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How to play soccer.
(a.k.a. association football) is a fun, world-renowned sport to play
at your outdoor barbecue event. Regardless of race, ethnicity,
religion, or cultural background, soccer is a unifying international
sport with no language barrier, popular in almost every country
around the globe. This is most evident by the World Cup, which is a
5-week tournament that takes place once every four years and
involves 32 teams from different countries representing each of the
seven continents of the world. This world championship event,
watched by millions, is organized and overseen by FIFA, the
Fédération Internationale de Football Association
(International Federation of Association Football). At the
World Cup, each team’s country takes great pride as their team vies
for the crown of world champion.
football) is also a recognized sport in the Summer Olympics, which
takes place once every four years. In addition to football, the
Summer Olympic Games have included as many as 32 kinds of sports
representing teams from different countries all around the world.
In the U.S., soccer
is becoming increasingly popular. Household names of elite soccer
players include Mia Hamm - women’s soccer star who was a valuable
member of the U.S. team (as a forward) and, among other championship
games, participated in the Women’s World Cup and the Summer Olympic
Games; and England’s David Beckham - a talented midfielder who,
among other championship games, participated in the World Cup, and
in 2007, signed on to be the captain and midfielder of the U.S.
team, the Los Angles (L.A.) Galaxy.
The game of soccer
requires a lot of running, so you and your guests are sure to get a
great workout! Here are the basic rules of a backyard version of the
How to Play
Set up a makeshift soccer field
in your backyard by placing goalposts with netting on each end
of a rectangular playing field to designate the goal areas.
Assemble two teams, each
consisting of eleven (11) players.
Assign each player of both teams
a position on the field (four (4) midfielders, four (4)
defenders, two (2) forwards, and one (1) goalkeeper on each
Determine the length of the game
(i.e. 45-minute halves with a 15-minute break in between;
30-minute halves with a 10-minute break in between; 45 minutes
total with no break, etc.).
To start a soccer match, the two
teams flip a coin. The winning team of the coin toss has one of
two options: the team can (1) decide whether to kickoff first or
(2) choose which side of the field they want to defend. (Note:
Repeat step 5 to start the second half).
Set the soccer ball on the ground
in the middle of the field and start the clock at the kickoff.
Players attempt to score by
getting the ball past the opposing goal line without touching
the ball with their hands or arms. Thus, players may use their
feet, knees, torso, head, etc., to maneuver the ball.
On the other hand, the goalkeepers on each end of the playing field
may use any part of their body, including their hands and arms, to
block the ball from entering the goal area.
If a player commits a foul, a
free kick (direct or indirect) is awarded to the opposition. A
direct free kick results from a foul that occurs if a player (1)
uses his/her hands or arms to maneuver the ball or (2) holds,
trips, kicks, etc., an opponent. A direct free kick entails that
each player of the opposing team must stand 10 yards away from
the ball before the kick is made. (Note: A distance of 10 yards
is in proportion to the size of a typical soccer field that is
50-100 yards by 100-130 yards). Furthermore, a goal can be
scored by a direct free kick; in other words, no other player
need touch the ball after the free kick has been made for a goal
An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player
commits a foul that includes (1) preventing the goalkeeper from
throwing the ball back into play or (2) hindering an opposing
player. A team is also awarded an indirect free kick if the
opposing goalkeeper (1) takes more than four (4) steps while
throwing the ball back into play; (2) touches the ball with his/her
hands after his/her teammates have the ball in play; or (3) takes
more than six (6) seconds to release the ball. Unlike a direct
free kick, a goal cannot be made by an indirect free kick; that is,
after a player makes an indirect free kick, at least one other
player (either a teammate or an opponent) must come into contact
without the ball before a goal is scored; otherwise, a goal made
by an indirect free kick does not count. Furthermore, like a
direct free kick, an indirect free kick demands that players of the
opposing team must stand 10 yards from the ball prior to the kick.
(Again, note that a distance of 10 yards is in proportion to the
size of a typical soccer field).)
If a foul occurs in the penalty area - (which is a small area
located directly in front of each goal, with dimensions of 18 yards
by 44 yards with respect to a typical soccer field) - the opposing
team is allowed a penalty-kick. Note: A penalty-kick involves a free
kick from the penalty spot, which is located 12 yards from the goal
area - (a distance of 12 yards is in proportion to the size of a
typical soccer field) - while the goalkeeper is allowed to attempt
to block the kick. Meanwhile, all players on the field must stand
a minimum of 10 yards away from the player making the free kick.
(Again, a distance of 10 yards is in proportion to the size of a
typical soccer field).
Note: A player that commits a foul is warned by the person
monitoring the game (a.k.a. referee) by displaying a yellow card. If
the player commits another foul, he/she will receive another yellow
card. Two yellow cards, and the player is ejected from the game. If
the player commits a serious, egregious foul, he/she is shown a red
card by the referee, and is immediately ejected from the game.
If a player kicks the ball out of
bounds, a player from the opposing team is allowed to throw the
ball back into play from the spot behind the sidelines where the
ball was kicked out of bounds. The player must throw the ball
over his/her head using both hands.
If a defending team kicks the
ball over their own goal line, the opposing team is awarded a
corner kick from the right or left corner of the field,
depending on which side the ball went out of bounds. The
defending team must stand a minimum of 10 yards away from the
player making the corner kick. (Again, a distance of 10 yards is
in proportion to the size of a typical soccer field).
The winner is the team that scores the most goals within the set
time period. If there is a tie, there are two options: (1) extra
time may be allotted or (2) a penalty-kick may be allowed. In
the case of a penalty-kick serving as the tiebreaker, five (5)
players from each team are selected to kick the ball, one at a
time, from the penalty spot. If the penalty-kicks result in a
tie, then the five (5) players from each team alternate turns in
making a penalty-kick, and whichever team’s player is the first
to successfully make a goal, they are declared the winning team.
No matter what sport or physical activity you and/or your guests
decide to participate in, this section provides useful information
and tips for optimal performance and enjoyment:
Stay Hydrated! If you and/or
your guests engage in outdoor physical activities, especially
during hot weather, remember to drink plenty of fluids! Drinking
pure water is a great option to replenish your fluids
during and after exercising. Most tap water is excellent.
However, if you are still concerned about lead content and other
potentially harmful particles in your tap water, using a water
filter or purifier is one way to go. A water filtration system
Brita, Culligan or Pur) can keep vital minerals in the
water like fluoride, while filtering out any contaminants or
pollutants that may be in your tap water.
While exercising, perspiration allows your body to cool off as the
sweat evaporates from your skin (a natural cooling mechanism), but
in the process of this thermoregulation you loose electrolytes in
addition to H2O. Therefore, if you’ve been especially
sweating a lot, you need to replenish your lost electrolytes.
In this case, sports drinks - fortified with electrolytes - (i.e.
Gatorade, Powerade, All Sport, Recharge, Extreme Ripped Force and
Champion Nutrition Revenge Sport) are good choices.
There are also other energy drinks available on the market, such as
vitamin-fortified water (i.e. Glacéau (a.k.a.
Glaceau) Vitamin Water, Glacéau Smart Water, Glacéau
Fruit Water, Glacéau Vitamin Energy, Propel Fitness Water and SoBe
Play it safe!
Wear the appropriate safety gear for each sport or activity you
engage in. Also, make certain that you have all the necessary
equipment for the sport or activity. Visit your local sporting
goods store for assistance.
warm-up! It’s important to stretch and warm-up before
participating in any physical activity or sport. Stretching has
many benefits: It allows your muscles and joints to relax, it
improves your range of motion and it may prevent injuries.
Before starting any sport or physical activity, consult your
physician and get a physical exam.
over-the-counter pain reliever handy! Don’t let minor
aches and pains slow you down or prevent you from participating
in a sport or physical activity you enjoy at your outdoor
barbecue event. Over-the-counter pain medication (i.e. Tylenol
(Acetaminophen), Motrin (Ibuprofen), Advil (Ibuprofen), Anacin
(Aspirin), Bayer (Aspirin), Aleve (Naproxen), etc.)
work great at relieving minor muscle and joint pain. Note:
Always consult your physician before taking any medication, and
use as directed.
emergencies arise, keep a cell phone handy, or even a
walkie-talkie! A walkie-talkie is a two-way radio transceiver,
which is convenient, portable and handheld. It allows you to
communicate with another person that is located at a reasonably
close distance to you (i.e. if you are in the backyard, you can
easily communicate with someone that is inside the house if you
are both using walkie-talkies). It’s a great way to keep in
first-aid kit handy! Accidents happen, so, for minor scrapes,
cuts, etc., readily have available bandages; gauze; adhesive
tape; sterile swabs; antiseptic (i.e. hydrogen peroxide topical
solution, antibiotic ointment (i.e. Neosporin), alcohol pads,
etc.); tweezers; anti-itch ointment (i.e. hydrocortisone); etc.
Seek medical attention if necessary.
sunburn! Protect your skin from the sun’s potentially harmful
rays, which may cause premature aging (i.e. wrinkles) and skin
cancer. So, don’t forget to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at
least 15 and one that offers broad spectrum protection against
both UVA and UVB rays. If participating in outdoor sports or
activities, consider wearing a sunscreen that is waterproof.
bug bites! Keep a bottle of bug spray handy. If you do get bit,
use anti-itch ointment (i.e. hydrocortisone) to help relieve the
sting of the bite.
at bay, and enjoy your time outdoors!
If you suffer from allergies, have readily available an
over-the-counter allergy medicine - (i.e. Claritin (Loratadine);
Benadryl (Diphenhydramine); Sudafed PE (Phenylephrine); Zyrtec (Cetirizine
HCl); Zyrtec-D (Cetirizine/Pseudoephedrine); etc.) - to relieve
allergy symptoms, such as red, itchy, watery eyes; nasal
etc., due to the increased levels of pollen, dust, mold,
etc., in the air. Note: Always consult your physician
before taking any medication, and use as directed.
Goals! Don’t overexert yourself, especially at an outdoor
get-together where the idea is to relax and have a good time.
Remember, as with most things in life, practice makes perfect!
So, if you’re really interested in a particular sport or
activity, practice it often, and you’ll be sure to impress your
friends and family at your next outdoor event.
Most of all...Have Fun! Whether you’re a competitive athlete or
an amateur, playing sports and exercising should be about
enjoying yourself, spending time with friends and family,
getting in touch with the great outdoors, teamwork, the spirit
of the game, stress-relief, and good health!
Handyman Zone Team