards
Adults65 – 70 x 109 to 114
Under 1460 x 100
Under 1250 x 80
Under 1040 x 70
Under 825 x 50
Under 615 x 30

Pitch sizes from UEFA and Kids Play Soccer

When is the soccer season?

Professionals – MLS: From March to October – winter break.

What are the soccer positions for kids?

Defenders, midfielders and attackers. Teams will have more defenders. Each team varies depending on the formation.

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