AYSO R213 - The Game of Soccer
The Game of Soccer
Soccer is a simple game. It requires a field, a ball, two teams of players and their equipment and a referee.
Soccer is played by two teams on a rectangular field approximately the size of a football field. Smaller fields may be used for younger players.
The game is played in two halves of equal length. The length of each half is determined by the age of the children playing.
Physical size is not an important factor in becoming a skilled and successful soccer player. Because of the game’s pace, every child participates in the action while on the field.
The sport involves several basic skills: passing, shooting, dribbling and controlling the ball.
These skills can be learned at any age, and a dedicated soccer player works continually to improve them.
Passing is playing the ball to a teammate or to a space where a teammate can run to the ball. A player may lightly tap the ball to a teammate several feet away or kick it strongly to move it down the field. The ball may scoot along the ground or may be kicked into the air.
Most players use two types of kicks to pass to a teammate or shoot towards the goal. One is the instep drive which is a powerful kick. The other kick is called a push pass. Performed using the inside of the foot, the push pass is much more accurate than the instep drive, but is less powerful.
Under-9 and older teams have between a maximum of 7 to 11 players on the field at any one time.
AYSO recommends that Regions use short-sided teams in younger age divisions (U-12 and younger). Short-sided teams will allow for younger players to get more "touches" on the ball, learn skills quicker and have more fun. Also, for similar reasons, U8 and younger do not use goal keepers.
What Players Need
Soccer has limited equipment requirements. However, most AYSO teams play in uniforms (shirt, shorts and socks) supplied by the local Region. Shin guards are mandatory during practice and games. Shoes are required, and it is advisable to use shoes designed specifically for soccer. Regions also provide field equipment, such as goals, nets and flags. Jewelry is not allowed at any level.
AYSO recommends the use of three game officials – one referee and two assistant referees.
The referee is the ultimate authority during the game. The referee’s chief responsibilities are to make the game as fun, fair and safe for the players as possible. The referee enforces the rules, which in soccer are called “Laws”, by calling fouls (offenses) and determining if goals have been scored.
Assistant referees provide vital assistance to the referee by signaling when the ball has gone out of play and which team gets possession. Assistant referees also assist with substitutions and the general control of the game.
There are 17 rules in soccer, called “The Laws of the Game,” and they are easy to understand. Their purpose is to make the game fun, safe and fair.
The object of the game is for the players to get the ball into their opponent’s goal using any part of their body except hands and arms. Only goalkeepers may use their hands, but only while inside their own penalty area.
Generally, the Laws require that referees stop the game only when something has happened which they decide is unfair or unsafe. Important elements of the Law to be familiar with include ball in and out of play, fouls, misconduct and offside.
The referee also has the authority to suspend or terminate play because of field conditions or due to misconduct or interference on the part of coaches or spectators.
There are 10 major fouls that result in a direct free kick (DFK), and from which a goal may be directly scored against the opponents. The 10 fouls are divided into two groups. Seven within the first group require that the foul be committed carelessly, recklessly or using excessive force:
There are eight minor fouls that result in an indirect free kick (IFK). At least one additional player of either team must touch the ball before a goal can be scored from an IFK.
An IFK is also awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, within his/her own penalty area, commits any of the following four offenses:
The field is divided in two halves. The center circle in the middle of the field is used to start the game, to start the second half and to restart after a goal has been scored.
There is a large rectangular area and a smaller rectangular area found at each end of the field. These are vital areas for both teams, and are where penalty kicks are taken.
The four corners of the field are inscribed with three-foot arcs where corner kicks are taken.