17 Laws of Soccer
Law 1: The Field of Play: Field must be rectangular in shape, surface must be green in color, and distinctly marked by two short goal lines and two long touch. The field should be divided in halves at the half way mark. At the midpoint of the halfway line, is a marked center point surrounded by a lined center circle with a radius of 10 yards. The opposite team players are not allowed to enter the circle during the possessing team's kick off.
- Touch line: minimum 100 yards, maximum 130 yards
- Width of goal line: minimum 50 yards, maximum 100 yards
- Eight-yard wide goal centered along goal line
- 6 yards from each goal post along the goal line and 6 yards out into the field is the goal box
- Extending 18 yards from each goal post along the goal line and 18 yards out into the field is the penalty box
- In each of the four corners of the field is a 5-ft high corner flag
Law 2: The Ball: Must be spherical in shape and made of leather or another comparable medium. The circumference must be in the range of 27 to 28 inches. This rule only applies to official sanctioned matches, as youth leagues may use a smaller ball.
Law 3: The Number of Players: Two teams, 11 to a side. (goalkeeper included) If a team can't find a minimum of 7 players at match time, the game is a forfeit. FIFA-sanctioned matches are generally limited to 3 substitutions per a match. Youth leagues typically allow an unlimited amount of substitutions. Substitutions may only enter at the halfway line, after the referee's approval, and after the player being subbed out has left the field.
Law 4: The Players' Equipment: All players are required to wear a jersey, shin guards, shorts, socks, and cleats. The socks must completely cover the shin guards.
Law 5: The Referee: The referee is the authority on field. If you question a referee's decision , you can be disciplined.
Law 6: The Assistant Referees: Are primarily responsible for assisting the referee in performing his tasks- this includes signaling with a flag when a ball goes out of play, when a player is in an offside position, or when a player is fouled.
Law 7: The Duration of the Match: Two 45-minute halves, with extra time added for each at the referee's decision. Although soccer has an allotted time limit, it is ultimately the referee's decision when to end a match.
Law 8: The Start and Restart of Play: Kick-off is generally decided by a coin toss where the winning team can either choose to start off with the ball or choose which goal they would like to attack. Kick-off occurs at the start of each half, and after each goal scored, and is taken at the center of the halfway line. If a team scores a goal, the opposite team is given the kick-off to restart the match.
Law 9: The Ball In and Out of Play: The ball is out of play when it fully crosses either the goal line or the touch line. It's also out of play when if the referee stops the play for any reason. If the ball strikes the frame of the goal or the referee remains within the goal and touch lines, it still is in play.
Law 10: The Method of Scoring: A goal is scored when the ball has crossed the goal line within the frame of the goal. At the end of the game, the team with the most goals, is determined the winner.
Law 11: Offside: When an attacking player receives the ball while on his opponents half, he must be level or behind the second to last defender. This rule only applies if he is involved with the play.
Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct:
Awarded direct free goal kick:
- Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
- Trips or attempts to trip an opponent
- Jumps at an opponent
- Charges an opponent
- Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
- Pushes an opponent
- Tackles an opponent
- Holds an opponent
- Spits at an opponent
- Handles the ball deliberately
Indirect free kicks:
- Plays in a dangerous matter
- Impedes the progress of an opponent
- Prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his/her hands
- Commits any other unmentioned offense
- Unsporting behavior
- Dissent by word or action
- Persistent infringement of the Laws of the Game
- Delaying the restart of play
- Failure to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, free kick, or throw-in
- Entering or re-entering the field of play without the referee's permission
- Deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee's permission
- Serious foul play
- Violent conduct
- Spitting at an opponent or any other person
- Denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball
- Denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick
- Using offensive or abusive language and/or gestures
- Receiving a second yellow card in the same match
Law 13: Free Kicks: Two categories, direct and indirect. A direct kick can be shot directly into the opponent's goal without touching another player. An indirect kick is indicated by the referee raising his hand during the kick. An indirect kick can only go into the goal if it has subsequently been touched by another player before it enters the goal.
Law 14: The Penalty Kick: Awarded either when a defensive players fouls an attacking player or commits a handball in his/her team's penalty area. Penalty kick is placed at the penalty spot, and all players must remain outside the penalty box during the shot. The goalkeeper may move horizontally along the goal line before the shot is taken, but he may not come off the line until the ball is struck.
Law 15: The Throw-In: Awarded when the possessing team plays the balls out of bounds over the touchline. A player must release the ball with both hands simultaneously and keep both feet firmly on the ground. Players are not allowed to score directly off a throw-in.
Law 16:The Goal Kick: Awarded when the offensive team plays the ball out of bounds over the defensive team's goal line. After the ball is out of play, the defender or goalkeeper may place the ball anywhere within the 6 yard goal box and kick the ball back into play.
Law 17: The Corner Kick: Awarded to the offensive team when the defensive team plays the ball out of bounds over the goal line. The ball is placed within the corner area and is kicked back into play by the offensive team. Players can score directly off a corner kick.
How Soccer is Played
Each team will have 11 players on the field. There are two halves, each 45 minutes. The objective is to score the ball into the opposing teams goal. You may not use your hands in soccer unless you are throwing the ball in from the outside or you are the goalkeeper. You score a goal with your feet. You can dribble the ball down the field, and make passes to other players on your team. The opposing team will also be after the ball so you have to be aware of your teammates. The team that has the most points at the end of the game, wins.
- Forward: play closest to the opponent's goal; AKA strikers or attackers; main job is offense and to score goals; forwards must be fast and able to dribble the ball well
- Wing Forward: plays to right or left of the field; their main job is to dribble the ball quickly up the sidelines and then center the ball with a pass to the center forward
- Center Forward: objective is to score goals; they should be fast and aggressive
- Midfielders: play mostly around the middle of the field; both offensive and defensive responsibility; need to be able to dribble and pass the ball up to the forwards
- Center Midfielder: usually leader of the team; heavily involved in the attack; shoot goals from long distance
- Defenders: play closest to their own goal; task is to stop the other team from scoring
- Sweeper: responsibility to pick up any undefended or unmarked player that enters the penalty area
- Goalkeeper: stand in the goal; block the other team from scoring
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