Saturday, February 7, 2009

All About Soccer

Soccer Overview

Football is played in accordance with a set of rules known as the Laws of the Game. The game is played using a single spherical ball, known as the football. Two teams of eleven players each compete to get the ball into the other team's goal (between the posts and under the bar), thereby scoring a goal. The team that has scored more goals at the end of the game is the winner; if both teams have scored an equal number of goals then the game is a draw.

Soccer field detail

Games revolving around the kicking of a ball have been played in many countries throughout history. According to FIFA, the "very earliest form of the game for which there is scientific evidence was an exercise of precisely this skilful technique dating back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC in China (the game of cuju)."Various forms of football were played in medieval Europe, though rules varied greatly by both period and location. The modern rules of football are based on the mid-19th century efforts to standardize the widely varying forms of football played at the public schools of England.

Chelsea soccer team at England Soccer Association

Law of the game
There are seventeen laws in the official Laws of the Game. The same Laws are designed to apply to all levels of football, although certain modifications for groups such as juniors, seniors or women are permitted. The laws are often framed in broad terms, which allow flexibility in their application depending on the nature of the game. In addition to the seventeen laws, numerous IFAB decisions and other directives contribute to the regulation of football. The Laws of the Game are published by FIFA, but are maintained by the International Football Association Board, not FIFA itself. The most complex of the Laws is offside. The offside law limits the ability of attacking players to remain forward (i.e. closer to the opponent's goal line) of the ball, the second-to-last defending player (which can include the goalkeeper), and the half-way line.

Players, Equipment and Officials
A number of players may be replaced by substitutes during the course of the game. The maximum number of substitutions permitted in most competitive international and domestic league games is three, though the permitted number may vary in other competitions or in friendly matches. Common reasons for a substitution include injury, tiredness, ineffectiveness, a tactical switch, or time wasting at the end of a finely poised game. In standard adult matches, a player who has been substituted may not take further part in a match. A game is officiated by a referee, who has "full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed" (Law 5), and whose decisions are final. The referee is assisted by two assistant referees. In many high-level games there is also a fourth official who assists the referee and may replace another official should the need arise.

Duration and Tie-Breaking Methods
A standard adult football match consists of two periods of 45 minutes each, known as halves. Each half runs continuously, meaning that the clock is not stopped when the ball is out of play. There is usually a 15-minute half-time break between halves. The end of the match is known as full-time.

The referee is the official timekeeper for the match, and may make an allowance for time lost through substitutions, injured players requiring attention, or other stoppages. This added time is commonly referred to as stoppage time or injury time, and is at the sole discretion of the referee. The referee alone signals the end of the match. In matches where a fourth official is appointed, toward the end of the half the referee signals how many minutes of stoppage time he intends to add. The fourth official then informs the players and spectators by holding up a board showing this number. The signalled stoppage time may be further extended by the referee.Added time was introduced because of an incident which happened in 1891 during a match between Stoke and Aston Villa. Trailing 1–0 and with just two minutes remaining, Stoke were awarded a penalty. Villa's goalkeeper kicked the ball out of the ground, and by the time the ball had been recovered, the 90 minutes had elapsed and the game was over.

In league competitions, games may end in a draw, but in some knockout competitions if a game is tied at the end of regulation time it may go into extra time, which consists of two further 15-minute periods. If the score is still tied after extra time, some competitions allow the use of penalty shootouts (known officially in the Laws of the Game as "kicks from the penalty mark") to determine which team will progress to the next stage of the tournament. Goals scored during extra time periods count toward the final score of the game, but kicks from the penalty mark are only used to decide the team that progresses to the next part of the tournament (with goals scored in a penalty shootout not making up part of the final score).

In competitions using two-legged matches, each team competes at home once, with an aggregate score from the two matches deciding which team progresses. Where aggregates are equal, the away goals rule may be used to determine the winners, in which case the winner is the team that scored the most goals in the leg played away from home. If the result is still equal, kicks from the penalty mark are usually required, though some competitions may require a tied game to be replayed.

Ball In and Out Of Play

Under the Laws, the two basic states of play during a game are ball in play and ball out of play. From the beginning of each playing period with a kick-off until the end of the playing period, the ball is in play at all times, except when either the ball leaves the field of play, or play is stopped by the referee. When the ball becomes out of play, play is restarted by one of eight restart methods depending on how it went out of play:
  • Kick-off: following a goal by the opposing team, or to begin each period of play.
  • Throw-in: when the ball has wholly crossed the touchline; awarded to opposing team to that which last touched the ball.
  • Goal kick: when the ball has wholly crossed the goal line without a goal having been scored and having last been touched by an attacker; awarded to defending team.
  • Corner kick: when the ball has wholly crossed the goal line without a goal having been scored and having last been touched by a defender; awarded to attacking team.
  • Indirect free kick: awarded to the opposing team following "non-penal" fouls, certain technical infringements, or when play is stopped to caution or send-off an opponent without a specific foul having occurred. A goal may not be scored directly from an indirect free kick.
  • Direct free kick: awarded to fouled team following certain listed "penal" fouls.
  • Penalty kick: awarded to the fouled team following a foul usually punishable by a direct free kick but that has occurred within their opponent's penalty area.
  • Dropped-ball: occurs when the referee has stopped play for any other reason, such as a serious injury to a player, interference by an external party, or a ball becoming defective. This restart is uncommon in adult games.

World Soccer Star Diego Maradona