Soccer or football as it is commonly referred to, is one of the most popular sports around the globe. Games similar to soccer have existed since the ancient world. China once played a game known as tsu chu. This was developed around the year 1697 B.C.E, but was not the first football game. The Roman Empire also had ball kicking games as well. Some sources suggest that there were also football games played in North Africa and Britain during this period. Some historians put the date of a prototypical model of football developing around 300 B.C.E in China. Modern day soccer did not come until a set of recognized rules were established in 1863. Soccer is a team sport that consists of a number of players. The team maintains ten outfielders. This includes defenders, midfielders, and strikers. Each team has a goalie which will prevent  opposing members from making a score. Players are not allowed to use their hands with the ball. Players will face penalties for fouls ( tackling a player for example). The soccer field itself has a particular arrangement. Opposite ends have a goal and a penalty area. There is also a corresponding penalty arc. The field has a halfway line dividing the field.


The middle of the field contains a center circle. There are also corner arcs on the four angles of the rectangular field. The grass can be real or artificial. The Football Association has made a standard set of rules for the game. This is to simplify the game and have it standardized internationally.

Laws of the Game

  • The field of play
  •  The Ball
  • The number of players
  • The player’s equipment
  • The referee
  • The assistant referee
  • The duration of the match
  • The start and restart of play
  • The ball in and out of play
  • Method of scoring
  • Offside
  • Fouls and misconduct
  • Free kicks
  • The penalty kick
  • The throw-in
  • The goal kick
  • corner kick

These are the basic rules with each having particular stipulations. Prior to 1863 the rules were not standardized like this.

Besides the rules and the field the ball is the most important object. Sphere shaped with black patches it has become an icon unto itself. The reason a round ball is used is to allow for the ball to be kicked easier. This gives players more control when making passes. This gives the game a more free flow pace. If it were any other shape passes would be difficult to perform.

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Oval shaped balls which are used in American football are designed to be thrown. They can be kicked, but not like a soccer ball. The soccer ball must have proper air inflation. FIFA for example has guidelines in regards to proper air pressure levels.

       Women’s participation in modern soccer started in the 1960s. The US is known for not having an intense interest in soccer, but American girls participation has increased. Globally women are playing more football than in the past. Women from Asia, South America, and Europe  compete in the Women’s World Cup. Americans do have a team, but the excitement seems to be lacking. To them their idea of football is American football. However, this has not deterred American women’s involvement. By 1991 3.5 million US teenage girls were playing soccer.



Truly an a game of the world, pictured here are the Nigerian and Chinese women’s teams.

Women’s entry into soccer could have started earlier. Before the twentieth century women did play a game known as stoolball. This did not resemble modern day soccer, but the concepts seemed similar. Soccer has over the years become an international phenomenon. Millions around the world watch games.

Further Reading

Sherrow, Victoria. Encyclopedia of Women and Sports. Santa Barbara:ABC-CLIO,1996.

Binder, Julee. Ultimate Visual Dictionary. New York: DK Publishing, 1998.


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