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How do you play soccer?

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Answered 2016-06-10 03:55:42

Soccer, or Association Football as it's known world-wide (sometimes just called "football", see related questions) is a game played with a spherical ball kicked with the foot or played with any part of the body except the hands and arms, with the objective of putting the ball into the opponent's goal. There are rules regarding how this is done, and hundreds of different strategies, skills, techniques, and philosophies involved in doing so.

First and foremost, soccer is a game meant to be enjoyable, fair, and (relatively) safe. These are the three pillars of sportsmanship and the "spirit of the game". In addition, there are seventeen rules, called the "Laws of the Game", that must be learned and followed in order to play. These laws govern the size and shape of the field (pitch), the ball, and the goals, the number of players and their equipment, substitutions, timing, starting and restarting play, method of scoring, fouls, misconduct, and other infractions and their penalties.

On its face, soccer is a simple game, but higher competitive levels can become quite intense and calculated. Most soccer teams belong to a club, sometimes abbreviated FC or SC. Teams play against each other in leagues and tournaments. Clubs typically belong to an association or federation (why it's called "Association Football"), which may be part of a larger organization. The largest such organization in the world is called FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or in English, the International Association Football Federation), which holds a massive global tournament every four years called the World Cup.

In addition to the Laws of the Game, there are a great number of strategies to the game, and each team or club will have its own variation of basic gameplay. Some elements common to most of them are:

  • Some players are forwards or strikers. These players' job is to get the ball and score a goal.
  • Some players are midfielders and wingers. These players' job is to support the forwards and strikers by helping to keep possession of the ball in the attacking half of the field and setting up attacking situations for them, often by drawing the opponent's defenders out of position.
  • Some players are defenders and sweepers. These players' job is to get the ball away from the opponent's attackers and play it forward so that the others can set up attacking plays and prevent the opponents from scoring.
  • One special player on each team (at a time) is the goalkeeper. The GK's job is to defend the goal at any cost. The GK is the last line of defense against attackers' scoring opportunities, and can be identified by wearing a special jersey different from his or her teammates. The GK has the special ability that they are the only ones allow to touch the ball with their arms or hands, but only within their own penalty area (a box around the goal that is defined in Law 1).
  • Players pass the ball between each other until one of them has an opportunity to score a goal, and the attack is made.
  • The referees are a critical part of soccer, because they call fouls and record goals, and can administer sanctions for misconduct and foul play. If you follow the rules and play fair, the referees will be your friends. If not, you will quickly become frustrated by them. One basic strategy is to not let the referee catch you breaking any rules.
  • When you are ahead in goals and there is little time remaining to play, a common strategy is to play "keep-away" with the other team, just passing the ball around and keeping it away from the opponents, because they can't score if they don't have the ball.

There are as many different ways that these strategies that can be employed as there are teams or clubs who employ them, and it would be impossible to list them all. There are a few key points that will help you be a better player, no matter what strategy your team employs:

  • Be a team player. If everyone simply tries to keep the ball and score the goals and get the glory, the other team's defenders will learn about this and make life hard. Plus, your teammates will be upset about not getting the ball.
  • Play fair. No one likes a teammate who routinely gets called for fouls, which gives the other team a free kick (and sometimes a penalty kick).
  • Play hard. If you're slow and lazy, you won't get the ball very often, and you won't be able to help your team very much on the field.
  • Listen to your coach. They have years of experience with the game, and can see things from a broader perspective. Coaches like players who listen and obey, and those players will get more time in the game.

Soccer is a very old and very complex sport on the competitive level, but the rules are simple to learn. If you're not sure on how to employ strategies, try getting a team to let you practice and eventually play with them. Experience really is the best teacher!

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