The Soccer Rules Simplified

It is important to know the rules of the game you are playing, so in this section we will discuss soccer rules.

What is Soccer?

Soccer is a team sport that is played with a spherical ball. The aim of the game is to score by kicking the ball into the opponent’s goal.

The history of soccer starts in 1830s England when children would kick around balls made out of inflated pig bladders and cork shavings. It didn’t take long before this game became more popular than cricket. It is believed that modern soccer was developed from association football, which was played by adults in Great Britain and Ireland.

Soccer is a very popular sport in the world. It’s played in almost every country by both adults and children and has a huge audience.

Rules of the Game

The players have to follow a set of rules in order to play soccer, making it one of the most popular sports in the world. It is also played on a wide variety of surfaces, such as grass, turf or artificial turf. The ball can be made from either leather or synthetic materials. The twelfth player on each team.

To score a goal in soccer you have to get the ball past your opponent’s goalie and into their net without using your hands and all other parts of your body except for your feet and head.

The Duration of the Match

Soccer matches are 90 minutes long. Two halves of 45 minutes each. That’s the international standard set by FIFA. However, some soccer matches are longer than that. The duration of a soccer match is dependent on a number of factors such as stoppages and score differences.

Sometimes if two teams have scored an equal number of goals at the end of the game, then it will be declared as a draw. Or additional half can be appointed.

The longest soccer match was played between English clubs Stockport County and Doncaster Rovers in 1946 and it lasted for three hours and twenty-three minutes.

The Ball

The ball used in soccer is different from the ball used in American football. In soccer, a solid rubber or synthetic ball is used. The ball should be about 68–70 cm (27–28 inches) in circumference.

The football, or soccer ball, is a sphere with hexagonal panels sewn together. The panels are made from synthetic leather and organic rubber, which allows for a certain amount of elasticity and durability. This design helps to create an even distribution of air pressure across the surface area of the ball, while also decreasing wear-and-tear over time.

The Players’ Equipment

The soccer player’s equipment consists of a pair of football boots for kicking the ball, which have metal studs on the soles to help grip the ground; shin guards to protect his or her legs; a shirt (called a “jersey”) and shorts; and socks with rubber soles.

The Field of Play

Soccer field sizes can be 110-120 yards (100-110 meters) long by 70–80 yards (64-75 meters) wide. FIFA recommendations for field dimensions in professional soccer are 105 meters in length and 68 meters in width.

The Field Zones

Division of the football field into 2 zones

The soccer field can be divided into two zones – the opponent’s and your own. The opponents in the game are not only those players you face, but also those who are in the same zone as you.

The Field Zones

Dividing the football field across into 3 zones

Also, the soccer field is divided into three zones: The defending zone, the midfield zone and the attacking zone.

  • The defending zone is closest to the goalie. It is imperative for any player that starts in this area to be able to defend against a counterattack. This area also incorporates the goal box.
  • In the midfield, players are most often looking to create chances through dribbling, passing or shooting – depending on their position on the field and what they’re trying to achieve for their team.
  • The attacking zone is furthest away from the goal with all players in this area looking to score a goal or create a chance by getting past defenders and crossing into a dangerous position near or in front of the goal post.
Dividing the football field across into 3 zones

Dividing the football field lengthwise into 3 zones

Two zones at the edges (flanks) and one central.

Dividing the football field lengthwise into 3 zones

Positions on the Field, Roles and Responsibilities of Players

In soccer, positions are determined by the player’s movements on the field during gameplay.


The goalkeeper is the one player in a team who is allowed to touch the ball with their hands. The goalkeeper defends against any shots at goal that are taken from close range and sometimes goes away from their goal area to intercept a pass or to stop a through ball.

Goalkeepers in soccer are usually the last line of defense. Those who play this position are often very tall, and this gives them an advantage over most players.

Goalkeepers have a much more important job than just stopping goals. They also have an important role in directing other players on how best to defend against an attack. And they take part in organisation their team’s defensive game plan.

Goalkeepers wear different coloured kits from the rest of the team. This is so they can be better seen by the referee and other players on the pitch, which helps avoid confusion during play.


A soccer defender’s main responsibility is to protect and defend their team’s goal as well as the other players on the field. They typically try to block the ball away from opponents who are trying to score.

Blocking shots, tackling opponents, and defending against attacks are typical responsibilities of a defender.

A centre-back or central defender is a defensive player who protects his or her team’s goal. In the game of soccer, this player usually defends in the area near the goal which is called the penalty area or box.

A centre-back must have excellent defensive skills and usually, the ability to anticipate an opponent’s attack. He should also have enough physical strength to hack down an opponent and clear a loose ball from his own penalty area without being penalized for handling it.

The person playing as a centre-back needs to be able to read plays well as he must be able to react quickly in order to keep an opposing player from scoring on his team’s goal.

The sweeper is a player in the team who specializes in defensive play, with a key duty being to sweep up the opposition’s loose balls.

The sweeper is usually positioned behind the defenders as to provide protection and safety from any attacking players. As such, they typically need to be quick on their feet and possess good ball playing skills.

The full-backs or the left-back and the right-back are defenders that are situated on either side of the field, which is behind the center backs. They may be a defender who plays on one side of the pitch, but as they face each other they are still considered to be in opposite positions. The full-backs play a crucial role in defense as they need to keep a check on both sides of the pitch.

They usually have more space to cover than their opposites but they also have more opportunities to initiate attacking plays. Full-backs must act as an extra midfielder when their team is in possession and provide support for attack, while simultaneously marking opposition wingers that cross over into their zone.

A wing-back is a whole-field defender who has the ability to take on an attacker in a one-to-one situation, and who supports the team with long passes.


A soccer midfielder is a player that specializes in playing in a midfield. Midfielders are usually positioned somewhere between the forwards and defenders on the field, and their main responsibility is to maintain possession of the ball.

The most important attribute for this position is for midfielders to possess exceptional creativity on the ball. Different players may have different preferences for how they like to play, but generally it’s important that they have a strong sense of what’s going on in the game. They need to be able to assert themselves and control play, while also being creative with their passes and touches.

A centre midfielder is a player who occupies the position of the center midfielder. This player is responsible for creating chances and defenses for their team in a soccer game.

The centre midfielder’s main task is to create chances and protect the defence. The best players in this position are able to dictate the tempo of play and create chances.

They need to be physically strong, have good vision, be able to win balls from opponents, have good distribution skills, be able to control games and possess leadership qualities.

The defensive midfielder is the player in the team who specializes in defending and maintaining organization and balance on the field.

The defensive midfielder is a position that requires a player to be proficient at both defending (stopping the other team from scoring) and possessing (keeping possession of, and passing or shooting with, the ball). The term “defensive midfielder” may be used interchangeably with “holding midfielder”, as they both specialize at retrieving possession.

An attacking midfielder is a midfielder who is positioned in an advanced midfield position near the opponents’ goal, typically around the penalty area. The role of these players varies from team to team.

There are two major variants of attacking midfielders: inside forwards and deep-lying forwards. A classic example of a deep-lying forward would be David Beckham.

Wide midfielders are responsible for a lot of things in the game. They need to be able to hold up the ball, dribble and pass it. They also need to have good positioning in defense.

Some people think that they should just focus on attacking but others think that they should do both attacking and defending equally well because they require such different skillsets and it’s difficult to master both skillsets at the same time.


Forwards (or strikers) play a very important role in soccer. They’re usually the players that score the majority of the goals for their team.

A forward is positioned near the opponents’ goal and is responsible for scoring goals.

The position requires a player to have great technique, teamwork, attacking skill.

A centre forward is a player who typically plays in the middle of the front line, and is often the tallest player on the pitch. The centre-forward’s main function is to score goals and create chances for other players, but they may also be assigned to track back and defend.

The position of a centre forward in soccer is one of great responsibility, as it involves taking many shots on goal. Centre forwards are also usually good at heading the ball because it allows them to use their larger body frame and height to their advantage.


The offside position is a rule in soccer that stops the opposing team from taking advantage of an open goal. A player is said to be offside if, at the moment a teammate plays the ball towards the opponents’ goal-line and the player is nearer to that goal line than both the ball and an opponent.


A player can only be offside if they are in front of a defender when their teammate kicks or passes them the ball. If, for example, a defender jumps ahead of a forward and they both take off from their positions on an identical horizontal line across from each other (meaning they are on side), then if one was to kick or pass it forward to his teammate there would be no infraction.

Penalty Kick

Penalty kicks are awarded when a player commits an infraction within the penalty area. The team that committed the infraction will have to defend against the penalty kick and cannot defend their goal themselves. The kicker has to stay within ten yards of the ball, and they have to shoot it with their foot or head inside the shooting arc. If they make contact with the ball outside of that they will not be able to score a goal on this occasion.

Penalty shootout is used to decide who will be awarded a goal if both teams scored the same amount of goals, these are governed by slightly different rules.

Goal Kicks and Corner Kicks

A goal kick occurs when the ball goes out of play over the goal line, either on the ground or in the air. It is taken from a spot in front of and level with the point where the ball went out of play. It must be taken by a player who was on the field of play at that time and he must not touch anyone else. He must also not touch any part of either goal, while he is taking a penalty kick or within six yards from it when he takes another type of free kick.

A corner kick occurs when a player sends a ball out of bounds over his own end line, except on their own side of halfway, from where it can be touched in again by any member of his team. The ball is then out for that player’s side to defend and they cannot be tackled by an opponent until they touch it.

Yellow Cards and Red Cards in Soccer

The yellow card is a caution given to players in soccer. It is a warning that they are close to being expelled from the game. A yellow card is given by the referee when a player commits certain offences, such as showing dissent, unsporting behaviour or fouling an opponent. A player who has been shown a yellow card can still carry on playing but can’t be shown another one.

A player who has been given two yellow cards in the same match will be shown a red card and expelled from the game.

When a referee judges that a player has committed an act of misconduct in the course of the game, he or she may show that player a red card. This means that they are ejected from the game and cannot be replaced.

When somebody is shown a red card, this typically means they are disqualified from playing for the rest of the match. The team still has to play with one less person on the field.

The red card is given to a player for dissent by using the following signals:

  • denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity with a handball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within their penalty area)
  • denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity with a foul (unless the referee awards a penalty and it was an attempt to play the ball)
  • serious foul play
  • biting or spitting at someone
  • violent conduct
  • using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or action(s)
  • receiving a second caution in the same match

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