Being a fan of something has to start somewhere, right? Maybe it’s your football-crazed best friend who influenced you or the World Cup hype bug snatched you. It doesn’t really matter what you’re reason is, you’re not alone. Football is a popular sport that a lot of young Americans enjoy watching religiously, and it’s one of the quickest-growing spectator sports in the US. Just like basketball, it’s most popular among 18 to 54-year-olds and even bigger than baseball.
So, if you’re a newbie to this sport, it’s not only about owning retro international football shirts. A fan must be able to understand how the game works. If you want to know more about it, then we’re to help you on your journey of becoming a certified football fan.
Basics of Football
Football is not normally called “football” to avoid confusion. Rugby, American football, and soccer all originated from the same game. They’re like codes on how to play the game. In America, the national governing body of soccer formerly had ‘football’ in its official name and ‘soccer’ was a term that was commonly used in England before the 1970s.
Soccer is highly conversation, unlike other sports where the rules can be changed every season. These rules are called the “The Laws of the Game” and can only be modified by the representatives of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland through a meeting. This is why having changes is very rare and the rules are equally straightforward.
You can read the copy of these from FIFA, the international governing body for soccer that operates the World Cup. Most likely you are already familiar with the World Cup, it’s the largest tournament in soccer that features 32 National Teams that meet the requirements by region.
This sport has rules and most of the time it can be really confusing. Here are some of them:
“Why is that not a foul? He barely touched him.” (Yes, it is but he didn’t touch him)
“Why was he out of balance there?” (The linesman is in complete shambles)
“Why is that a handball?” (Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who’s figuring it out.)
The soccer field
Just like baseball, there are no stable field dimensions. Rather, minimums and maximums are used in soccer that allows fields to fit within those dimensions. The length needs to be somewhere between 100 yards and 130 yards and the wideness between 50 and 100 yards. That’s a huge difference, so the rules are becoming stricter for international games. This game has 110 and 120 yards that are required for the fields and that are between 70 and 80 yards wide. Whatever the overall size is, the goal which is 8 feet high by 8 yards wide, the six-yard box in front of the goal, and the 18-yard box all need to be exactly those dimensions.
Good thing is, a lot of American NFL stadiums and college football arenas can usually fit a regulation soccer field meeting the international requirement. However, some can’t, with the latest NFL stadiums usually built with soccer in mind. Why? It’s because it’s profitable to host soccer games at NFL stadiums. In addition, the field is also called the ‘pitch’ which is a jargon term in soccer.
The game lasts for about 90 minutes including stoppage time at the highest level. There are two halves of 45 minutes each and both finish after the stoppage time. If you don’t know what stoppage time is, you must understand that the clock doesn’t end in soccer, the referee just adds time back at the end of every half to make up for pauses in play. The referee determines how much time will be added, but it’s not exact. This means that the 90-minute game usually lasts 94 minutes or longer at the judgment of the referee. When it comes to soccer, players continue to play and only stop when the referee blows the whistle.
The soccer ball
Soccer balls vary in size and they depend on the player. For example, a young player may use a size 3, increasing to size 4 as he or she gets older, and in due course use the regulation adult size 5 ball. These balls before were made of leather, have laces and are not waterproof. Just imagine if that is still used today and you’re kicking it around on a wet field. Today, a modern soccer ball is commonly made with a plastic covering and is light.
There is only one referee on the field who is responsible for the whistle and the cards. You might be wondering what those cards are. There are yellow or red cards in soccer and the referee raised them when punishment is doled out. When a yellow card is raised, a player gets warned for not following the rules. And if the incident is serious, the referee will hold up a red card. This means that the player needs to leave the game for good, and his team is unable to place him in a sub. The team plays with 10 players instead of 11 players which is called the ‘playing a man down. And if the same player gets two yellow cards it’s also equivalent to a red and sending him off.