Soccer Frequently Asked Questions
Soccer is a fun game for all ages and levels. Soccer season is just around the corner. If you,re planning on coaching or playing this season, these answers to some of soccer's frequently asked questions should help you get your soccer season off to a great start.
- What is soccer?
- How is soccer scored?
- What do I wear for soccer?
- What equipment do I need to play soccer?
- What does a soccer goalie's equipment consist of?
- How large is a soccer field?
- Do I need to be in good shape to play soccer?
- What skills will I gain by playing soccer?
- How old is soccer and where did it start?
- What kind of cleats do I wear for soccer?
- Is soccer dangerous?
- What is the world governing organization for soccer?
Called "association football" in most countries outside the US, soccer is an outdoor ball game played on a rectangular playing field between two goals, and two teams comprised of 11 players each. The ball can be contacted by any part of the body except the hands and arms while the ball is in play. Goalies are allowed to use their hands to block the ball. Teams score points by passing the ball into the opponent's goal.
Team soccer uniforms consist of a long-sleeve jersey or t-shirt, soccer shorts or pants, and matching undergarments. Soccer apparel may also include long stockings, warmups, caps and gloves for the goalies.
Goalies wear long-sleeve soccer jerseys that are a different color than their teammates', goalkeeper gloves, goalie shorts or pants, cleats, shin guards and warmups. They may wear visor caps to shield their eyes from the sun.
Professional and competition soccer fields measure between 100 to 130 yards long, and from 50 to 100 yards wide. FIFA has not established an exact size of the soccer field.
Soccer is a fun, and fairly safe game for a variety of ages and fitness levels. It's a great sport for kids who just want to participate in a team sport, but who may not already have a high level of fitness and skills.
Soccer involves a lot of leg and foot work, rebounding, fast sprinting, team work, coordination, and cooperation. Regularly playing soccer builds good reaction, muscle tone, flexibility, endurance, cardiovascular fitness, coordination, and team work.
It's safe to say soccer is about 3,000 years old. Versions of soccer are said to date back to around the second century B.C. to ancient Chinese and Mesopotamian cultures. Records show that a similar ball game was enjoyed by the Romans and Greeks, and the game of Kyoto was played in Japan. Soccer was popular during the medieval era. Violent versions of it spread in parts of Europe, later to be banned. Modern soccer is said to stem from England, and introduced in the US in around the early nineteenth century. Today, an estimated 250,000 people across 200 countries enjoy soccer, making it one of the most beloved team sports in the world!
Soccer cleats are lightweight, low-top shoes with studs that help soccer players grip the field during the game. Soccer cleats are specially designed for passing the soccer ball with the feet. There are different kinds of cleats for different types of soccer players, positions, and surfaces. Artificial turf calls for cleats with shorter studs, whereas grass fields requires longer studs for a better grip. Some soccer cleats have removable studs so the shoes can be adapted to any surface as cross-trainers. Different leagues are going to have their own rules. Some youth leagues may not allow metal spikes for safety reasons. You're safe with molded plastic. Though FIFA lacks specific rules regarding soccer cleats, NCAA rules say: "shoes shall be worn by all participants in a game. Shoes with soles containing aluminum, leather, rubber, nylon or plastic cleats, studs or bars, whether molded as part of the sole or detachable, are allowed as long as the referee does not consider them dangerous." (4.4)
Soccer is not considered a contact sport and is generally safe. Some of the more common minor injuries are cuts and bruises from athletes getting spiked by a teammate. A not-so-minor but fairly common injury stems from collision. One trend that seems to be of concern is concussion, particularly among female athletes. Since head gear isn't required, head injuries frequently occur from players crashing into one another while heading the soccer ball. According to sports medicine expert, Dr. David Geier, based on information provided by NCAA, high school women are about twice as likely to suffer a concussion than their male counterparts, and that soccer is the top sport for head injuries. There is a lot of debate about whether head gear should be mandatory. Geier's report adds that contact injuries account for 42.3 percent of all soccer injuries sustained by high school-aged men. Ankle and knee injuries due to running, kicking, and changing direction quickly occurs in moderate numbers, and that women are far more likely to tear their ACLs than men. Coaches advocate proper technique and conditioning for avoiding injury.
FIFA, or Federation Internationale de Football Association was founded in 1904, and based in Zurich, Switzerland. The organization has over 200 member associations.