The game of soccer, also known as football when outside of America, has been a popular sport around the world for many years. Simply put, the game consists of two teams of eleven players maneuvering a sphere shaped ball back and forth down a grass field without being allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms. Points are scored when the ball is kicked into the opposing team’s goal at the end of the field. The game is divided into two halves, each running 45 minutes, with a 15 minute break between the halves.
Setting soccer apart from other sports games is that each half is counted continuously, not only in play time, so the clock keeps running even if the ball is out of play, such as after an out-of-bounds kick. It is unlikely to see very high scores at the end of a professional game, given that each goal is only worth one point, and the inability to throw or grab the ball makes it that much more difficult to drive it down the field. In fact, an average soccer game may see a final score of 2-1, or 3-2.
The most anticipated event in the game of soccer is the FIFA World Cup, held once every four years. During these four years over 190 different teams compete with each other internationally to earn a coveted place in the finals and achieve the title of World Champions. Each continent also has its own soccer federation in which their teams compete with each other for ranking. These include Europe’s UEFA, America’s COMMEBOL, Africa’s CAF, and Asia’s AFC. Soccer competitions are also part of the Summer Olympic sporting events; although since the inception of the World Cup less emphasis has been placed on the importance of these games.
However, soccer does not only provide enjoyment on the professional level. It is also a popular sport among grade school and high school sports teams, as well as being a common activity in PE classes and club sports in neighborhoods or community centers. This can partially be attributed to the fact that soccer is a very active sport which keeps players constantly moving, since the most effective way to move the ball is to kick it while running. For this reason, it is seen as a very healthy activity for youth to engage in and is highly encouraged. For younger children it is also enjoyable because the constant activity allows less down time for them to lose interest or get distracted. Children’s soccer is played much the same way as professional soccer, but the length of each half of the game or the size of the field may be cut down depending on the age of the players.
Regardless of whether played on the professional or amateur level, soccer is a highly enjoyable sport for people of all ages. Whether a spectator or player, soccer provides fast paced action and encourages good health and sportsmanship, all while never having the opportunity to be boring.