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Here's a short explanation of what football is, and why it's cool

First of all, let's clear things up- I'm not talking about American football, the one where you throw a ball that's not even shaped like a ball. I'm talking about real football, the one North American decided to call "soccer" for some odd reason. Probably not to mix it up with their American football (which, mind you, you don't even kick that much, you mostly throw it around and run while holding it. Shouldn't it be holdball or throwball or something?)

Football is really simple and easy to understand. It starts with a ball, which is round. There are two teams, each trying to win. The objective is to kick the ball into the opposite team's net, scoring a goal. At the end of 90 minutes, the team with the most goals wins.

Each football team consists of 11 players. 10 of these players get to run around, passing the ball among each other, trying to kick it into the opposite team's net, or or tackling (in a sporty manner) players of the opposite team when they've got possession of the ball. The most important point is that they're not allowed to touch the ball with their hands- you can kick it, or use any other body-part that isn't your hands or arms.The 11th player is the goalkeeper, and he is allowed to use his hands. His job is to stand at the net and keep the ball from coming in. And that's all there is to football.

There are, of course, other rules to consider
  • Out of Bounds- when the ball gets out of the field's sideline boundaries, a member of the team opposite to the player who touched the ball last gets to throw the ball back into play with his hands in what's called a throw-in.
  • Goal kick- say someone tried to score a goal but the ball went above or besides the net, with an attacker last touching the ball. Then the goalkeeper gets to kick the ball into the game again.
  • Corner kick- if the same thing happened with a defender last touching the ball, a member of the opposite team gets to kick the ball into action from one of the corners near the net.
  • Free kick- if a team made a foul, the opposite team gets a free kick from wherever the foul happened.
  • Penalty kick - a free kick when a foul occurs within the 18-yard box (AKA penalty area). This usually results in a goal.
  • Offside- this is usually the most annoying and usually misinterpreted rule. It goes something like- you can't pass the ball the a member of your team if you're past the halfway line and there's no defender between the player you're passing to and the goalkeeper.

Of course, these rules only hold in official matches. But they help make sure the game keeps moving in a fair and cool manner.

Football is a global phenomenon

Football is governed internationally by an association known as FIFA. FIFA organizes world cup tournaments every 4 years. Other regional organizations include UEFA, which governs European football and the European Champions League.

There are many football leagues worldwide. National leagues involve only football clubs that belong to a certain nationality. Champion Leagues involve all the top football clubs from the nations that belong to a certain region.There also national teams, who usually only compete in the World Cup and Olympic tournaments.

Football culture is a big-deal in every country (maybe except North American ones. For some reason this continent doesn't have a lot of patience for football). This culture requires to cheer for your national team whenever they play, as well as support a favorite club. Sadly, some football fans get drunk and violent.

If you're new to this sport, make sure you watch some matches on TV before you start playing or attending games, to make sure this is the sport for you.

Long live Football!

Image Credits: liverpool, sports

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  1. lechuck saidMon, 12 May 2008 20:01:05 -0000 ( Link )

    Great lesson.

    I know in Toronto, Ontario – with such a multicultural city… often you can find Football to be a more regarded sport than many others (Basketball, Baseball, or American Football for example). The Toronto FC stadium is always sold out during games while the Blue Jays are having a hard time selling tickets. The last Jays game I went to was pretty empty. I was able to have a pick of seats right behind the batters box.

    I’d say, at least in Toronto, that Football is probably second to only Hockey right now.

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  2. lechuck saidMon, 12 May 2008 20:26:47 -0000 ( Link )

    Oh, I think it will be a long time yet before Canada has the quality and density of football players of the likes of Europe. While Toronto is very multicultural, much of Canada isn’t. Not to the same degree. Once a majority of Canadians leave high school, they no longer play football. We don’t have the scholarships in Universities like we would for Hockey or American Football.

    Countries like Germany, Norway, and Slovakia for example are all hugely into Hockey, but no were near have the support Canada does. Matching up Canada vs. Germany in hockey is like matching Canada vs Spain in Football. When the government and schooling backs Canada up more in Football, the more we will become a stranger international team.

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  3. makattack98 saidMon, 12 May 2008 20:34:22 -0000 ( Link )

    Also, great lesson. You really explained everything well.

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  4. GeorgeTheCar saidMon, 28 Jul 2008 12:19:13 -0000 ( Link )

    Soccer’s chief function is to make baseball look exciting.

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  5. lechuck saidMon, 28 Jul 2008 14:16:39 -0000 ( Link )

    Every sport appears “simple” when you know it, play it, and live it. Baseball is no more complicated to me than Football is. Cricket seems extremely complicated to me, but I don’t know it. People could say Hockey is complicated, but to me, it’s easy!

    Saying one sports chief function is to make another look exciting is a bit funnel vision. For one, Soccer/Football is the most popular global sport. Isn’t Field Hockey second? There are a lot of Baseball fans which would consider it to be the most exciting sport. Just like a lot of people like to watch Golf, and a heck of a lot of people love watching Football/Soccer. Personally the only sport I REALLY get in to is Hockey. It’s personal choice…

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  6. GeorgeTheCar saidMon, 28 Jul 2008 15:52:16 -0000 ( Link )

    Hockey’s big attraction is speed requiring a level of concentration that is sporadic in most other stick and ball games.

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  7. Heppler saidFri, 15 Aug 2008 01:06:47 -0000 ( Link )

    Especially in Canada there really is a lack of coaching at. We have talent, and Soccer Canada eats up a good 60 million a year, but we cant even buy decent coaches here. All our best players go to Europe, aka Hargreaves when they are very young. Alot of Canadian players also end up in their home country, so we have a number in the Turkish leagues and a few in the Dutch leagues.

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