Soccer Basics – A Helpful Guide to Know the Greatest Game on Earth

John Lochert


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Soccer is the most popular sport on earth at this moment as more than 240 million play it. The forbs have predicted that soccer is going to be the 3rd most popular sport in America after American football and basketball.

More and more high school and colleges are introducing their soccer teams, and live broadcast of major soccer leagues like La Liga or English Premier League are getting more popular with American players.

So if you are an aspiring soccer player who wants to up their skill and want to know the soccer basics or some of the rules and terms related to the game, here are some basic rules and regulations, terms for you in this blog post. Or even if you are just a soccer fan who wants to up their knowledge, this post is for you too.

If you have ever wondered how soccer works, probably this article will guide you through it.

1. Basic Soccer Field Terms

Here are some basic field terms of soccer that you must know

soccer ground

1.1 Centerline/Midfield Line

The line that you have seen in the middle of the field is the center line or midfield line. It divides the field into two parts parallel by its width. The two teams position their players in these halves accordingly. It is where the games start during the beginning and again in halftime.

1.2 Center Circle

The Center circle is a 10-yard radius circle in the center of the field. It’s where the kickoffs are started taken when the game is starting or restarting after halftime.

1.3 Penalty Area

The penalty area is a large rectangle you can see in front of the goal area. It is where the goalkeeper is allowed to touch the ball with their hands as well.

1.4 Penalty Mark

A penalty mark is a mark where the penalty shot is taken. The penalty mark is 12 yards away from the goal line.

1.5 Penalty Arch

The penalty arch is at the top of the penalty area. it indicates the players how far they should be from the ball at the time of the penalty shot.

1.6 Goal Box

This term is sometimes used as synonymous with the penalty area. It’s also called goal area sometimes.

1.7 Goal Post

Goal Post is the ultimate target area of every player who is playing soccer. It’s the pair of posts with a large net and this is where the kicks and shots are taken to score in the game.

1.8 Goal Line

It is a line in front of the goal post in which the players aim to score goals. The goalkeeper’s job is to stop the ball from crossing the goal line.

1.9 Touchline/Sideline

Sideline are the lines on each side of the field. The length of the field measures it. Sometimes It’s called the touchline as well.

1.10 Corner Arc

Corner arcs are the 1-yard radius quarter-circles in the four corners of the field. When a player gets the corner kick, they have to kick the ball from that corner arch.

1.11 Corner Flag

The corner flag is situated in the corner arc area of 4 corners in the field.

2. The 17 rules of soccer [Soccer Basic Rules]

These are the basic rule that every player or fan should know. These rules are crucial to understanding the game as it is.

2.1 The Field

FIFA recommends the length between 100 to 130 yards and for width of 50 to 100 yards. The dimensions are fixed. The rules of goal post and field marking is always the same.

2.2 Soccer Ball

The ball should be 28 inches not smaller than 27 inches. The weight of the ball varies from age, but it should not be less than 12oz and more than 16 oz. We have a comprehensive guide on soccer ball sizes as per FIFA’s recommendation.

2.3 The Number of Players

As two teams are playing in a match, each side has to start with 11 members at the beginning of the game. If any of the team has less than seven members, the game won’t take off.

2.4 Essential Equipment for the Players

The uniform is not the only equipment that a soccer player may need. Shirts, shorts, socks, shoes, and shin guards are necessary for a soccer player as well. Keep in mind that electronic communications machines are not allowed to use here.

2.5 Referee

The referee is the one who watches over everything here. He can take any decision regarding the game. The referee makes sure that players are in the right uniform, not using any banned material or behaving accordingly. There is some proper hand gesture referee use for signal and ruling.

2.6 Other Officials

Professional soccer features two more assistant referees. Their main job is calling for offside and throw-ins. They help the main referee to take the right decision. They monitor the sidelines, and goal lines and give the decision on which team should be awarded throw-in or goal-kick.

2.7 Time Limit of the Match

The match takes place in two parts, and each part consists of 45 minutes. The referee can add some extra time due to the time wasted on injury or foul. Usually, the extra time is not more than 10 minutes.

2.8 Rule of Starting and Restarting

When the kick-off is taking place, all players should be at their place. The rulebook has specific rules about the start and restart of a match. It is known as kick-offs, and the coin-toss decides which team will play which side of the field.

2.9 The Rule of the Ball in and Out

Unless the ball passes the goal line or the touchline, the ball is still in the play. The ball is out of the game if the referee has stopped the match or it touches the sideline.

2.10 The Rule of Scoring

If a ball crosses the goal line entirely without any foul then counted legally as a goal. If there is a foul inside the goal box, an updated penalty policy is also there. As a rule of thumb, the team gets more goals declared as the winner.

2.11 The Rule of Offside

A player is considered in an offside position if he is ahead of the ball or two defenders in the opposition’s goal line. If a player scores a goal, but he is in an offside position, the referee will not count this as a goal.

2.12 The Rule for Foul and Misbehavior

Depending on how a player behaves dangerously towards the opposition that may cause physical injury or harm or commit kicks or pushes, there are penal, non-penal, major, and minor fouls. It is one of the most critical and necessary rules to know here. Because lots of new players out there don’t have a clear idea about this.

2.13 Rule of Free Kick

There are different kinds of free kicks. The referee gives them against the team whose player fouled.

2.14 Rule of Penalty Kick

The penalty is given when the defending teams do a major foul like kicking or pushing an attacking team’s member inside the goal box. All the players on defending team can’t stay inside the goal box during the kick.

2.15 Rules of Throw-Ins

Whenever the ball crosses the touchline, it’s considered out of the play. The team whose player did not touch the ball last will get the throw-in.

2.16 Rule of Goal Kick

When the ball goes over the goal line kicked by the attacking team member the defending team gets a goal kick.

2.17 Rule of Corner-kick

It is the same as a goal kick but taken from the corner. If the ball crosses the goal line and touched a team member, the other team gets a corner kick as an award.

3. Soccer Basic Skill Terms

3.1 Passing

Passing is all about giving a teammate the ball. Players are taught to look and pass the ball where their teammates are.

3.2 Crosses

Cross is a type of pass that happens in a large area of the field towards the center of the field or near the opposition’s goal post. It makes it easier to get into the opposition’s half.

3.3 Finishing

The ability of scoring goals and win matches lies mainly in finishing off a team’s strikers. It depends on the skill level of the attacking team.

3.4 Dribbling

It is an excellent way of running with a ball. The swift movement of the player with the ball makes the opposition confused. We all remember greats who had impressive dribbling skills, Like Pele or Maradona.

3.5 Juggling

It is a skill where the goal is to keep the ball in the air as long as possible.

3.6 Controlling

Keeping the ball under control for a long time decides who dominates the match.

3.7 Heading

A crucial skill that is used to either defend or score by using the player’s head.

3.8 Shooting

Shooting is as same as passing, but the aim here is to be passed beyond the goalkeeper and score.

3.9 Receiving

Receiving is when your teammate passes the ball to you, and you take the ball effectively without losing it to the opposition. Keep in mind that receiving the ball in the ground and air has a big difference.

3.10 Tackling

Tackling is the skill of taking away the ball from the opponent without committing any fouls.

3.11 Intercepting

Intercepting is when a player intentionally obstructs a pass of the opposing team by moving into the line of the intended pass.

4. Basic soccer gear terms

4.1 Soccer Ball

soccer ball

The soccer ball is the most essentials of soccer as it is the thing needed to play. We have an in-detail guide on soccer ball types, construction, and sizes.

4.2 Soccer Cleats

soccer cleat

It is a specialized shoe for soccer players that give the best support and traction.

4.3 Shin Guards

soccer shin guard

It is a protective guard for the shin. It’s for protecting the player from hits from the ball and kick off the opposition.

4.4 Soccer Socks

Soccer socks are long socks that go as far as near the shin guard.

4.5 Uniform

FIFA requires the players to wear their team uniform. It includes a complete jersey, shorts, and socks.

4.6 Goalkeeper Gloves

goalkeeper gloves

The goalkeeper gloves give support to the wrists, and the goalkeeper allows to move the finger.

4.7 Soccer Bag

A backpack that can keep all the necessary things for a player is needed in soccer.

4.8 Water Bottle

As the players have to run a lot in the warm weather, hydration is a must in football.

4.9 Soccer Net

soccer goal

Soccer net is where the ball goes when shot by the player.

Final Words

These were all the must-know things for soccer. Although knowing this will not make you a better soccer player but knowing the rules will undoubtedly give you an edge over time. If you are a total beginner, please remember that one of the key rules of this game is that you cannot touch the ball with your hand while playing. It is a serious offense and may cost your team. So keep in mind those soccer basics with rules and give your best.