Learn the basic rules of soccer and enjoy a hugely popular game for little kids in the U.S. today. These simple rules include everything you need to know if you are new to the game and modifications for different age and ability groups. Learn how to play soccer in no time!
Soccer is a ball game played by 2 teams of 11 players each. The object is to get the ball into your opponent's goal. The winner is the team that scores the most goals by the end of the game.
The field is rectangular in shape and must be 50-100 yards wide and 100-130 yards long. There is a goal located at each end of the field.
There are 11 players on the field at a time. There are a variety of ways the positions can line up on the field, and some positions are called by several different names.
The basic players positions are listed below:
You need a soccer ball and a goal to play a game. The age of the players and the level of competition determine what type of soccer ball is used. To find the appropriate size ball for your situation, see soccer ball sizes.
It is highly recommended that every player wear shin guards to protect their lower legs when they inadvertently get kicked. A pair of soccer cleats with rubber studs are recommended to help players get better traction on the field.
The goalkeeper must wear different colors than her teammates to distinguish herself from the other players. Goalies may also wear protective goalie gloves.
There is usually a referee who runs up and down the middle of the field and controls the game along with 2 linesmen. The linesmen are positioned on each sideline holding a flag. The referee:
The linesmen raise their flags to indicate:
The game is divided into two 45-minute halves. Teams change ends at the end of the half. The game clock is a running clock, and time doesn't stop until the end of the half.
The referee will add on additional time for time lost due to injuries, time wasting, etc. Time is also added to allow for a penalty kick to be taken at the end of regulation time.
A coin toss determines which team will kick off first and which goal teams will defend. To start the game, the ball is placed in the center of the circle at mid-field and teams are lined up on their respective sides of the field. Only the kicker may be in the center circle for the opening kick, and all other players must remain outside the circle until contact is made with the ball.
Once kicked, the ball has to travel at least one full roll, and the kicker can't touch it again until another player kicks it first.
After a goal is scored, the ball is reset in the center circle again for a kick-off by the team that was scored on. The second half begins with the same type of kick-off by the team that did not open the game with the kick.
Except when throwing the ball in from out-of-bounds, no players are allowed to touch the ball with their hands except the goalie. Players can use any other part of their body to contact the ball. They may use their feet, head, thigh, chest, or back to stop, control, or pass the ball.
A penalty (free kick) is assessed when a player touches the ball with any part of their hands or arms.
A goal is scored when the whole ball crosses the goal line under the crossbar and between the goal posts.
A goal is worth 1 point. If the score is tied at the end of the game, the following events may happen:
US Youth Soccer is a great resource for coaches, players, and parents. It provides details for game length, ball size, field size, and number of players for different age groups.
Have young players, beginners, or players with disabilities? Check out some easy modifications to help players of all skill levels have success and enjoy the game. Everyone can learn how to play soccer!