The sport known as soccer to Americans and football to rest of the world is still the most popular sport worldwide. Although soccer as of yet hasn’t shown to be the “fan favorite” in the U.S.A.,it has made great strides in recent years to become as popular as it is around the world. Certain players such as Pele in the 70’s and more recently David Beckham have tried to help bring soccer more into mainstream America. More and more children are growing up playing soccer and this will eventually lead to the U.S.A.,”catching up”with the the rest of the world.
Rules – The basic premise of soccer is simple. One must try to move the ball across the field and score a goal by knocking the ball into the opponent’s goal, without the use of ones hands or arms.
Players – A team consists of 10 players and 1 goalkeeper. Although positions vary from team to team a basic lineup consists of 3 defensive players, 2 midfielders, 3 forwards or “Strikers” and 2 “Sweepers” who generally play on the right or left side of the field between the midfielders and the forwards.
Time limits – The game is played in 2 halfs consisting of 45 minutes each. The clock continues to run for a full 45 minutes. If someone gets hurt or there is need for a stoppage, the referee keeps track of the time lost and adds it to the end of the half. This is known as injury time.
Substitutions – Each team is allowed 3 substitutions per game. When a player leaves the game he may not return. In exibition or “Friendy” games 7 substituions are allowed.
Penalties – When a player in trying to play the ball commits a foul, he is given a “Yellow Card”. If the player gets 2 yellow cards in 1 game, he is the given a “Red Card” and is asked to leave the game. A “Red Card” can also be given out by the referee if he feels that the foul was flagrant or excessive. If a player receives a “Red Card” he will be suspended from the team’s next game. At times teams must play short one player because of excessive fouls.
OffSides – A player may not receive a pass from an opposing player if he is behind the other team’s defensive player.
Penalty Kicks – A team will be given a Penalty Kick which is a free kick, between him and the Goalkeeper if he is fouled in the Penalty area.
The beginnings of soccer can be traced back to medievel England but the modern game started to take shape in England in the 1860’s. That is when a group of people met to establish a set of rules based on a “dribbling”game being played at Eton College.The F.A.(Football Association)was established to separate the use of hands, as done in rugby and lack of hands as in soccer. In 1863 Ebenezer Cobb Morley wrote “The Laws of The Game”, which established the rules that are still being played today. For this he is considered the “Father of Association Football” or soccer. In October of 1863 representatives of several football clubs met at Freeman’s Tavern in London, for the first meeting of the F.A. and 6 meetings followed which wrote down a set of rules which are being applied today with obvious modifications.
In 1867 The Youdan Cup was the first and oldest trophy to be given out and by 1872,a more organized competition known as the F.A Cup was developed. The first F.A. Cup in 1872 had the Wanderers playing the Royal Engineers in front of 2000 paying customers. Although Royal was a big favorite, there was no established rules on substitutions and when one player broke a collarbone, they played the whole match shorthaned and lost 1-0. The popularity of soccer at the club level in England led to the development of a more universal set of rules that are used today.
In 1888, William Mcgregor developed the first established league consisting of 12 soccer clubs, which would become the leagues 12 founding members. The first international competition took place between England and Scotland in 1872 and the first non-European competition was between U.S.A. and Canada on November 28 1885 with Canada winning 1-0.
Soccer was becoming so popular in the 1870’s-80’s that players were being paid money to play in England and Scotland. There were certain rules that had to be followed, such as a player must be born within a 6 miles radius or must have lived in that area for 2 years in order to play for a certain team. A player can only play for only 1 team a year and must register with the F.A.
The Oldest Club in Europe could be the Swiss club, Lausanne Football and Cricket Club that was established in 1860. Soccer was introduced by Engish residents in Denmark and established the Danish club K.B. In Italy, soccer was mostly regional, untill 1929 when Seria A was ceated. In Spain La Liga was formed in 1928 with teams from the Copa del Rey which becan in 1902. The German Bundesliga began in 1963,untill then it was all regional amateurs.
Soccer was brought to Argentina in 1867 by English Railway workers and the now famous La Plata team became the first soccer team in South America in 1887. The first organized championship held outside continental Europe was in 1891 in Argentina and its first pro league was in 1931. English ex-pat John Miller sent his son (Charles William Miller) to boarding school in England, when Charles returned he brought back a rulebook and equipment and played for Corinthians, a team of schoolboys. This led to the growth of soccer in Brazil and its first soccer federation in 1914, and the current format Champeonato Brazileiro in 1971.
In the U.S.,The Oneida Football Club of Boston is said to be the first soccer club to play outside of England. They created the “Boston Game” which is more closely related to soccer, untill then a mixture of soccer and rugby was played in which one could pick up the ball and run with it. The first recorded match was Princeton-Rutgers in 1869 but it was also a combination of soccer,rugby and American football. This led to the birth of “American Football”. Although many early leagues were formed, the first big one was the Stl. Soccer League which ran from 1907 till 1939. In 1967 the United Soccer League and the National Professional Soccer League were created. A year lated they merged to formed the N.A.S.L. which ran until 1984. In the 80’s and 90’s indoor soccer became popular and led to the development of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
At the beginning of the 20th century a need for a governing body was called for and (F.I.F.A.)Federacion International de Football Association was formed in Paris. Membership in F.I.F.A expanded with the application of South Africa in 1909, Argentina in 1912,and U.S.in 1913.
The first World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930 and the host country played Argentina in the final. They couldn’t decide on what ball to use so they used an Argentine ball in first half and a Uruguayan ball in half number 2. In the first few years mostly only countries from the Americas competed but by the 1950’s European’s started to arrive and the World Cup began to blossom. This led to the creation of the European Championships,South America’s Copa America as well as others. As of now Brazil has the most World Cup Trophies (5), followed by Italy(4), who won the last trophy in 2006.
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Soccer betting is similar to betting on other sports with 1 or 2 slight variations. As in baseball betting one may place a bet on the moneyline of your favorite team. For instance for a team that is -145, one must bet $145 to win $100. The underdog might be +435 which means a wager of $100 will get you $435. The difference is that your team must the win the game outright because a wager may also be placed on the Draw or Tie also on the money line. If the other team wins or there is a tie you will lose the bet, unless you choose to bet on the Draw. The other big difference that games are graded on regulation+injury time (after 90 minutes) not on the final score.
Spread betting – As in football you may place a wager on your team versus the spread. For instance if Chelsea is -.5 goals against Liverpool, then 1 half of a goal will be subtracted or added from the final score of each team involved to determine a winner. Sometimes you might see PK or (Pickem) next to a team. This means there is no spread, but you have varying odds on the money line, and in this case, a tie would mean all bets are cancelled.
Totals – As in other Sports such as Basketball, you may bet on the total goals scored by both teams or each team separately.