Soccer is the world’s most popular sport. It is the national sport of most European and Latin- American countries, and of many other nations. Millions of people in more than 140 countries play soccer. The World Cup is held every four years. Soccer is one of the most famous international sports. Soccer is known worldwide and is played in the Olympics.
In a soccer game there are two teams of 11 players who try to score a point by kicking a ball into the opponents net. Soccer is played on a rectangular field with a net on each short side of the field. All players must hit the ball with their feet or body and only the goalie is allowed to touch the ball with his/her hands. There are many things you can do to condition yourself to play.
Soccer the way we play it came from England in the 1800’s. Soccer was not that popular until the mid-1900. Today soccer is very popular and it is one of the nation’s fastest-growing sports. There are many exercises and drills you can do to improve how you play soccer. There is also many physical conditioning that players can do. Soccer can help you stay fit and healthy. Many people can play soccer and benefit from it. Soccer is very fun and a great recreational sport.
History of the Activity
Games similar to soccer were played in China as early as 400 BC. In about 200 AD the Romans played a game in which two teams tried to score by advancing a ball across a line on the field. The Romans passed the ball to one another but they never kicked it. London children in about 1100 played a form of soccer in the streets. During the 1800’s the people of England played a game similar to soccer. Many rules changed and each person interpreted the rules differently. In 1848 a group of school representatives met at Trinity College in Cambridge and drew up the first of soccer rules. In 1863 English soccer clubs founded the Football Association. By the late 1800’s soccer began to spread to the rest of the world. The Canadian Soccer Association was established in 1912 while the United States Soccer Federation was set up in 1913. The first World Cup Championship was in Montevideo, Uruguay. Since then it has been played every four years except during WWII. During the 1970’s soccer grew to be a very popular spectator sport as well as participant sport.
Nature of the Activity
A soccer game begins with a kickoff in the center of the field. A coin is flipped to decide which team will kickoff. The other team kicks off at the start of the second half when the teams switch sides or nets. After a team scores the other team gets to kickoff to begin again. The kickoff takes place in the middle of the field. When the ball is kicked it must travel the circumference of the ball and touch another player before the kicker can touch the ball again.
After the ball is in play it remains in play unless it crosses a goal line or a touch line. All players attempt to stop the ball from coming in there zone while at the same time trying to score a goal. A player may kick the ball into the net with any part of the body except the hands and arms. If the ball goes out of bounds the play is restarted with a comer kick, a goal kick, or a throw-in. The referee decides what type to use. If the ball crosses the goal line and the defensive team touched it last then there is a corner kick by the offense. If the offense touches the ball last and crosses the goal line then it is a goal kick. A throw in happens when the ball crosses the touch line. When it crosses the touch line the team that did not touch it last throws the ball in bounds. The ball is thrown over their head with two hands. Fouls are called when a player does not obey the rules and acts unsportsmanlike. When a foul is called the opposite team receives a either a penalty kick, a direct free kick or an indirect free kick.
There are many exercises that people can do to improve in soccer. Exercises that strengthen your legs and improve flexibility are ideal. Physical conditioning is important if you plan on being good at soccer. Here are five exercises that are ideal for soccer:
- Running: running helps to improve cardiovascular fitness. In soccer there is lots of running for the ball so endurance and a speed is a must.
- Leg Extension: using weights can help strengthen the legs. Using weights makes you kick harder and makes the ball travel farther; as a result you become a better player.
- Leg Machines: exercising all muscles in the leg makes you kick harder and prevents injury when you are diving all over for the ball. The strong muscles help prevent injuries.
- Stretching: stretching allows you to be more flexible. Sometimes soccer players need to kick the ball in the most awkward positions. Flexibly helps the player to kick the ball in those positions more effectively.
- Weight Training: all around weight training makes a soccer player even better. A stronger body helps prevent injury and improve all around performance.
Practice Drills help the soccer player be more skillful and a better player. There are many drills that can be done. Drills like dribbling to head butting are often used. Some of these drills include:
- Practicing kicking the ball is a very important and often done drill. To practice the player will kick the ball into the net. Often there is a goalie that they try to score on. Kicking is the most important skill in soccer. Practicing will make your kick stronger and more controllable.
- Passing is also a very important skill. One drill that can be done is to run side by side with another player and pass the ball back and forth. This skill will improve your passing and receiving skills. Passing is also vital in the game of soccer.
- Heading is one of the only ways to legally hit the ball when it high in the air. With another player heading can be practiced. One player throws the ball high over top of the other player. The player then will jump up and hit the ball with his forehead and try to control the ball. Heading is very hard and often lots of practice are required.
- Control of the ball is also very important. By setting up pylons in any order and distance and weaving through them in a pattern like formation can improve your control of the ball. Trying to go quick can also improve your speed of running while dribbling a ball.
- One on one practices improve both your dribbling and tackling. With two players one is given the ball and must keep the ball away from the other player. While one player is improving his faking and dribbling the other is practicing his defense and tackling. When this drill is done often it can improve your offense as well as defense.
Soccer can be done in many age groups. Children often play the sport in school as early as elementary school. Many adults also play the sport. Seniors rarely play soccer because of the easiness it is for them to get injured. Soccer is often very demanding. Soccer for many kids can be very fun. Most children don’t think of soccer as work and often enjoy playing soccer. Adults also sometimes find soccer fun and even some adults have careers in the area as a professional soccer player.
Soccer is very valuable in obtaining “life long” fitness. Soccer can be a very demanding sport. Soccer can improve your cardiovascular fitness as well as strength and flexibility. All the physical conditioning and practice drills are very important in keeping fit. Soccer players are able to be healthy and strong because of the physical involvement.