Some basic rules for the game we love…
The object of the Game
To win a football match, a team needs to score more goals then the opponents! The 90 minute playing time is split up into two halves of 45 minutes. In between each half, players take a 15 minute break known as “half time”. Any time added on by the referee (“extra” or “injury” time) will be played after the 90 minutes is over. Players use their feet to kick the ball but can also use their head, or any other part of their body apart from their hands/arms. Goalkeepers who can use any part of their body within the 18 yard box.
Players & Equipment
Each team consists of 11 players. These are made up of one goalkeeper and ten “outfield” players. The pitch dimensions are roughly 120 yards long and 75 yards wide. On each pitch you will have a “6 yard box” next to the goal mouth, an “18 yard box” (which includes 6 yard box) and a centre circle on the “half way line”. Each half of the pitch is a mirror image of the other. The goal itself consists of a frame measuring 8 feet high and 8 yards wide.
The equipment needed for a soccer match is a pitch and a football. Additionally players may wear studded football boots, shin pads and matching team shirts or “strips”. Goalkeepers also wear padded gloves as they are the only players allowed to handle the ball. Each team will have a captain, who wears an arm band.
To score, the whole ball needs to be over your opponent’s goalline. A goal can be scored with any part of the body apart from the hand or arm.
Winning the Game
To win you have to score more goals than that of your opponents. If the scores are level after 90 minutes then the game will be a “draw” apart from cup games where the game may go to extra time (two 15 minute halves) and even a penalty shootout to decide the winner.
Each team has a maximum of 11 players (including the goalkeeper) on the pitch at any time. A team may have up to 7 substitute players. Substitutions can be made at any time of the match with each team being able to make a maximum of 3 substitutions per side. If all three substitutes have been used and a player having to leave the field due to injury, the team must play without a replacement for that player.
Each game must include one referee and two assistant referees or “linesmen”. The referee keeps track of the time and makes any decisions such as fouls, free kicks, throw ins, penalties and added on time at the end of each half. The referee may consult the assistant referees at any time in the match regarding a decision. It is the linesman’s job to wave a flag for players who are offside and for throw-ins (where a ball goes out of play on either of the sidelines. If it goes out of play from an attacking player on the goal line then it is a goal kick. If it comes off a defending player it is a corner kick.
For fouls committed a player could receive either a yellow or red card depending on the degree of the foul, this is down to the referee’s discretion. The yellow is a warning and a red card is a dismissal of that player. Two yellow cards equal one red. Once a player is sent off then they cannot be replaced.
The Offside Rule(!)
Offside can be called when an attacking player is in front of the last defender when the pass is played through to them. The offside area is designed to discourage players from simply hanging around the opponent’s goal waiting for a pass. To be onside they must be placed behind the last defender when the ball is played to them. If the player is in front of that last defender then he is deemed to be offside and free kick to the defending team will be called.
A player cannot be caught offside in their own half. The goalkeeper does not count as a defender. If the ball is played backwards and the player is in front of the last defender then he is deemed to be not offside.