Soccer is played by young and old because it’s fun, easy
to play, promotes health and fitness and it’s very affordable.
A ball is about all you need to start enjoying soccer –
the world’s most popular sport! A ball and a wall will
get you kicking, passing and receiving. And with three or more
friends you can set up teams and start copying your favorite
soccer stars. Played just-for-fun or competitively, soccer is
one of the best all-round activities to get fit and stay fit!
It exercises the major muscle groups as well as your heart and
lungs. Running, jumping and rapid change of pace all contribute
to endurance, power, speed, coordination and agility. As a team
sport, soccer promotes valuable life skills including good sportsmanship,
teamwork and being gracious in victory or defeat. And did we
mention how much fun it is!
Each side has a goal or net defended by their goalkeeper. The
object of the game is to kick, head or deflect the ball past
the keeper into the net of the opposing team. Any part of the
body may be used EXCEPT shoulders, arms and hands. Spectacular
goals can result when players ‘use their heads’!
Teams usually place their players into forward, mid-field and
defender positions along the length of the field. Each of these
positions in turn is divided into mid-field, inside- and outside-wings
across the width of the field.
A goal counts as 1 point. Penalty shots taken from a spot 12
yards (11 metres) in front of the goal line are awarded to the
attacking team when infractions are committed inside the 18-yard
penalty area in front of the goal.
Tied games are sometimes decided by shoot-outs taken from the
penalty kick spot. Shoot-outs can be an exciting finalé
pitting goalkeepers against kickers from the opposing team to
decide the winner.
"Fun Fact: Pelé was arguably the best soccer
player ever. He scored more goals than anyone else, banging
in 1,279 over a career spanning 21 years playing for two clubs:
Santos of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the New York Cosmos. He
scored on his club début for Santos in September 1956
at age 16, and he scored his 1,000th goal for the same team
in November 1969."
“Sandlot” or “street” soccer is played
by children around the world and involves two or more players.
Sometimes a whole crowd chases the ‘ball’, which
can be a tin can, a ball of string or a bundle of rags!
Organized soccer is generally played on grass or artificial
turf defined by white lines laid out according to regulation
dimensions and uses official-sized balls for the players’
age group. Younger players use smaller and lighter balls.
Regulation Soccer is played with 11 players on each team including
one goalkeeper. When played on a full-sized field, the game
demands good running endurance and stamina for the 60 to 90
minutes of regulation time (depending on age group).
Mini-Soccer or Small-Sided Soccer (SSS) is preferred for younger
players on smaller fields. Teams are made up of 6 to 8 players,
or a minimum of 4–a-side, in which case, games are played
without a goalkeeper. The field size may vary depending on the
age and number of players on each team. Mini-soccer demands
speed and agility more than endurance.
Indoor Soccer is a cross between soccer and hockey. As in hockey,
there are boards and the game is played 6-a-side, including
the goalkeeper. Also, there are boards to reflect the ball and
fouls result in 2 to 5 minutes in the penalty box for the offending
player, depending on the offence. Unlike hockey, there are no
off-sides and balls kicked out-of-bounds result in a free kick
for the other team.
“Fun Fact: Aqsaqtuk – an indigenous ‘football’
game played by the Inuit of Canada and Alaska – has been
played in North America for at least three hundred years.”