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Soccer: How to Play Basics

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Players on the soccer field
Source: US Navy

The Basics

In some ways soccer is a fairly simple or pure game. The primary rule is that players cannot touch the ball with their hands or arms while the ball is in play. The exception to this rule is the goalie. The goalie is a designated player whose main job is to protect the goal from the opponents. The goalie is the last line of defense and can catch or touch the soccer ball with their hands. Players also cannot tackle, push, hit, or knockdown their opponents.

The typical game play in soccer involves one team that has possession of the ball dribbling the ball and passing it amongst themselves to try and get to where they can kick or head the ball into the goal. The other team is constantly trying to take the ball away. The possession of the ball can change quite often throughout the game.

Each soccer team has eleven players including the goalie. The winner at the end of the designated time is the team with the most goals. Each goal counts for one point. If there is a tie, there may be an overtime or there may a shootout to determine the winner.

Soccer Players

Of the eleven players on a team, only the goalkeeper is a player position by rule. One player must be designated the goalkeeper and this player can touch the ball with their hands when inside the goalies' box. All of the other players have the same position by rule. However, there are usually assigned roles and field positions to allow for team strategy. Typically there will be soccer players called forwards whose main object is to attack the opponent's goal and try to score goals. Then there are defenders who hang back toward their own goal to help the goalie defend. Also, there are mid-fielders who drop back on defense or help out on offense depending on the game situation.

Soccer players are usually fast, skilled, and in great shape. The game of soccer is physically demanding and requires good endurance.

Soccer equipment

In a soccer game most soccer players need to wear their team jersey, shorts, socks, cleats, and shin guards. Shin guards are very important as soccer players will get kicked in the shins quite often and will get injured and bruised if they are not wearing shin guards.

The rest of the equipment needed to play soccer is a soccer ball, a soccer field, and a goal at each end of the field.

Player kicking a soccer ball
Source: US Air Force
Soccer Field

Soccer field sizes vary greatly depending on the level and type of play. Each soccer field has a goal box around the front of the goal and a penalty box around the outside of the goal box. There is also a half way line splitting the field in half and a center circle at the middle of the field.

More Soccer Links:

Soccer Rules
Soccer Field
Substitution Rules
Length of the Game
Goalkeeper Rules
Offside Rule
Fouls and Penalties
Referee Signals
Restart Rules

Soccer Gameplay
Controlling the Ball
Passing the Ball
Playing Defense

Strategy and Drills
Soccer Strategy
Team Formations
Player Positions
Set Plays or Pieces
Individual Drills
Team Games and Drills

Mia Hamm
David Beckham

Soccer Glossary
Professional Leagues

Back to Soccer

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