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Soccer

We're all about soccer, so if you're truly a soccer fan you'll want to have a look through our tonns of information on the greatest sport in the world!

There's just something a little ludicrous about the World Series. The winner of baseball's annual love-in is hoisted atop America's shoulders and celebrated as the greatest baseball team in the world. Sure it is. The people that know how to play baseball, let alone those who give a crap about the game, come from about seven countries.

If you want a real world champion in sports, you have to turn to soccer — or as it's called all over the universe outside the US: Football. Over 200 countries or territories compete in its quadrennial world championship, the World Cup, and billions of people know it and love it as their first and only sport. And if you take a look at the next generation of Americans, or their more conspicuous soccer moms, you'll realize that soccer's arrival on the American cultural consciousness is growing faster and more inexorably than the waistbands on our fat-ass population. So it's time you learned a little more about the game. We're here, as always, to help out.

There are a few things you'll need to familiarize yourself with in order to have a functional understanding of the game. First, we'll give you a brief history of the game, so you'll know from whence it came. Then we'll give you a rundown of the objectives of the game and its basic rules. Next, we'll discuss the equipment of the game and the positions of the players. Finally, we'll go over the fouls and violations, and the officials who oversee them.



So with that historical context in mind, let's go over how exactly the game works. You'll be relieved to know that soccer has nowhere near the billions of rules that Americans fetishize so much in football and baseball — the game is far more free-flowing and loosey-goosey. Before we discuss the rules, though, you'll need to know the objective of the game. Very simply, it is for your team to score more goals than the other team. Each team consists of eleven players who can score a goal by moving a ball into the opponents' net with the use of any part of their body except their arms and hands. You've seen it, you know what we're talking about.

Each game lasts 90 minutes, divided into two halves of 45 minutes each. Technically, the clock does not run when the ball is out of play — when it is kicked off the field or picked up by the referee for a substitution or injury — so each half typically runs for more than just 45 minutes. This principle is just like the timing you see in most American sports; e.g., basketball games go on for much longer than just 48 minutes. In soccer, though, the halves rarely go on for much more than 45 minutes — usually the added time or injury time is less than five minutes, but it is up to the referee's discretion. If the game is tied at the end of the 90 minutes, usually it is simply scored as a tie (a la hockey). But what happens in a competition when it is necessary to determine a winner? The tie gets broken by using special rules about extra time and penalty kicks.

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