Soccer is a worldwide sport, it has a lexicon that may be unfamiliar to American fans and players. Why do the British refer to outfits as “kits” and cleats as “boots”? What is a 4-4-2 formation and how does it work? Why are people so concerned about being relegated? To provide you a guide to understanding soccer, we’ll cover all of those words as simply as possible. 

The first one is the simplest. To avoid misunderstanding, it is not commonly referred to as football in this country. Soccer, rugby, and American football are all derivatives of the same sport. They’re instructions on how to play the game. Prior to the 1970s, even the national governing body of soccer in this country had the word “football” in its official name, whereas “soccer” was the popular term in England.


The Football Field

There are no defined field dimensions, similar to baseball. Soccer, on the other hand, employs minimum and maximum dimensions, allowing pitches to fit inside specified parameters. The length should be between 100 and 130 yards, and the breadth should be between 50 and 100 yards. Because of this significant disparity, international games have stricter restrictions. These top-tier games require fields that are between 110 and 120 yards long and 70 to 80 yards broad. The goal (8 feet high by 8 yards wide), the six-yard box immediately in front of the goal, and the 18-yard box must all have the same size, regardless of the total size.

The Timepiece

The game lasts 90 minutes plus stoppage time at the highest level. There are two 45-minute halves, each ending after stoppage time. When does the game come to a halt? Because the clock in soccer does not stop, the referee puts time back at the end of each half to compensate for breaks in play. The referee gives an estimate of how much time will be added, but it isn’t accurate. A 90-minute game will usually run 94 minutes or longer, depending on the referee’s discretion. Players in soccer compete until the referee blows the whistle.

The Party

Soccer balls are available in a variety of sizes. A child player could start with a size 3, progressing to a size 4 as she or he grows bigger, and finally to the adult size 5 ball. Balls used to be made of leather and have laces. They weren’t waterproof. Imagine kicking that around on a muddy field. Modern soccer balls are often composed of plastic and are remarkably light.

The Job Titles

We’ll go through each of the four positions in soccer, which are broadly classified into four categories. Just keep in mind that at the professional level, each team has 11 players and three replacements from the bench. When a player subs out, the game is over for them.


When the ball is in play, the goaltender is the only player on the field who is authorized to use his hands. The goalkeeper’s role is self-evident. They restrict the ball from crossing the goal line with their full-body, preventing the opposing side from scoring. Outside of the 18-yard box, the goalie is not allowed to use his or her hands. Here’s our goalkeeper’s handbook for youth coaches, which covers the fundamentals of goalkeeping. One apparent query that deserves a swift response. The goalie always wears a contrasting color shirt to make it easier for the referee to identify him or her. That clothing was traditionally green.



Remember how we talked about 4-4-2? This is a standard soccer configuration. You’ll see that it adds up to 10 instead of 11. Because there are ten field players plus the goalie, this is the case. Because a goalie is required, formations only apply to field players. So, starting with the defender, we read the formation. In a 4-4-2 formation, the first four players are the defenders in front of the goalie. Is it always necessary to have four people? No. Aside from the goalie and the requirement for ten field players, those players can play in any formation the coach desires. Here’s a lot more about setting up a soccer defense than you really need to know right now.


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