INTRODUCTION:-Soccer, game played by two teams on a rectangular field, in which players attempt to knock a round ball through the opponents’ goal, using any part of the body except the hands. Generally, players use their feet and heads as they kick, dribble, and pass the ball toward the goal. One player on each team guards the goal. This player, the goalkeeper, is the only player allowed to touch the ball with the hands while it is in play.
Soccer is a free-flowing gamethat has relatively few rules andrequires little equipment. Allthat is needed to play is an areaof open space and a ball. Muchof the worlds soccer is playedinformally, without fieldmarkings or real goals. In manyplaces, the game is playedbarefoot using rolled-up rags ornewspapers as a ball. Soccer isthe worlds most popularsport, played by people of allages in about 200 countries.The sport has millions of fansthroughout the world.
Evidence from many ancient societies—Chinese, Greek, Maya, andEgyptian—reveals that kicking games were a part of those cultures. Themodern game of soccer began in the 19th century in England, when avariety of football games developed, all of which involved both handlingand kicking the ball. The first laws of the modern game were supposedlydrafted in 1862 by J. C. Thring of the Uppingham School. At a meeting ofthe London Football Association (FA) in 1863, the game was split intorugby football (the parent sport of American football), which permittedhandling and carrying the ball, and association football, or soccer, whichbanned the use of the hands.
At first soccer was played mostly in private schools anduniversities, but before long people of the working classespicked up the sport. The FA Cup, a tournament first organizedin 1871, sparked the rapid spread of soccer in England. (Thetournament, which is still played, climaxes with the annualCup Final at Wembley Stadium in London.) An 1872 game inGlasgow, Scotland, between an English all-star team and itsScottish counterpart marked the beginning of internationalplay. In 1885 the FA recognized the legitimacy of professionalplayers and regular league play started in England in 1888. Soccers global spread began in the late 1800s, when Britishtraders, sailors, and soldiers carried the sport all over theworld. Germans, Italians, and Austrians were eager converts inEurope, while Argentines, Uruguayans, and Brazilians tookquickly to the sport in South America. FIFA was formed in 1904.By 1930 professional leagues were operating in manycountries, and that year FIFA organized the first World Cup inUruguay.
Soccer is played with a round leather ball. It is between 68 and 71cm (27 and 28 in) in circumference and weighs between 396 to 453 g(14 and 16 oz). Balls come in various designs and colors. Playersprefer balls with stripes or other patterns so they can better gauge thespin of the ball during play.Soccer uniforms consist of jerseys, shorts, socks, and shoes withcleats (short knobs on the bottom of the shoe). The jerseys mustinclude a number on the back so that game officials (and fans) canidentify players quickly. Goalkeepers must wear a color thatdistinguishes them from the rest of the players on the same team.This way, the referee can easily know which player is allowed to usethe hands within the penalty area. Goalkeepers’ jerseys and shortsoften have extra padding stitched into the arm and hip areas toprotect them when they dive to make saves. Most goalkeepers alsowear special gloves that help them grip the ball.
Players wear cleated shoes for better traction while theyare running. Cleats give them increased speed andmaneuverability. Soccer shoes are usually made of durableleather, and the soles come in three basic varieties: withmolded cleats, removable cleats, or molded rubber soles.Shoes with molded cleats usually have 14 of them, about 1.3cm (.5 in) long. Players generally use molded cleats on dryfields. Shoes with removable cleats usually have six plasticor metal studs that are 1.3 to 1.9 cm (.5 to .75 in) long.Players generally wear these longer cleats on soft or wetfields. Molded rubber-sole shoes have 25 to 35 small nubsand are designed for use on hard fields or fields made ofartificial turf. Soccer rules require players to wear only one piece ofprotective equipment, shin guards. Shin guards are smallshields worn on the front of the leg between the knee and topof the foot. They protect the lower leg against kicks. Shinguards are made of cloth-covered plastic.
Informal soccer games can be of any length, but most regulation gameslast 90 minutes and are divided into two 45-minute halves. (Official youthgames may be shorter.) There is a 15-minute break between thehalves, called halftime. Before each game the referee tosses a coin todetermine which team will kick off. The team that wins the toss chooses tobegin the game either by kicking off the ball or by defending. The kickoffis taken at the center point of the field, and all players must be positionedon their own side of the field before play can begin.
During a game, the ball remains in play as long as it stays within the end lines and the sidelines. If the ball leaves the field it is returned to play by throw-in, goal kick, or corner kick, depending on where the ball left play and who knocked it out of play. The only time that play stops is when a player commits a foul, a player is injured, or a goal is scored. The referee calls fouls on players who commit one of tenmajor infractions: intentionally kicking, tripping, or jumping atan opponent; violently charging, striking, holding, pushing, orspitting at an opponent; tackling an opponent without the ball;or touching the ball with the hands. If a player commits any ofthese fouls, the opposing team is awarded a free kick. If aplayer commits any of these offenses inside his own penaltyarea, the opposing team is awarded a penalty kick.
Soccer players use five basic skills: kicking, dribbling, passing, heading, and trapping. Kicking is the most basic skill. Players who wish to kick the ball powerfully do so with the top of the foot, the area just above the toes, generating power from the upper leg and torso. A powerful kick may propel the ball up to 120 km/h (75 mph). Many players cannot kick the ball equally well with both feet, and favor the stronger foot when making a shot at the goal or kicking the ball a long distance. Players move the ball small distances by dribbling. Dribbling entailstapping, dragging, or rolling the ball in front of the body while running. Theobjective—to advance the ball while keeping it in control and protecting it fromdefensive players—is similar to that of dribbling in basketball, using the feetinstead of the hands. A player with good dribbling skills can make quickstops, change direction, and move the ball from one foot to another with ease.Advanced players can also fake one way with the ball, only to turn and move in theopposite direction.
Players use passes to move the ball aroundthe field more quickly than they can bydribbling. Passes are like kicks, but theyrequire less power and more control. Playersusually pass by using the inside of the foot topush the ball in a certain direction, thoughsometimes the outside of the foot is used.Talented players can pass with both feet inall directions, including behind them.
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