The Playing Field
The playing field is rectangular and the touchlines must always be greater than the goal lines. Fields have a minimum and maximum length and width that can be used. The field can range from 100 – 130 yards in length and 50 – 100 yards in width for professional play. You must have 11 players present for a team to start a game.
Playing the Game
- The ball must travel forward at least the distance (circumference) of the ball, and must be played (touched) by another player before the player who “kicked-off” can touch the ball again.
- The entire ball must pass over the goal line.
Out of bounds
- The entire ball must pass over the touch line or goal to be out of bounds.
- When the ball goes out of bounds along the touch lines, the opposing team throws the ball back into play where the ball went out of bounds. The player who throws the ball back into play must keep both feet on the ground with both hands on the ball, and the ball must be thrown over his/her head.
- When the defending team kicks the ball out of bounds at their own goal line, the attacking team is awarded a corner kick. The ball is placed in the arc and the ball is kicked into play by the attacking team. The player kicking the ball into play can not touch the ball after he/she kicks it into play until the ball has been touched by another player.
- A free kick is awarded when an infraction occurs anywhere on the field outside of the penalty boxes. There are two types of free kicks, a direct free kick, and an indirect free kick. The opposing team must be at least 10 yards from the player taking the free kick.
- The type of free kick awarded depends on the type on infraction. Direct kicks are normally awarded if there has been physical contact such as a player being tripped, elbowed, pushed, or held. A handball would be an indirect kick. Keep in mind that soccer is not like basketball when it comes to a foul. The team is awarded a free kick, not the player. In other words, if a player is tripped, the player that was tripped does not have to take the free kick. Any player on the field can take the kick.
- Direct free kick: A player can kick the ball directly into the opponents goal to score on a direct kick.
- Indirect free kick: The player taking the indirect kick can not score directly of an indirect kick. The ball must be touched by another player first before it passes into the goal to be counted as a goal. The ball must travel at least the distance of the ball (circumference of the ball) before a teammate can play the ball. The player who takes the free kick can not play the ball again until the ball has been played (touched) by another player.
- Confronting the opponent to win the ball
- A challenge and winning the ball from an opponent
- A challenge to win the ball while sliding on the ground. Although a challenging player might trip the opponent who has the ball, the trip is not a tackle, and the challenger may be called for tripping. The timing required to execute a slide tackle and win the ball without being penalized for tripping, or dangerous play, can be difficult for even advanced players.
The ref is in charge
- The ref is in charge of not only the soccer field once the game begins, but the immediate area surrounding the soccer field from the time he or she enters the area until he or she leaves the area after the game has ended.
- A warning normally for borderline unsportsmanlike conduct or an accidental infraction that could have caused injury. Two yellow cards equals a red card.
- Deliberate unsportsmanlike conduct or a deliberate act that could have or did cause injury. If a player is red carded, he/she must leave the field of play and immediate area. A player that receives a red card is also not allowed to play in the next game.