Detroit Sports Nation’s guide to soccer


Image taken from wikimedia’s_Soccer_-_USA_vs_Japan_(1).jpg

Each game plays two-45 minute halves with stoppage time included that factors in game stops, injuries, and how close the game is. Teams play with no stops of the clock even for interruptions in actual play, player injuries, and substitutions. Three substitutions are allowed throughout the game and can be used as minimally or maximally as the team’s manager decides.

Here are some extra terms and situations in the rules of soccer:

  • OFFSIDES: This rule is something that can be extremely confusing so let us explain it in three steps.
    • Offsides is called by the line judge during an offensive possession, usually in the defending team’s side of the field
    • The call is made if an offensive player is in position in the defense’s side of the field and is positioned past the second to last defender (the defending team’s goalie is considered the last defensive player in this rule but would change if the goalie moves away from his goal into the opposing team’s area)
    • Offsides will be called if #2 occurs when an offensive player either dribbles or passes the ball where the aforementioned offensive player without the ball may be considered “part of the play”. The point of this entire rule is to stop from goal cherrypicking by offensive players and unfair advantages for the offense in counterattack situations.
  • YELLOW CARD: The equivalent of a flagrant foul in basketball; two yellow cards in one game turns into a red card
  • RED CARD: A foul card that turns into an automatic ejection; when a player is forced out of play, he cannot be replaced
  • SEND OFF: The act of a red card forcing a player off the field of play and the penalized team being down one man for the rest of the game
  • FREE KICK: In a foul situation that occurred when a team is in the opposing team’s side of the field, the lead official may award a free kick where defensive players must play a set distance away from the spot of the foul. The offensive team may set up for a free kick that may come as a long pass or even a shot on goal if the foul occurred close enough to the opposing goal. With new temporary spray cans, the officials can now mark the positions that each team must be in for each free kick.
  • PENALTY: In the situation where an offensive player is fouled within the defensive box or there was a hand ball within the box, the offensive team is awarded a penalty shot. The offensive player takes the shot from the marked line in the field and the goalie can move horizontally to try and stop the shot when the shot is taken. If the shot is blocked or hits the crossbar and deflects back into the field of play, the offense and defense may play the ball as live instead of stopping to reset.
  • STOPPAGE TIME: Alotted time at the end of each half to counterbalance if there were any injuries, disruptions, or substitutions (soccer does not stop the clock even if play has stopped); also referred to as ‘added time’
  • OVERTIME: In elimination rounds, two 15-minute halves are played for the overtime period. This overtime period is not sudden death and therefore could theoretically see a team go down one goal in the first overtime period and still tie the game again or possibly win the game in the second part of the overtime period. If there is still a tie after the two overtime halves, then the game goes into a penalty shootout.
  • PENALTY SHOOTOUT: Using the aforementioned penalty shot structure, each team takes turns taking penalty shots. The shootout is finished if, after five shots, one team has a goal advantage over the other. If the teams are still tied after the first five shots, then the shootout goes into a round by round sudden death where each team gets a turn shooting and, if there is finally a goal differential after each subsequent round, then a winner is determined.
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