A Complete Guide To Soccer

Seen ‘Bend it like Beckham?’ Love Ronaldo? Is Messi your inspiration? Does rain and running around kicking a ball seem like a perfect combination to you?

Well, then you love soccer!

Soccer is a way of life for millions around the world. We play it at the beach, during the rains, on the field and even on video games. The enthralling game has been played in India since the 19th century.

The adrenaline rush of running behind a ball, using tactics and strategizing a win has possessed the human race for a long time. The need for thrill is the reason behind soccer’s existence!

Sketching Soccer- A Description

Played by over 250 million players around the world, soccer is arguably the world’s most popular sports. It involves 11 players, using a spherical to score a goal, which is the major objective of the game. It is enthralling and exciting, with adrenaline pumping as the teams attempt to manoeuvre the ball, and fight against one another to kick the ball in the opposing team’s goal.

Also known as association football or simply football across Europe and some commonwealth nations, the rules of this game are exceptionally simple. That is why it can be played anywhere, from gymnasiums to streets, beaches and school playgrounds or the especially designed soccer fields.

Ideally, the game is supposed to be played on a rectangular grass field called a pitch that has two goals at the either ends of the field. Teams can only manoeuvre the ball using their feet (sometimes their torso or head), only the goalkeeper may use this hands or arms to propel and catch the ball in order to avoid a goal.

Modern laws of the game were originally set by The Football Association in 1863. Internationally, the game is governed by the International Federation of Association Football, which is called FIFA, while the governing body in India is All India Football Federation, or AIFF.

India, while ranked 163 in FIFA World Rankings is steadily rising on the sports’ front, with major national tournaments organized to find and train the best players in the country. The country is scheduled to host 2017 FIFA U-17 World Championship.

In English Speaking countries, different names are used for the game. For instance, people in United Kingdom and neighbouring countries call it Football, whereas it’s called Soccer in Canada and United States of America. In India, soccer and football are the words used interchangeably. Australia and New Zealand used either terms, although the use of Football is now more popular.

History of Soccer

The history of soccer is vague, which seems to be ironic considering how popular the game is today. The origins of the game are still obscure, with different explanations and theories suggesting that the game originated in Ancient Egypt, China and Rome.

  • According to FIFA, association football itself doesn’t have classical history. Rather, its development can be traced back to different cultures.
  • Drawings from 2500 BC in Egypt suggest that the game might have been played there as well. Scholars theorize that some version of this game was played in Ancient Egypt during feasts of fertility. The games used balls made of linen, wrapped in bright coloured cloth. The sport, during those days was played to celebrate the abundance of Earth.
  • 2000 years, the elaborate versions of it were seen in Dynasty China. It is considered that the competitive game of ‘Cuju’ in China is the earliest recorded form of soccer. There’s scientific evidence that supports this theory. The players used to kick the ball with legs, head and torso, which is quite similar to soccer played today.
  • Centuries later, the game began to be played in Ancient Rome. Popular during the early Olympics, the game was normally played on the streets. However, this was the time when the game had no established rules, tactics or strategies. Each team had 27 players. Due to the lawlessness during the game, several players were injured and killed. In fact, some were murdered in the rage of losing.
  • The tradition of playing soccer was kept alive during the Middle-ages and traces of modern soccer can be seen during this period. A very popular form of it was mob-football played during mid-14th The number of players were limited in this sport style (as opposed to 27 during Ancient Rome). While no formal rules were established, the play were usually disbanded from playing if their actions led to severe injuries or manslaughter. This was the time when soccer was embedded in English Culture.
  • Because of its fierceness, soccer was banned from schools. However, people were still playing it, in large numbers. This led to development of the main soccer rules. It was during the mid-19th century that the first rules were laid for playing modern soccer.
  • Cambridge Rules, drawn up by Cambridge University were considered essential for playing the game. These rules were established in 1848 and were quite influential at controlling the sport in schools and colleges.
  • The ongoing efforts led to formation of The Football Association in 1863. The association eventually produced the first comprehensive set of rules for the game. Meanwhile, similar rules were developed as a part of Victoria Rules Football in Australia.
  • The first major competition was then held in 1872. Organized by The Football Association, founded by C. W Alcock, the game saw matches between Scotland and England at Glasgow.
  • It also lead to the formation of first football league in 1888. This league included 12 clubs from Northern England and Midlands. The laws for this league were determined by the International Football Association.
  • This was also the period when soccer began to grow popular in India. The country, which was under British rule saw military officials, politicians and general British popular trying the game. Consequently, Calcutta Football Club was established in 1872. Several other clubs were established by the 1890s.
  • India first won the Trades Cup 1892. Meanwhile, Mohan Bagan Athletic Club was being set up. This club would become famous in 1911 when it won IFA Shield, a soccer tournament that was otherwise ruled by the British Teams. Indian Football Association was established in 1893.
  • The popularity of the sport worldwide led to the development of FIFA. Formed in Paris in 1904, the body decided to create and adhere to common laws of playing football or soccer.
  • While Indian Football Association was established in the late 19th century, the board didn’t see even a single Indian until the 1930s. Later, All India Football Federation, the modern governing body was formed in 1937. However, it took a decade before this federation was affiliated to FIFA.
  • The first time India qualified for FIFA World Cup was in 1950. However, the country had to withdraw all their opponents because the players played barefoot. Other reasons like lack of foreign exchange and long sea journey were also responsible for the withdrawal.
  • Later, India witnessed glory when it was picked up for goal at Asian Games in 1951. It had beaten Iran with one goal. Five years later, the country qualified for semi-final in Melbourne Olympics. It was the first Asian country to achieve this feat.
  • From 1951-1962, India witnessed tremendous growth in the field, primarily under the coaching of Syed Abdul Rahim. It was his death that set the team back. And years later, the game saw its barren phase.
  • 2007 saw the resurgence of Indian soccer team, when the country’s national team won Nehru Cup. Four years later, it qualified for the 2011 Asian Cup. Since then, the governing bodies have worked hard to popularize the national team. Over the years, it has achieved steady success with Olympics and FIFA World Cup. The country hopes to qualify for next world cup and Olympic game.

Rules in the world of Soccer


The rules of soccer are actually termed as ‘Laws of the game,’ with specific guidelines followed. These laws are designed to apply on all levels, although certain modifications are permitted. International Football Association Board (IFAB) maintains the laws while they are published by FIFA.

  • For every game, a head referee is required. This referee ensures that players are wearing the right equipment, signals the start of the game, punish or enforce violation rules, stop the game in case a player is injured, decides if the game is to be continued and keeps time.
  • Referee is also responsible for citing fouls and infringement of the rules, prevents repeated occurrences of un-sportsmanship and produces yellow cards or red cards. Assistant referee are also a part of the game, who signal for corner kicks, check for offside law violations.
  • The game is played for a period of 90 minutes, equal halves of 45 minutes each. Additional minutes may be required to compensate for lost time. Overtime may be needed if the winner of the competition isn’t decided.
  • Kick-off starts the game and restarts after every goal is scored. Only two players are allowed in the inner circle at this time, where one kicks and the other receives the ball.
  • A ball is considered out of bounds if it crosses goal line or the touchline on the ground or in the air.
  • Goal is considered if the ball crosses goal line between the goalposts established at the either ends of the field, provided that no violation has taken place. Side that scores wins the point.
  • In case a player attempts to take a goal from the offside (fewer than two defender between player and the goal line) then it’s considered a violation. Free kick is awarded to the opposition in such a case.
  • Common fouls in the game include kicking, tripping, charging another player, striking, head-butting, biting or pushing a member of the opposing side. Foul can result from hitting the player with ball, using excessive force for defence.
  • Foul or rule infringement can lead to free-kicks in the game of soccer.
  • Penalty kick is awarded is defender commits foul in their penalty area.
  • Throw-ins are awarded to the team when a ball goes over touchline. The taker then throws the ball with both feet on the ground, using only hands.
  • Goal kicks are awarded to the defending team if opposing team causes ball to go over the goal line. Goal kick is then taken by any player from the defending team.
  • Corner kicks are given to attacking team if opposing players are the last one to touch the ball before it goes beyond goal line.

Keep this in mind while playing soccer

While playing soccer, players must keep in mind that they can be awarded yellow cards and red cards. These cards were introduced in 1970 FIFA World Cup and has been used ever since. The cards are used to caution players of their misconduct. A foul is considered if the players commit offences listed in Law s of the Game. These fouls can be punishable by direct free kick. Other fouls can lead to indirect free kicks.

  • In case of misconduct, the referee may decide to use yellow or red cards. Yellow cards are used for caution. Two yellow cards lead to red card for dismissal. The red card may be given directly as well. While managers and support staff cannot be showed these cards, they may be expelled from technical area.
  • The referee decisions on the pitch are considered final and binding.

Playing Soccer Correctly – Specifications to Follow


The field of the play must be 45-90 meters wide and 90-120 meters long. For international games, the field dimensions are 100-110 meters X 64-75 meters. Other specifications are mentioned below.


  • The areas on the field of soccer should be marked with touchlines, side-lines, goal areas, halfway lines, penalty areas, goal lines and corner areas. Flag posts are planted to the corner of the field.
  • Soccer ball must be 8.6 inch to 9 inches in diameter. It should weigh between 400-450 grams. In case the ball bursts during the play, the referee may pause the game.
  • Each match must have two teams with no more than 11 players, along with a goalkeeper. Minimum player requirements are 4.
  • Players must have soccer equipment like shirt, shorts, socks, soccer boots and shin guards. Goalkeepers must have special items that distinguish them from the rest of the field. Headgears may be worn.

Bodies That Govern Soccer

These are the organizations that determine and establish rules in soccer, while conducting tournaments.


International Federation of Association Football is the governing body of the game. Established over a century ago, FIFA is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. It is most notable for organizing World Cup every four years, since 1930. It is also responsible for organizing Women’s World Cup Championships since 1991. In 2013, FIFA generated 1.3 billion US dollars in revenue. While it doesn’t establish rules of the game, it sees the rule enforcement.

All India Football Federation

Founded in 1937, AFC is the Indian governing body of soccer. Headquartered in Dwarka, Delhi, the body has over 30 state associations, which have their own constitution and structure. It organizes several competitions, such as Indian Super League, I League, Federation Cup, Durand Cup and India women’s Football Championship.

Major Championships

The major championships that promote sport are mentioned below


UEFA Championship League

Also known as Champions’ League, the game is an annual continental club football competition. Organized by Union of European football Association, the game is a part of Premier League. Real Madrid is the most successful league in this championship, which has been held since 1955.


Indian Super League

While soccer is widely popular in India, the country hasn’t made its mark in the international arena. To popularize the game and train the best players, AFC holds Indian Super League, a professional football league. It features 8 franchise teams. Teams play 14 matches against seven sides, twice. Finale is played at a neutral venue. The teams are coached by professional players from all over the world, including countries like Brazil and Spain. The league teams are owned by Bollywood celebrities, cricket players like Sourav Ganguly and businessmen.

I League

Hero I League was formed in 2007 and is a professional league for men’s association. Games are played by 9 clubs.

Famous Personalities

Follow the footsteps of these popular players and make your mark in soccer history

Baichung Bhutia: Indian footballer who plays as striker. The Sikkimese Sniper is known for his excellent playing skills. He has had four spells at the I-League from East Bengal Team. He is India’s most capped player who retired from professional game in 2012.


Sunil Chhetri: The Nepali-Indian professional footballer players for Bengaluru Football Club. He is also the all-time top goal scorer in the country. Chhetri gained name for himself by being the part of national team and has been named AIFF player of the year four times, the most recent in 2014.

Peter Thangaraj:


A towering custodian of soccer, he was known for his stint during the golden years of football in the country, from 1954 to 1968.

If your child seems to be a born Soccer player or has an interest in this sport, then it would be a shame not to encourage his or her talent! Get in touch with us at YoGems today and let us help pave the way for your child’s bright future in this sport!



Shivangi Gupta is a Content Writer Expert at YoGems. With years of experience in writing blogs, articles and guides, she writes about every sport. Also, she is good at sports and expert in shooting and won numerable awards at various events. She started receiving shooting training under her father at the age of 6. To get updated with her posts, stay tuned to the website.