What Is Soccer About
(Simple and Illustrated)

Terms of Soccer: English Vocabulary Lesson

What is soccer about? Soccer, or what is known as "football" in many countries around the world, is a sport that began centuries ago.
It involves two teams of 11 players who use their legs, feet, and head to kick a round ball. They try to get it into the other team's net. This net is called a goal. Getting the ball into the opposite team's net is also called a goal. Every time a team scores a goal, they get a point.

The players must work together to control the ball and score points in order to win. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
What Is Soccer About, Terms of Soccer

Lesson Table of Contents

1. How Is Soccer Played?

How Is Soccer Played?

Soccer is played on a rectangular grass field between two teams of 11 players on each side. The ball is kicked from one side to the other and players use their feet, legs, and head (any body part other than hands or arms) to move the ball.
Soccer
 A goalkeeper is a player who stands in the goal and tries to defend it from the opposing team's shots. He is the only player who can touch the ball with their hands. All other players must use their legs, feet, and head to kick the ball in order to pass it or score a goal.
goalkeeper

Defenders are players who try to stop the attacking team from scoring. They protect their goal.
Defenders

Midfielders are players who try to move the ball from the defensive side. They also help in the attack by sending passes forward.
Midfielders

Attackers (also called forwards) are players who are trying to score goals. They use their speed and skill to get around the defenders of the opposite team and put the ball in the net.
Attackers (also called forwards)

A referee is a person in charge of the game. He makes sure that players are following the rules. In professional soccer, there are usually one referee and two assistant referees.
referee

A linesman is a person who helps the referee by signaling when a ball has gone out of bounds or when a foul has been committed. There are usually 2 linesmen, one on either side of the field.
linesman

Bounds are marked lines on the soccer field. When the ball passes over these lines, it is considered out of bounds, and possession of the ball changes to the other team.
Bounds

A foul is when a player breaks the rules of soccer. For example, if a player kicks another player, or uses their hands to touch the ball.
foul

A yellow card is what the referee shows to a player who has committed a foul. It means the player will have to leave the game for a short time, but they can come back later.
yellow card

A red card is what the referee shows to a player who has committed a serious foul. It means the player must leave the game immediately and cannot come back until the end of the game.
red card

No Arms and No Hands:

No player can use their hands to touch the ball, except for the goalkeeper. Players can use any other body part. If another player touches the ball with their hands, the referee will stop the game and award a free kick to the other team.

A free kick

A free kick is when a player kicks the ball from a certain spot on the field without anyone else touching it. The other team has to stand back and can't touch the ball until it has been kicked.

Soccer's Popularity

Soccer is the world’s most popular ball game in number of participants and spectators. Its main rules are simple and the only equipment required is a soccer ball. This sport can be played almost anywhere, from official playing fields (called pitches) to streets, school playgrounds, parks, or beaches. 

Soccer's Popularity


What Is FIFA?

FIFA stands for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association. (This is French for "International Federation of Association Football"). It was founded in 1904 in Switzerland.

FIFA

FIFA is the international organization in charge of promoting soccer and organizing professional games around the world. The most important and famous tournament organized by FIFA is the World Cup. It takes place every four years and teams from all over the world compete to win the title of World Champion.

(A tournament is a competition where teams compete against each other in a series of games until only one team is left standing.)


History of Soccer

2,000 years ago, people were already playing soccer-like games in China. Similar games were also played in other countries. However, the modern game of soccer started in England in the 19th century. In 1863, several English soccer teams came together and created the Football Association. This lead to the first official set of rules for soccer.

Professional (paid) soccer leagues began to form in different countries. (A soccer league is a group of teams that compete against each other in a championship. The teams compete to see who is the best.)

In 1904, FIFA was formed, and in 1930 it organized the first World Cup tournament in Uruguay (Uruguay is a country in South America). Since then, the World Cup tournament has been held every four years.

the World Cup

The first women's World Cup took place in 1991 and happens every four years as well (on different years than the men's tournament).

women's World Cup


In the United States, soccer is not as popular as in other parts of the world. Football, baseball, and basketball are significantly more popular. However, it continues to grow in popularity.


Soccer Vocabulary Quiz: Test Your Understanding

Soccer Vocabulary Quiz: Test Your Understanding

1. What is the meaning of "soccer"?
A) A ball game played with a round ball between two teams of eleven players.
B) A game played by two teams of five players on a rectangular court.
C) A sport in which two teams compete to score points by throwing a ball through a hoop.

2. What is the meaning of "goal"?
A) An area on the field where teams can throw the ball.
B) The team that scores the most points at the end of the game.
C) A point that is scored when the ball goes into the net. The area inside the net is also called a goal.

3. What is the meaning of "goalkeeper"?
A) A player whose job is to score goals.
B) A player whose job is to count the goals.
C) A player who is responsible for keeping the ball from crossing the goal line.

4. What is the meaning of "defender"?
A) A player whose job is to help the goalkeeper prevent the other team from scoring.
B) A player whose job is to score goals.
C) A player whose job is to move the ball forward.

5. What is the meaning of "midfielder"?
A) A player whose job is to help the goalkeeper prevent the other team from scoring.
B) A player who is responsible for keeping the ball in the middle of the field.
C) A player whose job is to move the ball from the defensive side and help in the attack by  passing the ball forward.

6. What is the meaning of "attacker"?
A) A player whose job is to help the goalkeeper prevent the other team from scoring.
B) A player whose job is to move the ball forward.
C) A player whose job is to score goals.

7. What is the meaning of "referee"?
A) A player whose job is to help the goalkeeper prevent the other team from scoring.
B) A person who is responsible for making sure the rules are followed.
C) A player who is responsible for keeping the ball in the middle of the field.

8. What is the meaning of "linesman"?
A) A player whose job is to count the goals.
B) A person who is responsible for indicating when the ball goes out of bounds or when a foul has occurred.
C) A player whose job is to replace the ball when it gets too old.

9. What is the meaning of "bounds"?
A) The white lines that demarcate where the ball must stay on a soccer field.
B) Seats at a soccer game that are reserved for certain people.
C) The half line that separates the two halves of the field.

10. What is the meaning of "out of bounds"?
A) When a player kicks but misses the ball.
B) When a player is too close to another player and their actions could interfere with the game.
C) When the ball goes over the bounds line and possession of the ball changes to the other team.

11. What is the meaning of "foul"?
A) An illegal move that results in a free kick or penalty.
B) When a player kicks but misses the ball.
C) When the goal keeper touches the ball with their hands.

12. What is the meaning of "pitch"?
A) The area in which the game is played.
B) The two teams competing against each other.
C) A room where a team practices with the ball.

13. What is the meaning of "FIFA"?
A) A series of important soccer games.
B) The governing body of soccer worldwide.
C) The title of the team that wins the World Cup.

14. What is the meaning of "tournament"?
A) A series of important but short soccer games.
B) The governing body of soccer worldwide.
C) A series of games between teams to decide which is the best.

15. What is the meaning of "league"?
A) A group of teams that compete against each other to determine a champion.
B) Europe's top soccer teams.
C) A stadium that is used for soccer games.

16. What is the meaning of "World Cup"?
A) The title given to the best team in the world.
B) The biggest soccer tournament, held every four years.
C) Olympic soccer competitions.


Answers

Answers

1. A | 2. C | 3. C | 4. A | 5. C | 6. C | 7. B | 8. B | 9. A | 10. C | 11. A | 12. A | 13. B | 14. C | 15. A | 16. B