What is soccer? Learn About Soccer in 10 Minutes

If you know nothing about soccer at all, then this guide is for you. I have been a soccer fan for more than 10 years and I am happy to share with you everything I know about soccer on this blog.

Everything you need to know about soccer will be discussed either in this article or in other articles on this blog, so make sure you stick around. Without further ado, let’s get started…

What is soccer?

In very simple words, soccer is a group game where 2 teams compete against each other and the team who scores the most goals during the game is announced as the winner.

Each team has their own net which they have to defend. For a team to score a goal, they are supposed to land the ball inside the opponent’s net using any part of their body except their hands.

This is how a professional soccer field looks like

If you want to play soccer so badly, don’t panic. You don’t need this huge field in order to play soccer. All you need is a small space somewhere around your home, 2 sticks to form a goal(the net is usually called a goal, I guess you know why by now) on each side of the chosen space and you’re good to go.

I’ll talk more about where and how you can play soccer later in future articles but for now, let’s focus on the professional soccer games.

How is soccer played?

You now have a general idea about what soccer is, and it’s time to talk about how you can play soccer.

Professional soccer requires that each team have 11 players on the field, but if you’re playing it with friends, you can just pick any number of players you want on each team.

All of the team players wear the same color except one, and that one is the goal keeper.

The goalkeeper’s job is to block any ball shots towards their team’s goal. Usually, the goalkeeper stays close to their goal during the whole soccer match.

The rest of the team players’ main purpose is to shoot the ball inside the opponent’s goal. The way they do that is by spreading on the field and passing the ball to each other until one of them is close enough to shoot the ball and score a goal.

Soccer Formations

If you know nothing about soccer, the first thing that might come to your mind when you are told about the soccer rules is that all of the players on the field are supposed to chase the ball in a very unorganized way and attempt to score a goal.

But this is not the case in professional soccer for many reasons. The team players use proper formations on the field and divide their roles in order to win the game. You need to know that each time divides themselves into 4 groups, and these groups are the following.

1- The goalkeeper

Only one player on the team is allowed to be a goalkeeper, and they usually stay very close to their goal during the whole game (only a few feet/meters away from the goal). They are the only player who can touch the ball with their hands inside a certain area on the field (more about this later in this article).

The goalkeeper is supposed to get themselves ready whenever the opponent approaches their goal. They keep an eye on the ball all the time and they jump to block the ball whenever an opponent tries to shoot the ball towards their goal.

2- The defenders

The defenders usually consist of 3 to 5 players and their main job is to block any opponent from getting close with the ball to the goal.

Whenever the ball gets close to the goal, the defenders are supposed to try and take the ball from the opponent and pass it forward to their teammates.

3- The Midfielders

The midfielders usually consist of 3 to 5 players and they are considered the connection between the defense and the attack.

As the name implies, the midfielders usually stay close to the middle of the field. Their main job is to take the ball from their defense players and try to pass it to the attackers so that they can score a goal.

They say that whoever controls the midfield controls the game.

Midfielders are also supposed to steal the ball from the opponent if the ball is somewhere inside the middle of the field.

4- The attackers

The attackers usually consist of 1 to 3 players. As you might have guessed, their job is to score goals.

They usually stay close to the opponent’s goal and they wait for their teammates to toss the ball to them. Once they have the ball, their main objective becomes to shoot the ball towards the opponent’s net and score a goal.

Note that this distribution of the team players on the field isn’t a strict soccer rule, but almost every single professional soccer club uses this distribution because it has proven to be very effective during any soccer match.

Any player can take any role on the field. For example, midfielders and defenders can totally run towards the opponent’s goal and try to score a goal.

There is no soccer rule that prevents any player from trying to score or break their team formation. However formations are usually followed to maximize the efficiency of the team on the field.

Also note that the number of players in each group mentioned above depends on the soccer formation that the team coach decides. Here’s a quick example.

A soccer formation of 4-3-3 means that there are 4 defenders, 3 midfielders and 3 attackers on the field.

There are many different soccer formations that team coaches use. The choice of which soccer formation to use depends on many factors including the opponent, the available players on the team, the coach tactics themselves and so much more.

Here’s a more detailed article about different soccer formations that I have written if you want to learn more about what soccer formations are and which ones do couches usually pick.

I believe that by now, you already have a proper knowledge about what soccer is and how is it played professionally, but what about the soccer rules? What are they?

What are the basic rules in soccer?

You can’t play soccer without knowing the soccer rules can you? Here’s a tiny list of some of the most important soccer rules that you need to know.

1 – No player is allowed to touch the ball with their hands except the goalkeeper

Soccer players are allowed to use any part of their body to touch the ball except their hands. 

Most of the time, the players will be touching the ball with their feet, but there are many other cases in which the players are supposed to touch the ball with other parts of their body.

For example, Players can score goals using their head. If a ball is flying and they are close enough, they can jump and hit the ball with their head to score a goal. Learn more about heading a soccer ball here.

Also, if the ball is flying towards a player, the player usually takes the ball with their chest in order to stop it.

Only goalkeepers are allowed to touch the ball with their hand. But not on all parts of the field. The goalkeeper is only allowed to touch the ball with their hands when they are inside the penalty area.

Here’re the penalty areas in case you don’t know.

2 – The ball is supposed to stay inside the boundaries of the soccer field. 

The ball should remain inside the soccer field. Let’s say that the teams are called A and B. If team A was the last to touch the ball before it went off the field boundaries, then team B gets the ball.

3 – No aggressive tackles allowed

Player’s aren’t supposed to hurt each other. Usually, players tackle each other in order to steal the ball. Some tackles are allowed, but aggressive tackles that might cause damage to the tackled player are strictly prohibited in soccer.

4 – No grabbing allowed

Players are not allowed to grab each other during the game. If you grab your opponent from their shirt or from any other part of their body, they’ll get a foul

5 – Players aren’t allowed to take their shirts off during the match

If a player takes their shirt off as a form of celebration after scoring a goal, they’ll get a warning from the referee.

6- The offside rule

This rule might be a little complicated to people who don’t know soccer a lot, but here’s a very simple explanation of the rule:

If you are a player on team A, and you are standing somewhere on the field where there is no opponent player between you and the opponent’s goal line other than the opponent’s goalkeeper, then you are not allowed to take the ball from any of your teammates who are behind you.

In case you are interested in learning more about all the soccer rules that you need to know in order to become confident in playing or watching soccer, then this article is for you[Internal link].

With the information stated above, you can now grab a ball, a group of your friends and start playing soccer somewhere around your house.

Let’s discuss some more soccer related things before we end this article.

What is the difference between soccer and football?

If you live in the United States of America, then soccer is the game where people pass the ball to each other using their feet, while football is the game where players are supposed to grab the ball with their hands and run towards the goal.

However, in almost every other country around the world, football and soccer refer to the same game, the game that we are discussing in this article.

Soccer is widely known as football in most countries around the world. The NFL football is known as the “American Football” around the world.

Note that soccer is also called Association Football, but the term association football isn’t used very often.

So in short. If you live in the USA, then soccer and football refer to different sports. If you don’t live in the USA, then soccer and football are the exact same game.

In case you are interested in knowing more about why this name difference exists, you can check this business insider article about the topic.

The history of soccer

Let’s talk a little bit about history. I promise this won’t be as boring as the history that you study/studied at school.

As you may have already heard, the modern version of soccer that we know today has started in England. The name comes from there too.

However, it took England and the world a while to agree on standard rules that should be abided whenever a professional soccer game is held.

When soccer stared in England and later in other parts of the world, each country and even each part of a country had their own rules of how to play soccer, but after many meetings and discussions, the standard rules of soccer that we know today were born.

It’s true that modern soccer has started in England, however, soccer’s history exists way before that. According to this “Football history” article, different versions of soccer were played since more than 3000 years ago.

Early versions of soccer are as old as the Ancient Greece civilization. However, the game was much more violent then than it is now.

How popular is soccer today?

Sports fans usually love to argue about the popularity of the sport that they watch and love. So, in case you become a soccer fan after this article, you have all the right to brag about how much popular soccer is around the world.

Soccer is THE MOST POPULAR SPORTS IN THE WORLD. It might not be very popular in the USA (that’s changing), but it is with no doubt the most popular sport in the world.

According to FIFA, there are about 3.572 Billion people who watched the FIFA world cup tournament in 2018. 

For those who don’t know, The FIFA world cup is a soccer competition that is held every 4 years in which 32 countries compete against each other to win the world cup title. More details about the world cup will be shared with you in future articles.

Almost half of the world’s population watched the soccer world cup in 2018. The number is just insane, and it shows how much popularity soccer has gained throughout the years.

With that said, it’s time to end this article. But before I do that, I would like to introduce you to some of the best soccer clubs and soccer players of our generation.

Here’s a list of some of the top soccer clubs around the world in no particular order

  • Liverpool FC (England)
  • Real Madrid (Spain)
  • Bayern München (Germany) 
  • Barcelona (Spain)
  • Manchester City (England)
  • Paris Saint-Germain (France)
  • Juventus (Italy)

Here’s a list of some of the top soccer players around the world in no particular order

  • Lionel Messi (Argentina)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
  • Neymar (Brazil)
  • Eden Hazard (Belgium)
  • Mohammed Salah (Egypt)
  • Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
  • Manuel Neuer (Germany)

Thank you for reading this far, here’s a summary of what you have just read.

  • Soccer is a fun game of 2 teams trying to score goals against each other
  • Teams are spread across the field and each have their own position and purpose
  • The one main rule that is widely known about soccer is that players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands.
  • Different forms of soccer existed 3000 years ago
  • Soccer is the most popular game in the world