Soccer – Sport Number 1 Essay, Research Paper

Soccer is a popular sport played all over the world. Even though it has only been popular

in the United States for the past 30 years, soccer has been a long time favorite most

everywhere else. The sport dates back to the Egyptians, who played games involving the

kicking of a ball. Now, the sport has grown to a global pastime, including men?s and

women?s teams, and the World Cup (which is played every four years).

Soccer originated with kicking games played by people in ancient civilizations. The

modern version came about in the early nineteenth century, in England. It started as a

game involving kicking and handing, but later this branched off into two separate sports:

rugby and football (which is what the English call soccer). Around the late nineteenth

century, English soccer began spreading over Europe. Other countries also caught on, but

the United States was one of the most reluctant, and one of the last to implement soccer

as a national sport. The North American Soccer League (NASL) was formed in 1968. But

it didn?t gain popularity until the 1970?s.

The modern game of soccer has a simple goal: kick or head the ball in to the goal of your

opponent?s team. Basically, there is also one simple rule: No one except the goalkeeper

may use they?re hands to play the ball. Soccer is a simplistic sport. Eleven members of

each team defend their side of the field to prevent the ball from being forced into their

goal, which results in a point scored by the team kicking the ball. There are only three

officials involved during play: The referee, and two linesmen.

The equipment used in soccer is also very simple. In addition to the field itself, all that is

needed for a game is two goals (eight feet high and eight yards apart) and a ball. Each

player wears hard plastic or padded shingaurd, covered by long socks, for protection

during play. Cleats are also worn for traction on the field. A goalie may also wear a

special padded shirt, and gloves to protect his or her hands. A standard field, as regulated

by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (or FIFA), has a length between

100 and 130 yards, and a width of between 50 and 100 yards.

The rules of play for soccer have deliberately been kept simple. The referee makes most

of the decisions, and attempts to encourage fair play. The game starts off with a kick off,

and the teams are allowed to pass, dribble, juggle, head, kick, and shoot the ball to place

it down the field, and (hopefully, or eventually) into their opponent?s goal. If the ball is

kicked off the field over the length of the field, the other team is given a throw-in, where

the ball is thrown over the player?s head, and back onto the field. If the ball is kicked over

the goal, or across the width of the field, either a corner kick results (by the offensive

team, where the ball is placed on the corner of the field and kicked into play) or the

defensive team is awarded a goal kick, where the ball is placed on the corner of the goal

box, and kicked back into play. If a goal is scored, the ball is taken back to the center of

the field, and the team scored against kicks off.

Other penalties include direct and indirect free kicks, and penalty kicks. For offenses such

as shoving and tripping, either a direct free kick (offenses not in the goal box) or a penalty

kick (inside the goal box) is awarded. Both allow goals to be made directly from the

kicks. If a minor offense is being punished, then an indirect free kick is given, form which

a goal cannot be scored.

Most soccer games have 45-minute halves, and the clock is not stopped except for

injuries or deliberate time wasting. In professional soccer, only three to five substitutions

are allowed per half. Generally, more are allowed in lower leagues.

Soccer is now recorded as being the fastest growing sport in America at high school and

college levels. There are also an estimated 13 million girls and boys under 18 who

currently participate in the sport. It is not just becoming a national pastime, but a pastime

loved and shared by people all over the world.

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