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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Soccer – History, Rules, How to play and More



Soccer has a long history. Approximately 3000 years ago, people of Mesoamerican cultures played a team game using a ball made out of a rock. In the game, the ball symbolized the sun. And the captain of the losing team should be ready to offer himself as a sacrifice to gods!

In the 2nd or 3rd century BC, there existed a game that resembled modern-day football. It was Tsu’ Chu and the Chinese used the game in the military. In the game, the players kicked the ball made of leather, filled with feathers and hair.

Also, the players used a small opening covered with a net through which the ball should pass. However, the players could not use their hands. And they used their body to get rid of the opponents who jumped on them.

Around 2500 BC, young women in Egypt played a ball game. The images of the game were depicted on the tomb of Baqet III.

During 1000 BC, the Japanese invented a game called Kemari. The game was less dangerous and the objective of the game was to keep the ball in the air. While playing the game, the players worked as a team to prevent the ball from touching the ground.

In ancient Greece people played a game called Episkyros in which two teams with an equal number of players contested. Notably, there was a white line behind each team. The objective of the game was to force a team behind the line.

Interestingly, the Tsu Chu players from China and Kemari players from Japan were the first who played an international game. They played their version of soccer around 50 B.C.

When rubber ball came into use during 600 A.D. people in Mexico & Central America, played a ball game. However, the court was in the shape of the capital letter ‘I’ and was 40-50 feet in length.

In 700 A.D., the people who lived in the East of England played football games. They started with the legendary game where they kicked around the head of a defeated Danish Prince. By nature, the games were very violent.

In 1331, King Edward III passed a law to ban the game. The violent game becoming popular among the people was the reason. Subsequently, King James I of Scotland also passed a law against the game in the year 1424.

In the 16th century A.D., people in Italy played a game called “Calcio” with teams of 27+ people. In playing the game, people kicked, carried and passed the ball across a goal line.

Also, Queen Elizabeth, I of England passed laws in the year 1572. She sentenced a football player to jail for a week. Before, the player had to do penance in a church.

During 1600, the native Eskimos in Alaska and Canada played a game called aqsaqtuk on ice. They used balls stuffed with grass, caribou hair and moss. Interestingly, the goalposts in the villages who played against each other were as far as 10 miles apart.

In the year 1605, again Football became legal in England.

The native American Indians in North America played a game called pasuckuakohowog . It meant “they gather to play ball with the foot.” In the game, the field was half-mile wide and the goalposts were one mile apart. And as many as 1000 players played at a time.

In 1815, Eton college of England formed a set of rules for the game. Then in the U.S.A, Northeastern universities and colleges of Harvard, Princeton, Amherst, and Brown played the game among themselves.

In the year 1848, the organizers modified the rules and the new rules – ‘Cambridge Rules’ came into force.

Then the first football club outside of England, Oneida Football Club was formed in the year 1848 in Boston, USA.

On October 26, 1863, eleven schools and clubs in London came together to write a single set of rules. They did it to apply for the matches among them and a Football Association was formed.

Then on December 8, 1863, Association Football and Rugby Football parted ways and formed two different organizations.

In the same year on 19th December, the first-ever soccer match was played in London. It was played between Barnes Football Club and Richmond Football Club and the game ended in a 0-0 draw.

In the year 1869, The Football association amended the rules which banned the handling of the ball.

The national teams of Scotland and England played the first official international football match in the year 1872 in Glasgow Scotland.

In 1883, the four British Associations consented to form an Internationational Football Association board.

The U.S.A and Canada played a match in Newyork and Canada won the match 1-0. The teams played the match in the year 1885 and it was the first match that happened outside Britain.

Then penalty kick came into play and formed a part of the game in the year 1888.

In the Summer Olympics 1900, countries played soccer for the first time in the mega event.

Delegates from Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Denmark established FIFA on 21st May in the year 1904.

FIFA held the first world cup tournament in the year 1930 in Uruguay, Montevideo where 13 teams participated.

In 1932, Soccer exited from the Olympic Games and countries didn’t participate in the Los Angeles event. Then in the year 1991, the United States won the first-ever world cup for women.

Read more about the history of Soccer

Rules of soccer

a referee in soccer
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In soccer, a match has two halves of 45 minutes duration with a rest period of 15 mins in between them.

Each team can have a maximum of 11 players which includes a goalkeeper. Moreover, a team needs a minimum of seven players to constitute a match.

The playing field of soccer should have either artificial or natural grass. Though the size of the field is not a standard one, it varies within the range of 100 to 130 yards in length and 50 to 100 yards in width.

The rectangular pitch should have markings for the outbounds in rectangle, two six-yard boxes, two 18 yard boxes, and a center circle.

The ball should have a circumference of 58 – 61 cm and should have a circular shape.

Each side could have seven substitute players and the teams can make substitutions at any time of the match. And each team can make three substitutions per side at a maximum.

In the case of all three substitutions used, the team has to play without the player if anyone got injured.

To play a standard soccer game, there should be the availability of one referee and two assistant referees.

The referee acts as a timekeeper and he makes decisions in declaring fouls, free kicks, throw-ins, penalties and added on time.

Watching the offside’s in the match, throw-ins for the teams and assisting the referee are the functions of the assistant referees.

The teams get 30 minutes extra time in the case of both teams were level in a match. Subsequently, each team gets 15 minutes time after the 90 minutes play ends.

A penalty shootout takes place in the case of the teams being level even after the extra time.

The players who commit fouls receive a yellow or red card. While the yellow card is for the warning, the red card indicates the dismissal of the player.

The receiving of the yellow or red card by any player is under the discretion of the referee. Furthermore, two yellow cards equal one red card. The player who received a red card could not get back into the game.

Either of the team will get a throw-in if the ball goes out of play, off an opponent. Similarly, the teams will get a goal kick if the ball goes out of play, off an attacking player on the baseline. And, it’s a corner kick when the ball comes off a defending player.

Soccer ground dimensions & maintenance


soccer field dimensions

Not all soccer grounds are of the same size. But the preferred size is 105×68 meters and the area of the field is 7140 square meters.

The standard soccer field is of either artificial turf or natural turf. But, amateur clubs and recreational teams play the game on dirt fields. As per the rule, the artificial turf should also be in green color.

All line markings on the field form important parts of the field. The ball on the line is still in play and should cross the line completely to denote a goal or ‘out of play.’

Similarly, a foul committed when the ball is on the line in the penalty area results in a penalty.


Grass Field

soccer field in grass
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The summer heat dries the soccer field and continuous exposure to heat results in the development of cracks, crevices, and other hazards.

Watering with good irrigation system helps to maintain the right dampness of the field by avoiding too much watering and flooding.

Regular Mowing

Grass grows quickly and with watering, it grows rapidly. So, regular mowing of the field is essential to maintain the health of the field. It not only looks good and also helps to get the standard playing conditions.

Soil Testing

The soil should have the prescribed safe values for pH, phosphorus and potassium levels. So, testing the soil periodically is essential to maintain the right playing conditions.

Pest Control

When play is off, the habitants who love the grass and the vast field like weeds, insects, and rodents would swarm the place.

Early detection and regular maintenance are the cure to get rid of these problems.

Field Renovation

In general, football fields need renovation work every two years which involves adding soil, aerifying the field, adding fertilizer, seeding the turf, etc.

The renovation work should be done periodically and as and when the need arises.

Using of Field Cover

The right equipment should be used to safeguard the field from rain and harsh weather. Moreover, rain covers made of proper materials and turf blankets give the right protection to the field.

Artificial Turf

The field hardness should be lower than the 200 Gmax level. Measuring it periodically is good to maintain the right playing conditions.

The carpet fibers should be in an upright position. Sweeping and dragging the field once a week or a month is advisable which depends on the use of the field.

To improve footing, reduce static electricity and improve the look of the field, loosening and redistribution of infill should be carried out. The fieldsmen should groom the pitch before each game.

Check the infill level periodically in high use areas. Replenishing it gives the padding and shock absorption for the synthetic turf system and gives back the resiliency.

Use a vacuum cleaner and blower to clear the debris. Also, use cleaning solvents to remove the difficult to remove items. Using anti-microbial products weekly or monthly is advisable to maintain the hygiene of the turf.

Also, be ready to remove snow during winter months.

Preventing the use of chewing gum, tobacco, etc., providing dust bins in some places, providing scraper mats at the entry points and cleaning the turf after every match will be more helpful in the maintenance of the turf.

How to play soccer

Soccer is a game with a huge fan following and it has millions of die-hard fans. Playing soccer is fun as the game involves both individual skill and team effort. A ball is enough to start the street play and so it is everybody’s love to play the game.

Knowing the basic rules, developing the skills, regular practice and playing with passion are the essential things to become a professional football player.

Dribbling the ball well

playing soccer and dribbling the ball

Running and controlling the ball at the same time is known as dribbling.

A player can dribble the ball by using his inside foot, top of the toe or outside foot. Start with the easiest way of dribbling and practice well to use all ways of controlling the ball. Most importantly, you should practice adapting to different speeds.

Perfect your passing skills in soccer

soccer players passing the ball

In playing football, passing accurately is essential as it moves the ball to the desired places. Initially, you have to use the inside of your foot to pass the ball as it gives more accuracy. After mastering it, you can slice or hook the ball to your teammates.

In passing you have to kick the ball ahead of your teammates which will help them to pick up the ball while running.

In hooking the ball, you have to use the inside of your foot at a 45-degree angle and for slicing, you have to use the outside foot.

Know how to shoot the ball in soccer

Shooting the ball as and when required is the necessary skill to develop in the game. In case you are close to the goal post, you can shoot the ball with your inside foot. But, you need accuracy while shooting the ball.

Practice defending the ball in soccer

Defenders prevent goals from opposing attackers and there are three basic things you should know about defending.

The defender should always keep their eyes on the ball. The attacker always tries to divert the defender by doing many tricks. So, it’s most important to follow the ball closely.

Next, the defender should stay between the goal and the ball. Moreover, the main focus is on not letting the ball behind you.

Most importantly the defender should expect the dribbling and should step in at the right moment to tackle and kick the ball to an open teammate.

More Skills

The professional players run more distance during a game and a player must have good skills in running the spaces, reaching the place where he/she is expected and running past the defenders.

Heading the ball is also an important skill to develop. Juggling the ball, using the non-dominant foot, practicing corner kicks and free kicks are the skills an aspiring player should acquire perfection.

Moreover, identifying the natural style and developing the game accordingly is the right way to succeed as a professional soccer player.

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Play following the rules

The objective of the game

The game which is 90 minutes long has two halves of 45 mins each. When you play the game, you win it by scoring more goals than the opponent.

To score a goal, the whole ball must pass the opponent’s goal line in the net area.

Positions of the players in soccer

In total, a playing team has 11 players on the field. Though the coach fixes the position as per the strategy of the game he/she chooses, there are usually four defenders, four midfielders, two strikers and one goalie.

Defenders are the players who stay behind the midfield line with the aim of preventing the opponents from scoring. They make the passes to clear the field and are physically stronger than the rest of the players.

Midfielders function both as defenders and offenders and do the most running. The players are good at holding the ball and passing it.

Forwards are the players who are very quick in the field and they have the ability to shoot the ball with power and accuracy. Moreover, they have good agility and act within seconds.

The goalie is the player who protects the 18-yard penalty area. He is the only player who can use his hands and he is usually a player with quick reflex, agility, and skill to communicate.

Kickoffs and starting of the play

soccer game starting point

When the play starts and at the time of kickoff, the players of each team should be on their own half of the field.

When the referee blows the whistle, the play starts and the rule allows players to move forward and backward.

One of the teams chooses the side by tossing the coin while the other team starts the play by ‘kickoff.’ In the second half, the other team gets the chance to kick off and start the play.


a soccer player throws in the ball

When the ball goes completely over the touchline, the team which has not touched the ball last gets the chance to throw-in. And this team will throw the ball from where it went out of bounds.

A player can throw the ball by running in but must perform the throw-in as per the rules. While throwing, the player must bring the ball up with both hands behind the head and release the ball in that position. And, the players are not at liberty to raise their feet off the ground but can drag the feet one foot wide to release the ball.

Corner kick Vs goal kick

When the ball goes out of bounds over the goal line, and if the defending team is the one which has touched the ball last, the attacking team gets the ‘corner kick.’ The attacking team will kick the ball from the nearest goal line corner.

On the contrary, if the attacking team touches the ball before it goes out of bounds, the goalie or any of the eleven players from the defending team takes the ‘goal kick.’


The offside rule helps to prevent the players from easy goal making and also prevents the 18-yard penalty area from swarming of players.

When a player from the attacking side is ahead of all defending team members, he is prone to be declared ‘offside.’ He/she should not be moving close to the opponent’s goal area while one of his teammates is at the touch of the ball.

If the player at the offside involved in active play, the referee awards an indirect free kick from where the involvement occurred.

Direct free kick Vs indirect free-kick

In the direct free kick, a player can kick the ball directly into the goal for a score and the ball not touches any other player first.

In an indirect free-kick, the ball must touch another player before scoring the goal.

When a team commits contact foul or handball, the other team gets the direct free kick. The referee gives an indirect free kick for other types of faults or game stoppages.

In the execution of an indirect free-kick, the referee keeps his arm raised until a second player touches the ball.

Penalty Kick in soccer

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When a defender fouls an opponent in his / her 18-yard box, the opponent team gets the penalty kick.

In execution, all players except the goalie and the player who takes the penalty kick, line up outside the penalty area. And the goalie must keep his feet on the goal line and should not move on until the ball is kicked.

Then the ball will be placed at a penalty which is 12 yards from the goal line. The ball comes to life when the player kicks it and any player from both teams can play it except the kicker.

Foul play and yellow card

A referee issues a yellow card to a player as a caution. It’s a warning to the player who faults and an example for other players to show what is not acceptable behavior.

When a player received two yellow cards, he/she has to leave the game permanently.

Any misconduct, play or action which threatens the safety of an opponent, tactical fouls that break the attack, delaying restarts, starting free-kicks from a wrong distance and excessive celebrations after scoring a goal are some instances which may receive a yellow card from the referee.

The red card

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In soccer, performing foul excessively, threatening the safety of the opponent by violent behavior and receiving two yellow cards let the referee show the red card.

Uncultured behavior like spitting at a player, performing a foul excessively, preventing a goal by deliberate handling of the ball or with the foul are the instances that warrant a red card from the referee.

The player who has been expelled from the game, could not return to the game and the team should resume the play with the shortage of one player

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