How to Play Soccer
Soccer is the most beautiful game to watch and play. That’s why it’s called the beautiful game. It has a lot of fans and I bet you are one of them. If you want to learn how to play soccer effectively, you need to fully understand everything there is to know about the game.
That means understanding the rules, positions, formations, and some of the basic drills that will help get you started with this beautiful game of ours.
However, once you have mastered how this game is played, you will wish you had learned how to play it sooner. Lucky for you, you have come to the right place. This is the ultimate guide on how to play soccer. You will learn everything there is to know about this beautiful game.
We will start from the basic and walk our way through everything you need to know to help you understand and play efficiently. Let's get started with the first six steps.
Step by Step Guide
Step 1: Getting Started
You only need a ball to get started with soccer. With it, you can learn different drills which will improve your ball touch and control.
Also, note that there are pickup games and matches you can join no matter where you are. I suggest you try to attend them. You will meet other players who will give you tips, advice, and pointers for improving your play.
This step also involves learning some of the basic rules and different playing positions for players. Learning the basic rules is not fun but it is essential to becoming a great soccer player. Some of the rules include:
You should also learn about kickoffs, throw-ins, referees, goalie, players, and penalty.
Step 2: Start Practicing
I advise that you practice as much as you can before going to a tryout or game. You should familiarize yourself with the basic skills.
This will help you enjoy playing the game. When you are learning how to play soccer, spend much time kicking the ball around so you can get a feel for it.
Ball control- if you are practicing individually, you need a wall to kick against.
Kick your ball against that wall and control the rebound. Note that while this skill is not as fun as learning soccer moves or scoring, it is very important. Most people have trouble controlling the ball thus makes them ineffective when playing.
Passing-this step involves having someone to practice with so that you can master hitting a target over a long distance. It also gives you a chance to improve on your one-touch passing. Note that the ball will be coming from different heights and angles. Therefore, you can practice controlling it with your chest, thighs, head, and other body parts. Ensure that you are using both feet.
Dribbling- it enables a player to move around with the ball without losing possession. Unfortunately, many players do not dribble correctly, and their coaches sometimes do not teach them proper dribbling techniques. When dribbling with speed, use your arms like you do when sprinting without a ball. Your arms should always be out when dribbling around defenders. You can use your dribbling skills to improve balance, brush past players, and keep them further from you.
Also, make sure you dribble with your front feet and with every step land on your feet even if you are dribbling forward or cutting across your body. Additionally, you should use your “place foot” (the one not dribbling) correctly.
When dribbling forward, this foot should push off the ground, just like when you are jogging or sprinting. Then when cutting for direction change, this foot should slightly hop. This helps make movements natural and quick and hence you will not lose balance. Remember to also raise your knee to build momentum and stay in an athletic position to remain balanced.
Shooting- there are mainly three aspects of shooting that players should be familiar with:
Step 3: Improve Your Fitness
Your stamina determines how you will perform in a game. Players play for 90-minutes in soccer matches. Therefore, if your stamina is low, you will not be able to play for this long.
You should work on your fitness before competing. This will even make a good impression on your coach and other teammates. Work on your agility, speed, and strength. Remember that tired players make silly mistakes.
Step 4: Purchase the Right Equipment
Soccer boots are the most important equipment a player should have. The type of boots you buy is determined by the field you are playing in. However, you should purchase several different types of cleats for different field type. You will also need a shin guard to protect your shin. Other things needed are socks, shirts, and shorts.
Step 5: Start Competing
Competing against other players will help you practice and improve your skills and moves. You can play small-sided games with friends or in your local area to prepare you for big tournaments.
Step 6: Join a Team
Being in a team helps players hone their ability. Since you will play against competitive teams, you’ll improve your skills and learn effective strategies. Fortunately, there are several teams for players of all skill levels. Once you have been accepted in a team, ensure that you compete hard when training to secure a role/position on that team.
Learning how to play soccer can be intimidating. However, understanding the basic rules and following the steps above will help you get started in this beautiful game. Now that we have talked about some of the basic things you need to understand to get started. Let's dive deeper into understanding the rules, position, and formations.
Rules and Regulations
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is tasked with the responsibility of maintaining soccer rules and regulations and making updates annually. IFAB consists of 8 board members – four board members, are from FIFA while the other four members come from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.
FIFA’s rule book is very extensive with over 130 pages, which is why we found it important to prepare a comprehensive summary of the laws of the game, ideal for soccer players who are just getting started with this beautiful game. This simplified version will assist you in learning the laws of the game.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) currently has 17 laws of soccer in place. These laws must be observed in all professional and international soccer matches. Let us look at the laws of the game.
Law 1: The Field of Play
Soccer can be played on either a grass field or a surface covered by artificial turf. Soccer games must, however, be played on a surface that is green in color.
The soccer field must have a rectangular shape, with two distinct short goal lines and two distinct long-touch lines.
A halfway line, which is a straight line connecting the midpoints of the two touchlines, divides the field into halves.
At the midpoint of the halfway line, there is a marked center point that is enclosed by a lined center circle. The lined center circle has a radius of 10 yards.
During kickoff, players from the non-possessing team are not allowed to enter the lined center circle. The touch lines must have a greater length than the goal lines.
Regulations On Lengths
FIFA- the organization governing football in the world has stipulated the maximum and the minimum dimensions of a soccer pitch.
The minimum length should be 100 yards (90 meters) while the maximum should be 130 yards (120 meters); as for the width, the maximum should minimum should be 50 yards (45 meters) while the maximum should be 100 yards (90 meters).
This means that soccer can be played on a square pitch measuring 100 yards by 100 yards or a rectangular one, but in most cases, it's the latter that is used. To understand more on how these markings and lines affect how the game is played, let's delve into the layout of a soccer field.
To start with, let’s first look into the pitch boundary otherwise known as touchline. The long lines marking the length of the field are the one called the touchlines or sidelines that encloses the area in which the ball is supposed to be played within.
If the ball mistakenly passes over these lines, a player has to throw the ball into the pitch using their hands to put it back into play.
The other opposing lines marking the width of the field are called the goal lines or end lines. It is not so uncommon for the goal lines to be taken to mean only the line between the goalposts, yet the term refers to the entire line up to where it intersects with the touchline. In fact, most commentators use the term ‘byline' to refer to the portions of the goal line outside the goalposts.
Both the sidelines and end lines must be of equally wide but not exceeding 12 cm (5 in). For international matches, the dimensions of the touch lines and goal lines must fall within a more specific range.
The goal lines must be 70 yards (64 meters) minimum and 80 yards (75 meters) on the maximum. The touch lines, on the other hand, must be 110 yards (100 meters) as the minimum dimension and 120 yards (110 meters) as the maximum dimension. At the point of intersection between the goal line and the touchline is the corner, which is marked using an arc and flag on all four sides.
The corner arc is supposed to be 1 yard in diameter and it is where the ball is placed for corner kicks. Additionally, the flag posts at all corners must be 5 feet tall to prevent injury when the player is taking a corner kick.
The Goalposts And The Goal Area
The goalposts are located at the center of each goal line and must be placed at an equidistant from the corner posts. The posts must be made of wood, metal and painted white for visibility. An 8-yard width between the inner edges of the posts is the standard measurement while the height from the ground to the crossbar ought to be 8 yards.
A net is fitted behind each goal post so as to catch the ball and also help the referee know when a goal has been scored. For a goal to be considered, the ball has to cross the goal line between the goal posts and into the net. However, the goal can be discredited if the player who scored commits an offense when scoring the goal.
Around the goalposts, is a six-yard rectangular box called area, which consists of the goal line, and two extending lines from the goal line each measuring 6 yards then joined by a line measuring the same.
It is from this goal area where goal kicks and free kicks are taken. Free kicks awarded to the attacking within this area taken from the point on the where the foul occurred.
The penalty area or commonly known as ‘the box' is the large 18-yard rectangular box formed by the 16.5 meters lines extending from the goal line. The main reason why it is called a penalty area is that a foul by a defender inside this area is punishable by a penalty instead of the usual free kick.
Moreover, this area marks the goalkeeper can handle the ball with their hands. The penalty mark is usually 12 yards in front of the goalposts center and it is from this point from where the penalty kick is taken.
The penalty arc that is the 10-yard D mark on the outside edge of the penalty area, acts as bounder line between the player taking the penalty and the rest of the players, leaving only the penalty kicker and the defending goalkeeper.
The Center Of The Pitch
The center of a soccer field is marked by a center line which measures the same as the width of the pitch. At the very center of the field, is a 10 yard in diameter circle commonly known as the center circle.
Just as the penalty arc delineates the players from penalty kicker, the center circle separates the team without the ball from the team with the ball, until a player from the team with the ball touches the ball first.
At the beginning of a game, a coined is tossed and the winning team chooses between starting the match with the ball on their side or from which side goal post they want to attack. The losing team is then offered whatever choice the winner did not take.
After that, the referee blows the whistle to signal to the start of the first half game time. There are two halves throughout the entire period of play each with lasting a duration of 45 minutes. However, due to the time wasted during substitution and injury time, the referee can add extra time to account for the time lost.
A soccer pitch may consist of additional areas that are at the peripheral of the main playing area such as the technical area. This area contains two benches one for each team with a capacity of seating nine people. This area acts as a resting area for substitute players and official of the team.
The Pitch Surface
Although grass is the recommended surface of play, artificial turf may also be used. This is allowed especially in countries with extreme weather conditions where the grass may not grow well and may require expensive maintenance.
For instance, in countries where the climate is extremely dry or wet like in snowing countries, grass surfaced pitch may not be a viable option.
Instead, artificial turf is used but it has to be green and approved by FIFA since there were concerns that some artificial turf play surface was causing severe injuries to players. Nevertheless, soccer can also be played on a dirt field, especially if it is a recreational player.
Law 2: The Ball
A soccer ball must have a spherical shape. It must also be made of leather or other comparable materials.
The circumference of a soccer ball must be between 68 and 70 cm (about 22 cm in diameter).
The weight of a soccer ball must be between 410 and 450 grams, and it should be inflated to a pressure in the range of 0.6 to 1.1 standard atmospheres at sea level.
However, this rule regarding size is only applicable in officially sanctioned matches. Youth leagues often use smaller balls that are more suitable for younger players.
Why Are There Different Soccer Ball Sizes?
Anytime you intend to shop for a ball, be it for fun or if you are purchasing one as a professional player, there are factors that you put into place. In the same way, these factors have been put into consideration and thus the different ball sizes in the market. The following are the main reasons as to why there are different ball sizes.
Impact On The Players' Development: The main reason why there are different ball sizes is that they aim at developing players skills as they progress. This is in reference to maneuverability, control, and performance. Just like you would not purchase large clothes for your toddler, so they grow into them later, it is the same thing with a soccer ball.
You must buy a ball that will suit a specific time in your children’s life. Choosing the right ball size at the right age will help the child to develop and grow in the sport.
They will be able to play and gain control of the ball making it a learning experience with better results. Beginners will not start with a size 5 even if they are in their teens.
Accommodating Age Of The Player: The soccer federations considered the age difference between players. The different sizes promote comfort and confidence according to the players’ age. A large ball will only strain a child. It only makes sense that you should find a ball that will suit the players’ preference while at the same time creating a balance for the individual. A toddler can barely kick a large ball and move it.
The idea is to motivate the toddler to love the sport rather than making him or her feel as if they are not moving or advancing in the sport. The smaller ball, size 3 and below will allow your toddler to have fun as well as learn a few things in their age.
Safety Purposes: Considering that people start playing football at different ages, it is evident that allowing a small child (5 years and below) to play with an adult’s ball will cause pain in case it hits him. Children stand the risk of hurting their ligaments and tendons if they play with larger balls due to the weight that comes with the larger balls.
Hurting their ligaments and tendons can have a long-term effect on the kids. Safety is probably the most important aspect to put into consideration to push you in to buying the right ball size. Do not increase the risk of an injury for your young ones.
Sizes 5, 4,3, 1 Explained
12+ Years Old
8-11 Years Old
5-8 Years Old
3 And Under
Looking at the above reasons for having different ball sizes, it is evident that one must select the right ball. The following sizes are the standard acceptable ball sizes across the globe as agreed by the soccer federations.
There are sizes 1 through to 5 of soccer ball sizes. They offer different features and despite some small differences, they have a great impact. In a brief summary, here is a list of ball-sizes and what they have to offer to determine where they are played and by whom.
Professional players design a size 5 soccer ball for play. However, they must also be of adult age. In reference to the age group that can play this size, it is recommended for individuals above the age of 12.
It comes at an average weight of about 15 ounces plus or minus one ounce. In terms of size,it comes with a circumference of about 27 inches. It also has a 0.6 BAR, which refers to its recommended unit of pressure.
This is the size used to play in the World Cup and other professional competitions. All leagues above U12 use this ball size. These include FIFA, Major League Soccer, as well as semi-professional leagues.Considering that they are used for professional soccer, this means that they have been tested and measured for accuracy.
As such,they come with a FIFA Approved stamp. This means that they are tested to approve its size (circumference), roundness, water absorption, shape, size retention, rebound, as well as weight.
Size 4 soccer ball size is recommended for the youth with the age bracket of eight to twelve years. The size and weight balance make it easier to use because players at this stage can handle as lightly larger ball but on the other hand, increase their skills on the field to help them approach a professional game in the near future.
They are ideally designed to help players adjust to their skill set. For example, teens practicing on their dribbling skills may find it difficult to make progress if they use a size 5 ball because the ball is large and too heavy for them.
Size 3 ball sizes are ideal for the junior class players more likely ages eight and younger. They are moderately heavy as compared to size 4. Players at this age do not have very strong bones and getting them to play with the larger and heavier balls will only put them at risk of getting an injury.
This size is not only functional at this age,but it is also comfortable to allow players to learn without putting too much effort. Remember, it will take more force to kick a larger ball if you are younger. You can teach children ball handling with ease without over weighing them.
Size 1 Soccer Ball Size
Size one balls are ideally designed to help players work on their skills. During training sessions, coaches will incorporate size one balls to help develop footwork skills as well as ball control.
They are not heavy while at the same time come with the added advantage that they promote diversity so right about anyone can use this size. With no limiting factor on age, all players have an equal chance of learning the best of control and performance.
In addition,this size of balls is also convenient to provide as a souvenir or just as collector’s edition. Balls with player logos are commonly found in this size.
In the market, this size is also referred to as minis. If you are not into professional or serious about soccer training, you will probably end up purchasing this ball.
While these are the accepted ball sizes being manufactured, there may be a slight difference in the way they are used by different soccer federations.
The size will determine the age of players and which ones are accepted for use in competitions. Generally, the following guide will help you choose the following soccer ball size.
Choosing The Right Size
The difference in size means that you need to choose the right size. Below are two main aspects that are worth the consideration.
Professionalism: A professional already has their skills sharpened and this limits their selection to either size 1 or size 5. Size one helps them to practice and further perfect their skills. Size 5 is the recommended size for playing all their matches.
Purpose: The purpose for which you are purchasing a soccer ball will determine the size of the ball you purchase. For example, some people are more big soccer fans and they may want a ball to have their favorite player sign. A size one will meet this objective.
Law 3: The Number Of Players
Generally, soccer matches are played by two opposing teams of 11 players each. The 11 players include the goalkeeper.
A scheduled match must be forfeited if a team does not have seven or more players ready to play at match time.
In youth leagues, it is quite common to have teams of fewer than 11 players on each side – coaches use smaller teams as a developmental strategy.
In FIFA-sanctioned matches, the number of substitutions is usually limited to 3 per match (3 substitutions for each team), except in friendly matches.
In most youth leagues, an unlimited number of substitutions is allowed. The substitutions must, however, be listed on listed on the game card before the match begins or those players will be ineligible.
In most youth leagues, an unlimited number of substitutions is allowed. The substitutions must, however, be listed on listed on the game card before the match begins or those players will be ineligible. During a game stoppage, the goalkeeper can be subbed with any player on the pitch or any eligible substitute player on the bench.
Law 4: The Players’ Equipment
All soccer players must wear a jersey, shorts, cleats, shin guards and socks. The socks should cover the shin guards completely.
A referee may make a judgment on a player’s equipment, and if they deem it unsatisfactory, the referee can send off the player until the issue is fixed.
Basic soccer equipment does not require a lot and they should be light as to allow the player to move around without feeling restricted by the objects that are on your body.
The most basic soccer equipment and the very one thing that any soccer player should not forget, are the soccer cleats. There are so many brands, styles, and designs to choose from but the most important thing is that you are comfortable with them when you play.
The cleats just have to have the proper kind of studs for the surface that you will be playing in. Fit is also very important to take into account. Most players like wearing cleats that are one half to one size smaller than their actual shoe size for closer fit to their feet.
The jersey and shorts are also very important. The fabrics have to be lightweight and they should be able to absorb and wick moisture. It’s very important to feel comfortable and light as you play so that you won’t have any distractions.
The length of shorts should always fall above the knee, since you will be using your thighs and knees to control the ball. You wouldn’t want the fabrics to impede the quality of your touches if you’re wearing basketball shorts that cover all the way down over your knees.
The socks have to be made of cotton with a length that reaches just below the knee. They should be able to cover your shin guards and keep them in place. Knee socks are fitted just at the edges so that they don’t go down even when your game gets intense.
Lastly, the shin guards are required of every player in most matches. They protect your shins from bruises and minor injuries. Since this is the area of your leg that is mostly exposed to other players’ kicks, it is very important to protect them. Though the shin guards will not actually prevent injuries, they lessen the blow of sudden hits to your shin bone.
Law 5: The Referee
The referee has all the authority on the field, and whatever they say is law. If a player questions the referee’s decisions, they can be subjected to further disciplinary measures simply for dissenting.
The Referee’s Powers
Understanding The In-Field Soccer Referee Signals
A Signal For Advantage After Foul Play: When a foul happens during the game, the referee stretches out their arms to the front and parallel to the ground. The referee’s arms point toward the goal of the side that has the advantage. There is no whistle blowing for this signal.
The advantage situation occurs when one side commits a minor foul, but the other side, in the referee's opinion, has an advantage in proceeding with the play. The referee, therefore, makes the advantage signal, and lets the game continue, instead of calling foul.
For instance, if a defender fouls an attacker, but the attacker doesn’t lose his chance of making an on-goal shot, the referee doesn’t call foul. They instead let the attacker continue with the play and simply show the advantage signal.
If the team that makes the first minor foul follows through with other fouls, the referee stops the play and gives a free kick to the team to which the foul was committed.
Whistle Blowing And Pointing Forward To Award A Direct Free Kick: If the referee wants to issue a free kick, they blow the whistle and immediately point towards the attacking direction of the team that gets the free kick. Even if you perceive that a free kick should be issued, ensure that you don’t stop the play until you hear the ref blow the whistle.
An instance where the referee may award a free kick is when a player who is not a goalkeeper hits the ball with their hand. In this case, the other team receives the free kick.
While putting the ball in play, a player is not allowed to touch the ball twice before another player gets to touch it. This two-touch rule also applies to throw-ins – the player that throws the ball cannot then kick it before any other player touches it. Such a foul may cause the ref to signal for a free kick.
Free kicks are awarded in situations of minor and mid-level fouls, and the referee doesn't perceive any advantage for the receiving team. This is perhaps the most common referee signal in soccer.
Pointing Up To Award An Indirect Free Kick: In situations where an indirect free kick is awarded, the ref blows the whistle followed by pointing up to the sky with their free hand. The referee keeps their hand raised for a few moments while explaining which team will receive the free kick and why the free kick is being awarded.
The primary difference between a direct and an indirect free kick is that you are allowed to make an on-goal shot with a direct free kick, which is not the case with an indirect free kick.
If you shoot an indirect free kick and you end up scoring without the ball touching anyone else on the field, such a goal would not count. An instance where an indirect free kick may be awarded is if a defender (or any other player) makes a pass back to their goalkeeper, and the goalie touches the ball with their hands. Indirect kicks are not as common as direct kicks. However, you should always be on the lookout for associated signals.
When Awarding A Penalty Kick, The Ref Points At The Penalty Spot: When the referee wants to indicate a penalty kick, they blow the whistle and then point directly at the penalty spot where the penalty kick will be taken from. The whistle blow for a penalty kick is usually long and firm. The blow is usually not short and sharp as it is for some other signals.
When the referee wants to indicate a penalty kick, they blow the whistle and then point directly at the penalty spot where the penalty kick will be taken from. The whistle blow for a penalty kick is usually long and firm. The blow is usually not short and sharp as it is for some other signals.
A penalty kick involves a 1v1 between a striker from the attacking team and the goalkeeper from the defending team. The attacking team takes a direct on-goal shot from the penalty spot.
An example of a situation where the referee may issue a penalty kick is if a defending player touched the soccer ball with their hands while in the penalty box.
Yellow Card For Medium Level Offenses: If a player commits a medium level offense, they receive a yellow card as a warning. If the same player gets another yellow card, this is equated to one red card, and the player must leave the field.
When issuing a card, the ref fetches the card from their pocket, points the card at the player, and then lifts it in the air. Having done this, the ref then writes down the details of the offense in the referee notebook. As an example, if a player makes a harsh tackle without making any contact with the ball, that may be a yellow card offense.
Red Card For Severe Offenses: A red card is dreaded in soccer because it leaves the team with less than 11 players. In situations of severe fouls or two yellow cards, the ref issues a red card.
In instances where the referee issues a red card to a player because of receiving two yellow cards, they point the yellow card to the player first, and then point the red card to them. Similar to the yellow card situation, the ref points the red card to the player and then lifts the card straight up in the air.
An offense that could warrant a red card is if one player punches another player. The player that made the punching, if given a red card, must leave the field immediately, and is not allowed back in that particular game.
Other Signals: A referee may call for a goal kick by pointing to the goal where the kick will be directed, with their arm pointing out straight, and being perpendicular to their body. The referee may also call for a corner kick by pointing to the corner flag with their arm pointing upward.
Watch For Goal Signals: There are no official signals that follow a goal in soccer. As long as the ball has wholly crossed the goal line that is marked between the goalposts, a goal is considered to have been scored, unless a foul was committed before that.
A whistle blow that is primarily meant to signify play starting and stoppage may also signify that a goal has been scored. However, in many instances when a goal is scored, the players automatically stop the play for a few moments, so the whistle is sometimes not blown at all, because it is unnecessary.
Law 6: The Assistant Referees
The assistant referees’ primary responsibility is to assist the referee in the performance of their duties.
The assistant referees, or the linesmen, assist the main referee in his decisions. They are situated on both of the touch or sidelines and they carry with them a flag to communicate with the referee and the players.
They usually raise their flags for balls that go out of the field and offside penalties.
The fourth official is not situated on the field but just outside the touchlines, halfway between the two team’s areas.
They perform more of an administrative duty like assisting the referees before and after the game and substitutions. They also act as the contact official between the managers and the main referee.
If a manager does not like a decision, it is often the fourth official that receives the grievances. If, for some reason, any of the referees on the field are not able to continue their duties in the middle of the game, the fourth official will act as their replacement.
Understanding Assistant Referee (Sideline Referee) Signals
Assistant referees always have a flag at hand as they move around the edges of the field. They use the flag to make various signals, such as corner kick signals. The assistant ref moves up and down the field while following the ball. Soccer games have two sideline referees; each assistant referee watches one half of the field.
Pointing To The Corner As A Signal For A Corner Kick: The assistant referee goes right to the corner flag and uses the flag they have at hand to point down at the corner spot. Note that the sideline referees do not blow the whistle when signaling a corner kick.
If the ball goes to the other half of the field, the sideline ref remains at the halfway line of the field until the play returns to their half. The assistant ref signals for a corner kick if for instance, an attacker takes an on- goal shot and a player from the other team deflects the shot, and the ball goes out of bounds on either side of the goal.
Pointing In One Direction As A Signal For A Throw-In: When a ball goes out of bounds during a game, the assistant ref rushes to the point where the ball crossed out of the play area. When they get to that point, they use their flag to point to the direction of the throw-in. This will be the attacking direction of the side that receives the throw-in.
If the ball crosses out of the field at a point that is on the other half-field, the sideline ref only signals which direction the throw-in should go, but only if it is an obvious call for them. If it is not obvious to them, the on-field ref steps in and decides where the throw-in goes.
For a ball to be considered to have gone out of bounds, it needs to cross the line entirely. If the ball only crosses halfway, proceed with the play.
Pointing The Flag To Signify An Offside: If an offside offense happens in soccer, the assistant ref stands firmly in line with the player that went offside and points their flag out into the field. When pointing with the flag, the ref lifts their arm such that it stays perpendicular to their body.
Sideline referees do not blow the whistle when calling an offside. The offside soccer rule may be quite confusing to many people. The play is considered offside if an attacking team passes the ball to a team member who is nearer to the opponent goal.
If the team member who receives the ball was closer to the goal than the last player of the other team when the pass was originated, an offside has occurred. To illustrate, if an attacker passes the ball to a player on their team who happens to be nearer to the goal that all of the opponent’s defenders when the attacker makes the pass, an offside is called.
The offside rule was created to prevent players from simply camping at their opponent’s half waiting for long balls from their teammates so that they can score.
A Rectangle To call A Substitution: To signify a substitution, the sideline referees go to the middle line along the edge of the field, and use their arms and their flag to form a rectangular shape above their head. The sideline refs make this rectangle for about 10 seconds to ensure that people have a chance to notice it.
Along with the assistant ref is someone else that holds up a board that indicates the number of the player that is leaving the field, in red, and the number of the player getting into the field, I green. For substitutions, the two assistant referees make the rectangular signal.
The Miscellaneous Soccer Referee Signals: The assistant ref may sometimes keep their flag up after the whistle has been blown. By doing this, the sideline ref is indicating that they need to talk to the in-field referee about an issue such as outside interference.
Law 7: The Duration of the Match
A soccer match is played for two 45-minute halves, and extra time can be added to each half at the referee’s discretion. A half-time period of not more than 15 minutes separates the halves.
The extra time added for each half generally corresponds, in the referee’s own opinion, to the time taken up by substitutions and injuries.
The amount of extra time must be announced and clearly displayed at the half line when the regular 45-minute period ends.
Soccer does not have a specified time limit, and it is up to the referee to decide on when to end a match.
Law 8: The Start and Restart of Play
Kick-off is usually determined by tossing a coin, whereby the winning team either chooses to start the ball or choose the goal they will attack.
The losing team takes the other option that the winning team did not pick. Kick-off occurs when starting each half, and after every goal that is scored.
All kickoffs are taken at the midpoint of the halfway line. When a team scores a goal, the kick-off is given to the opposing team so that they restart the match.
Law 9: The Ball in and Out of Play
The ball is considered to have gone out of play if it completely crosses any of the goal lines or touchlines.
The ball is also considered out of play when the referee stops play for whatever reason.
The ball is still in play if, for instance, it strikes the goal frame or the referee but remains within the goal lines and touchlines.
Law 10: The Method Of Scoring
A goal is scored when the soccer ball entirely crosses the goal line and within the frame of the goal.
When the match ends, the team with the higher number of goals is the winner, eliminating the necessity for extra time.
Law 11: Offside
If an attacking player receives a ball while they are on the opposing team’s half, they must be on the same line or behind the second last defender (the last defender is usually the goalkeeper). Note that this rule only applies if the player is involved with the play.
One of the most complicated rules of soccer, if you’re just beginning to play, is the offside rule.
It is very important that you understand this so you can play the game properly. If you’re a defender, you can use the rule to your advantage. Let’s take a look at what the offside rule is really about.
There are two terms that you have to remember: the offside position and the offside offense. Being in an offside position does not get you sanctioned in itself. It is only when you play the ball in an offside position that it becomes the offense.
You are considered to be in an offside position when the only opposing player ahead of you is the goalkeeper. For example, your midfield is carrying the ball and you are now running and looking for space for him to pass you the ball.
You run ahead of the last defender and position yourself behind him, leaving only you and the goalkeeper. This is the offside position. The two conditions are that: you are on the opponent’s half of the field, and that the only player ahead of you is the keeper.
You get the offside offense if the ball from the midfielder is passed to you. The linesman can then raise his flag, signalling to the referee that you are on offside position.
In this case, the play will be stopped and an indirect free kick will be given to the opposing team. The offense happens when the ball is passed to you, and not when you receive it. Exceptions to the rule include passes gotten from a goal or corner kick. If you score a goal in an offside position, the goal will not be considered.
Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct
If you’re just beginning to play soccer, certain fouls may be confusing so it’s best that you know what behavior or conduct are not allowed and will cause your team to be penalized. There are two different types of fouls in soccer: Major and Minor Fouls.
Major fouls are usually considered when the behavior is intentional. Major fouls can cause the referee to give a player a red card, which will eliminate the player from the game. These are:
Major fouls usually result to a direct free kick given to the other team. Whereas a major foul made within the penalty area will merit a penalty kick to the team who was fouled.
Minor fouls made by a team will merit the other team an indirect free kick. Minor fouls can cause the referee to give the player a yellow card, which means a warning is given. Persistent minor fouls can cause the referee to give the player another yellow card, resulting to a red card, wherein the player will be eliminated from the game and will not be substituted.
Misconduct that leads to an award of a direct free kick
If a player commits the mentioned fouls while in their team's penalty box, the opposing side is awarded a penalty kick.
If a player commits the following, an indirect kick is awarded
Yellow cards serve as a caution or warning to players. Yellow cards can be issued for such offenses as:
When a player receives a red card, they should immediately leave the field of play. Red cards can be issued for such offenses as:
Some offenses may attract disciplinary actions by relevant soccer authorities even after the match is over.
Law 13: Free Kicks
There are two kinds of free kicks – direct free kicks and indirect free kicks. With a direct free kick, players are allowed to shoot directly into the opponent’s goals without the ball being required to touch another player.
A direct free kick is taken from the point where the foul occurred, unless the foul occurred within the fouled team’s goal area, in which case the fouled team can take the kick from any point within the goal area.
Opponents must be 10 yards away from the ball until the kicker plays the ball. The ball is considered to be in play once the kicker has moved it.
However, if the direct kick was taken from within the fouled team’s penalty area, the ball becomes in play when it passes directly beyond the penalty area. An indirect kick is taken from the point where the infringement occurred, except in situations where the foul was committed within the awarded team’s goal area, whereby the indirect kick may be taken from any point within the goal area.
The referee raises his hand during an indirect kick, to indicate the kick. An indirect kick must be subsequently touched by another player before entering the goal. If it does not touch another player but goes into the goal, that goal is declared void.
The ball is in play as soon as the kicker moves it, except in situations where the kick was taken from within the penalty area of the awarded team, in which case the ball becomes in play when it has entirely left the penalty area. The ball has to be stationary both for a direct and an indirect kick.
Direct Free Kicks
Direct Free Kicks are given to a team when they are fouled by the other team. Major fouls like intentional kicking, charging, holding, spitting, and tripping a player will merit the other team a direct free kick.
The ball is placed on the spot where the offense happened and anyone in the team can kick the ball. Opponents must be at least ten yards away from the player, where they can make a human wall between the goal and the player. A ball can be kicked directly into the goal and will be considered a score.
Indirect Free Kicks
Indirect free kicks are given to a team when they are fouled by the other team. Minor fouls like dangerous play and delaying the game will merit the other team an indirect free kick.
Just like direct free kicks, the ball will be placed on the spot of the foul. The difference between the two is that in indirect free kicks, if the player kicks it directly into the goal, it is not considered a score unless it touched someone else before crossing the goal line.
The ball could deflect from a teammate or the opponent, or even the goalkeeper. It’s called indirect because it still has to pass someone else on the field before you can kick it directly into the goal. Some players pass it to a teammate who is positioned beside them, who then kicks the ball into the goal for a score.
Law 14: The Penalty Kick
Penalty kicks are awarded if a defensive player fouls an attacking player within the defensive player’s penalty box, or when a defensive player commits a handball in their team’s penalty area.
In a penalty kick, a player from the side which was awarded the penalty kick is allowed to take a single on-goal shot while only the opposing team’s goalkeeper defends the kick.
During a penalty kick, the soccer ball is placed at the penalty spot (the penalty mark is 12 yards from the goal line, and it is at the midpoint of the two touchlines).
During the penalty shot, all players on both teams (except the defensive goalkeeper and the kicker) must remain outside of the penalty area but within the field of play.
The players must be behind the penalty mark, and not less than 10 yards from the penalty mark. Players are allowed to enter the penalty box once the penalty shot has been taken.
The goalkeeper can make lateral movements along the goal line before the penalty shot is taken, but they are not allowed to come off the goal line until the shot is taken.
The assistant referee handling the goal line where the penalty kick is taking place stands at the point where the penalty area and the goal line intersect and stays alert looking for any infringements or valid scores.
Law 3: The Number Of Players
A throw-in is awarded when the team with ball possession plays a ball that goes out of bounds over the touchline. The throw-in must be taken near the point where the ball crossed the touchline.
The throw-in is given to the opponents of the player that last made contact with the ball when it went out of bounds.
Opposing players are allowed to stand at any distance from the throwing player as long as it is not closer than 2 m (2.2 yards) from the thrower, and they must still be on the designated field of play.
The thrower may take the throw-in at a point that is farther back from the touchline. The thrower must face the designated playing field at the moment of making the throw.
The player should throw the ball using both hands, from behind and over the head. The ball is considered in play immediately it enters the field. The player who takes the throw-in has to release the ball with both hands simultaneously while keeping both feet planted on the ground.
If the player who takes the throw-in does not observe these conditions, the play is stopped, and a throw-in is awarded to the opposing team. The player taking the throw-in is not allowed to throw the ball directly to the goal and score.
How to Do a Soccer Throw In
Throw In skills in soccer are essential and basic but not much attention is given to it during training. But this shouldn’t be so since throw ins are very crucial in matches. Everything is halted and all the attention is given to the player who does the throw in. It’s the perfect opportunity for your team to maintain possession of the ball, so they are very important.
The very first thing you should know when doing a soccer throw in is that you are not allowed to lift your feet as you throw the ball. If you do this, a foul will be called out by the referee and the throw in will be given to your opponent and you would definitely not want that to happen. So knowing the basic rule is key.
Here are the steps to doing a soccer throw in:
Step One: Pick up the ball and run to the sideline. If you want a strong throw, step back a few feet from the sideline.
Step Two: Choose a teammate who is open and unmarked. This may be close to impossible so take your time in looking for that teammate.
Step Three: Bring the ball behind your back to get a strong force of throw. Once you’ve chosen your teammate to pass the ball to, you can step closer to the line, plant both feet on the ground, square your shoulders with your target, and throw the ball forward with all the force that you can muster. Always throw the ball at your teammate’s feet. If your teammate has to control and trap the ball, you’re giving the opponent time to steal the ball away so as much as possible, target the feet.
Opponents can pretty much read your movements so one way to fool them would be to act as if you’re passing to a certain teammate, then abruptly change your direction before you release the ball and pass it to another teammate.
Law 16: The Goal Kick
A goal kick is given when the offensive side plays, and the ball goes out of bounds over the defensive team’s goal line (either on the ground or in the air). The last person to touch the ball has to be from the offensive team.
After the referee declares the ball out of play, the defender or goalkeeper places the ball at any position within the goal box and the kicks the ball back into play.
Also, a goal kick is awarded to the defense team when a ball is played directly into the goal, with the last person to touch it being from the attacking team, and from a situation where scoring an attacking goal directly is not permitted.
These situations are
In most youth leagues, an unlimited number of substitutions is allowed. The substitutions must, however, be listed on listed on the game card before the match begins or those players will be ineligible.
In most youth leagues, an unlimited number of substitutions is allowed. The substitutions must, however, be listed on listed on the game card before the match begins or those players will be ineligible. During a game stoppage, the goalkeeper can be subbed with any player on the pitch or any eligible substitute player on the bench.
Goal Kick Fully Explained
One way to restart a game is through the goal kick. This is given to the defending team when a player from the attacking team was the last one to touch the ball before it went beyond the goal or end line. The ball is then given to the defending team to kick it to a teammate or directly towards the goal.
A goal kick is also awarded to the defending team if a goal is shot into the net from a free kick that is indirect. The ball can be placed anywhere inside or on the lines of the goal areaas long as it does not go beyond. Any player can do the goal kick but it’s usually the goalkeeper that does this task.
He is not allowed to use his hands to pass the ball–he must kick it. A whistle from the referee signals that the goal kick can already be done. Goal kicks are usually chipped, so the ball can reach the nearest teammate to the goal. Short passes to defenders nearby are also done.
Opponents are required to stay outside of the penalty area. If he enters the box before the ball is kicked, he will be fouled and given a warning or yellow card by the referee. In such case, the goal kick must be retaken.
The player is also not allowed to touch the ball for a second time while inside the penalty area. The ball should be touched by another player first, before he can have the second touch on the ball.
A goal kick can be kicked directly to the goal and considered a score. If he passes directly to a teammate who is on an offside position, an offside call will not be called and the play can continue.
Law 17: The Corner Kick
A corner kick is given to the offensive team when a player from the defensive team plays the ball out of bounds over their team’s goal line.
The ball must have been last touched by a player of the defensive team. A player from the offensive team kicks the ball from within the corner area and back into play.
The kick must be taken from the corner area nearest to where the ball left the designated field. With a corner kick, players are allowed to score directly off the corner kick.
The assistant referee signals that a corner kick should be awarded by first raising their flag, then using the flag to point at the corner are on the side of the pitch they are in.
Note that this is not an indication of where the corner kick should be taken from. The referee will then award the corner kick by pointing to the arc where the kick will be taken from. The corner arc is at the point where the goal line and the touchline intersect and has a radius of one yard.
All defending players must be positioned not less than 10 yards from the corner arc until the kicker makes the corner kick. A corner kick is considered taken when the kicker moves the ball.
Soccer Positions Explained
The positions and formations used in soccer are one of the most important fundamentals for any soccer player. These are considered the fundamentals a soccer player needs to know whether he or she is just starting or is a seasoned player.
Positions in soccer have specifically allocated areas in the field that needs to be covered by a player, and they generally determine the desired form to be played by the team. Soccer positions, to a great extent, dictate the territory of span for a given soccer player.
The positions determine how far right or left and how far forward and backward a given player needs to move in the field of play. Some factors determine the positions and, more so, the formations in soccer.
These include the coaching strategy employed by the team coach, the type of league that is played, the number of players involved in the game, and the players' age group.
Our focus here is on the standard eleven (11) against eleven (11) layers or eleven aside games. In this standard game, we explore the different positions involved to show how they work based on the roles assigned in the field of play.
The main positions are defensive, midfield, and offensive positions, and each has a role to play according to the assigned number. The numbering of positions in soccer dates back to the 1920s, and since then, it has been used by several coaches to help individual players to have a better understanding of the soccer game.
In the U.S., this numbering system is much used among youth players to teach on the field roles as they develop soccer talents, and the system has turned out to be a universal language well understood by soccer players around the world. The method involves assigning a number to each position.
The numbers are applied to specific desired formations, clearly indicating and identifying where players line up on the field. Every assigned number in an area has a different role to play in the field, and collectively, they keep the team machine in tip-top shape in a game. This system helps young players to know what is expected of them in the pitch as they are assisted by their coaches to develop their soccer skills.
This system of numbering positions in soccer should not be taken just to mean a player sticking to a specific area or zone in the field of play. As a soccer team develops, and individual players become more flexible and skilled, creativity comes in, bringing more fluidity to the style of play.
Depending on the flexibility and skills designed, a single player can have several roles to play in the pitch despite the assigned number position. To be able to get an insight view of all these, there are some general guidelines for defensive, midfield and offensive positions as outlined below.
The goalkeeper marks the final line of defense to prevent the opponent from scoring a goal. The goalkeeper is responsible for protecting the net. Other names attributed to this player are goalie, and the keeper, and is the only player permitted to use his/her arms, and hands to block the ball from crossing the goal line.
The goalkeeper picks up the ball when the game is in progress. The goalkeeper rules only hold when the ball is within the special penalty area, known as the goalkeeper box, or penalty box.
When the keeper steps outside the penalty area, the keeper becomes a regular player and must not use their arms or hands to block the ball. According to traditional soccer rules, the goalie do not have the permission to use their hands or arms to block the ball when the ball originated from a teammate pass right to the keeper during the game.
Some of these rules have undergone amendments, and the goalkeeper can currently use hands or arms to block direct passes from their teammates. The goalkeeper wears unique football gear such as hand gloves, and in many cases, long sleeves clothes for further protective measures.
The goalies put on a jersey of a different color from the rest of their teammates. The different color jersey facilitates easy identification from the rest of the players when on the field.
The keeper can also put on pants, and short specially designed for their position. In the classical soccer setting, the keeper always wears jersey number one, but currently, the goalkeeper can wear any number jersey depending on the keeper, and the club.
Generally, a center-back covers the space along the flank and is expected to be fast because, at some point, he or she is expected to play an important role in the team's offense by staying wide. The center back must make overlap runs in the field and pushing up the flank but make a quick recovery to defend at the same time. Most teams in modern football use fullbacks as unmarked wingers are causing troubles to opponent defense. This soccer position needs some good stamina and speed.
This is a soccer defensive position that can be either right or left-back. This means a fullback is positioned on either side of the stopper. The role of the fullback is to defend against opposing wingers in the flanks.
A left-fullback plays on the left side of a stopper. The left-fullback is always expected to disrupt the right-side attacking wingers ensuring no dangerous cross deliveries from the left or passes directed to other opponent attackers from the right attacking wingers.
Right-fullback plays on the right side of a stopper. The right-fullback is always expected to disrupt the left side attacking wingers ensuring no dangerous cross deliveries from the left or passes directed to other opponent attackers from the wingers.
Winger or outside midfielder is a soccer position that involves both defensive and offensive roles. The modern football formations have experienced the coming up of all-purpose midfielders that seem to be replacing the "old" winger position.
This position still exists in soccer to date. To be able to play the two roles effectively, a winger must be physically fit and with stamina. As a defender, a winger is expected to pick up the widest opponent player on his or her side.
When the winger is unmarked, the winger pinches in towards the middle but ensuring that they remain on the same level with the ball. The position maintains the compactness of the team.
This is a soccer position discovered in the 1970s by the German soccer legend called Franz Beckenbauer. It is also commonly called the "Libero" position and was popularized thanks to German in the 1970s.
The position was used for the time by the Brazilian squad at the 1990 Fifa World Cup held in Italy under their head coach Lazaro. The Brazilian squad, however, was eliminated early in the tournament, something which was severely criticized by the outraged Pelé.
Germany, on the other hand, used the same position of Libero at the World Cup 1990 and clinched the title! Since then, several soccer teams have abandoned the use of the sweeper position because some are not just suited to play with Libero. Germany's squad and several youth clubs still play with a sweeper.
A Sweeper is positioned behind the defenders and in front of the goalkeeper. A sweeper cannot go past the midfield line. A sweeper covers the whole pitch from right to left, wherever extra help is required, and often takes corner kicks, and goal kicks. He or she is also expected to perform throw-ins.
A sweeper is considered the last player in the defense line. One of the main roles of a Libero is to take care of gaps and spaces behind the defenders. This player is allowed to roam laterally but a few meters behind the team's line of defense and always analyzing the development of plays.
He or she is expected to have a high sense of anticipation towards the opponents' open angles and passing lanes formations and making clever decisions and handling them. In a typical game, more than one issue will present itself simultaneously, always keeping the Libero on toes.
A sweeper is not supposed to mark opponent attackers, and this allows him or her to significantly move forward when the team is possessing and initiating an attack. A sweeper is a very troublesome unmarked player to the opponent defense because he or she comes in unexpectedly to back up the offensive position. A very effective sweeper should be very conscious, always confident, and has proper dribbling of the ball and handling skills.
A soccer fan would easily guess that halfbacks or midfielders mostly play in their half of the pitch or the middle of the pitch. The midfielders are intermediaries connecting the defensive and offensive soccer positions.
The midfielders transmit the ball and ensure that the game is progressing smoothly. They mainly take care of the most actions in the progress of the game.
his is a soccer position where a player or players are positioned to offer extra protection in front of defenders.
TA defensive midfielder is always expected to lie back when the team launches an attack. A player in this position has a role in tackling the opponent attacker and driving them out to the sides.
A defensive midfielder is also expected to check out for other opponent defenders and midfielders who might come to support the attacking. This is a soccer position that is considered to be the backbone of the team. The defensive midfielder plays a role similar to the sweeper, but operating between the offensive midfielders.
The defensive midfielder plays in front of the defense line and the stopper. The defensive midfielder roams laterally from sideline to sideline, pressuring the ball. He or she serves as a backup if a teammate is beaten in the middle of the field.
When playing as an offensive, this player is expected to be behind the attacking line where he or she can collect rebounds and miss-kicks. The defensive midfielder should be fit to be able to make support runs and give back pass options when the ball is out and close to the sideline.
Some prominent defending midfielders include Brazilin former captain Dunga and the most recent Chelsea player, Claude Makelele. One thing in common about them is that they showed aggressiveness in tackling and always well positioned.
The central midfielder is mainly perceived as the most hardworking player because the position holder must be ready for any action. They play both defensive and offensive roles according to the position of the ball. The midfielder is responsible for the ball distribution to other teammates.
The central midfield position requires a player with unique ball-handling skills to ensure smooth control and transmission of the ball. When providing attacking assistance, the central midfielders usually take long shots to the opponent's goal to assist the offense.
In a classical soccer setting, the central midfielder wore jersey number eight, but in the current setting, they can wear any number according to the club. Central midfielders usually line up with position ten when playing in an offensive-minded formation, or with number six when in a defensive-minded formation.
Attacking / Offensive Midfielder
This is mainly an offensive position in soccer. A player in this position links the central midfield to the forwards. The attacking midfielder can be central, right, or left. The leading role of an offensive midfielder is to create chances for team strikers.
He or she facilitates the entire attacking process by finding and creating skillful passes past the opponent's defense. The attacking midfielder should be physically fit, always in good form, an have skilled dribbling techniques, and excellent viewing and scanning combination to able to distribute the balls to launch an attack.
The attacking role generally requires stamina, technical skill, tactical understanding, and good vision. When the team loses possession, the offensive midfielder retreats behind the ball, pressuring to win it back. He or she should make intelligent runs with the ball and knowledge and where to distribute the ball.
The right midfielder is called the outside midfielder, or the right-winger. The outside midfielder stays wide during the game by assisting in pulling the opponent's defense towards the outer of the field. This generates space for the offensive line to attack.
The right midfielder must possess strong (1-vs. -1) skills because the winger needs to go around the opponent's right fullback and wingbacks. The right midfielder never possesses the ball much during the game because they focus on finding ways to transmit the ball forward through cross passes to their attacking midfielders, or through taking shots on-target themselves.
The right midfielder must be a phenomenon in the hustling of the ball to ensure effective gameplay. Because of their roles in the play, right midfielders are categorized into forwarding or offensive positions according to the team's formation.
The left midfielder is called the outside midfielder, or the left-winger. The outside midfielder stays wide during the game by assisting in pulling the opponent's defense towards the outer of the field. This generates space for the offensive line to attack. The left midfielder must possess strong (1-vs. -1) skills because the winger needs to go around the opponent's left fullback and wingbacks.
The left midfielder never possesses the ball much during the game because they focus on finding ways to transmit the ball forward through cross passes to their attacking midfielders, or through taking shots on-target themselves. The left midfielder must be a phenomenon in the hustling of the ball to ensure effective gameplay. Because of their roles in the play, left midfielders are categorized into forwarding or offensive positions according to the team's formation.
This is a soccer position mainly entrusted for scoring. A striker should be skillful in heading and with good stamina.
A striker is always expected to stay in front of the opponent's goal, disrupting the attention of the opponent defenders, and scoring is a chance presents itself.
The striker is not supposed to shift much to the sides as a forward is expected to do.
He or she is the main target man, marked by one player. The striker always checks the ball motion, shielding it from the defenders. A striker has the defensive role of pressuring the opponent defenders when trying to initiate an attack.
Forward is a soccer position with a similar role to a striker or strikers. The forward has the main aim of goals scoring. The forward player is always in a scoring position, and all the attention is directed on him or her.
The Forward player is also expected to take corner kicks and penalty kicks. Forwards are players that kick off the ball at the start of the game and during halftime. The forward is expected to retreat to their goal and support the midfield additionally to rushing forward to attack and score.
Forward soccer position involves working under absolute opponent pressure. The players in this position need to have the pace and quick dribbling and ball-handling techniques to take advantage of the usually muscular and tactful opponent defense line. Forwards often achieve this by keeping a constant distance between each to attain a compelling combination.
Winger or outside midfielder is a soccer position that involves both defensive and offensive roles. The modern football formations have experienced the coming up of all-purpose midfielders that seem to be replacing the "old" winger position.
This position still exists in soccer to date. To be able to play the two roles effectively, a winger must be physically fit and with stamina. As a defender, a winger is expected to pick up the widest opponent player on his or her side.
When the winger is unmarked, the winger pinches in towards the middle but ensuring that they remain on the same level with the ball. The position maintains the compactness of her team.
In the offensive role, the winger must stay wide and capitalize on any available space on the flank. Usually, when an attack is initiated on one of the flanks, the entire opponent defense shifts to that side, leaving open space on the flank in which the winger can dribble up the sideline.
A sudden switch to the open flank troubles the opponent defense, getting them off-cut. A winger with stamina and good dribbling skills is more effective in the attacking role.
Just like anything else, soccer tactics tend to come in and out of fashion over the years. While it is very unlikely we'll ever see a return to the likes of 2-3-5 which dominated the formative years of the sport, small positional tweaks and changes can play a huge role in how a team performs.
The beauty of tactics is of course that there's no such thing as a perfect formation. Players have different attributes, and what may work well against one team could result in disaster against the next!
It is no surprise that the modern soccer media devotes endless hours of pundits and 'experts' debating the merits of one team formation over another.Interestingly, some systems tend to be preferred in certain leagues instead of others - one of the reasons which often makes the European Champions League such a fascinating competition.
Having the top soccer formations explained in plain English makes appreciating the nuances of the game so much more interesting, so let's take a look at the most common in the global game.
When it comes to top soccer formations, this is perhaps the most popular in the English Premier League and La Liga at the moment. Even lower ranked teams have been trying to implement this system because it suits the robust and more physical characteristics epitomized by these leagues.
In essence, it looks to pack and overwhelm the midfield, and often allows one or even two players to operate in offensively minded 'free roles'. It may appear similar to 4-4-3 but in truth, it is even more flexible.
Central defenders can come under plenty of pressure in this system. Primarily this is because the full backs are going to be the only players in the system likely to offer much in the way of offensive width, and consequently will find themselves frequently high up the pitch.
Should the opposition counterattack down the flanks then they must maintain excellent positional sense and ability to effectively clear the ball when it is crossed towards the box.
Teams who operate this formation successfully tend to be those with top quality and long established central partnerships (for example Chiellini and Bonucci for the Italian National Side).
In midfield, this system is designed to be near impossible to overrun. Two defensively minded players will serve to cover the central defense, almost always forcing the opposition towards the wings for any counterattack. The other three midfielders can operate with a degree of individuality, and they'll need to do so intelligently in order to complement each other.
One or two will advance to support the lone striker, with the other covering. If all communication breaks down and all three are performing the same duties, the system can break down either isolating the striker or even more dangerously leaving their defensive teammates badly exposed.
When performed well, this soccer formation ought to provide the central striker with plenty of goalscoring opportunities. Chances will come from practically anywhere across the middle of the pitch, so mobility and anticipation are essential features as well as being able to link up with roaming midfielders.
Surely this is almost the same as 4-4-2? Not quite, in fact, it is rather different and happens to be on course to becoming one of the most common formations in the coming years. Those who follow the game closely will have noticed that there is a shortage of players capable of playing entirely on their own up front.
Sure, the big names such as Suarez and Ronaldo may be capable of doing so but less stellar talents often end up isolated and frustrated. A number of managers are also turning away from 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 because, without that focal point, their team can become dangerously inept going forward and leave huge gaps at the back.
4-4-1-1 works in a similar fashion defensively to 4-4-2, with full backs expected to press into wide midfield but not get too carried away very often with their offensive duties.
The center backs will ideally be good all-rounders and only go past the halfway line for set-piece opportunities providing they have the height to make it a worthwhile risk.
Midfield will be balanced with left and right sided players (not necessarily dedicated wingers) providing a structured and versatile range of options.
The number 10 playing behind the central forward is the key. At present there the game is blessed with players who may not have the physical presence to play up front alone or the endurance or physicality for a more central midfield role.
But what they do have is flair, vision and an ability to operate across the opposition defensive line at any opportunity. Perhaps this will be attempting to play in the striker or advancing midfielders, or they may dribble forward themselves, looking to take a shot or draw in a foul challenge. Examples of this style of player - at an extreme level - would be Lionel Messi!
Now while not every team has a Messi, those style of players are in abundance at present (probably thanks to Messi being their idol!) and expect this formation to become ever more popular over the next few years.
Perhaps the best known and until very recently the most common football formation, this system allows for a simple yet solid core which assigns every player a clear role.
Still frequently found in the lower leagues and at amateur levels, it also has the advantage of assigning the physical qualities and skills necessary for each player to perform each role successfully.
In defense, two strong and tall central players will look to dominate any long balls played by the opposition with 'no-nonsense' clearances either to the flanks or straight through the middle.
The full backs will usually be more defense focused with occasional overlaps on the wing when pressing further up the pitch. A for the wingers, skill and crossing ability are key as is pace and directness.
In the middle of the pitch, two high-tempo box-to-box midfielders ought to expect to be good all-rounders, capable of tackling as well as play making.
In attack, the classic combination is the now rather outdated concept of 'little and large'. A tall target man will look to get on the end of crosses from the flanks or long balls played over the midfield, and ideally play as an effective foil with a smaller, faster player possessing clinical finishing ability.
This formation remains commonly found in Serie A where teams still often employ the defensive Catenaccio model. As implied, it is generally used by teams who look to ensure that they do not frequently concede but still retain offensive options.
Hybrids of this are found now and again in the EPL, often by teams who are playing away fixtures against much superior opposition. Likewise, it is a formation commonly adopted 'ad-hoc' during cup competitions later in matches to protect a slender lead and run down the clock.
Employing three typically tall central defenders who may often make up for lack of skill on the ball with their height, strength and 'no-nonsense' approach to the art of defending, this foundation allows two wing backs to operate with relative freedom.
A common problem which may undermine this system is the defense being too flat, allowing slide-rule passes to be played between the lines for speedy opposition strikers to latch on to. Yet when done well it can present a formidable wall that can frustrate even the most imaginative playmakers.
As for the wingbacks, there are two schools of thought on how they ought to operate in a 3-5-2 formation. It would imply that they should be fast - almost like wingers but with more defined defensive duties - but many coaches instead prefer their wide players to possess attributes similar to their center backs or midfielders.
This is because when defending, and that is the focus of this system they can also be drafted into an even more rigid back line towards the end of games. For this reason, it is not uncommon to see midfielders adapted to playing in this role, especially when it is being used as an alternative to their regular game plan.
The three central players are most likely going to be responsible for providing the creative outlet for teams playing this system. Typically it will be two high tempo players looking to press the opposition into making mistakes (a very tiring and often thankless role!) in support of a playmaker/trequartista playing close to the two front players.
Typically it will be two high tempo players looking to press the opposition into making mistakes (a very tiring and often thankless role!) in support of a playmaker/trequartista playing close to the two front players.
Teams with players capable of being able to hold up the ball while their midfielders catch up are essential in this style of play. Think of the likes of Serbia's Mitrovich or Poland's Lewandowski as contemporary examples.
In recent years this has become the mainstay formation used by many of the worlds leading club and international sides. While it may at first glance appear only a slight deviation from the classic 4-4-2, the truth is that this is a very different style of play indeed.
It requires players who are very comfortable on the ball, tactically astute and suits those who play the ball on the ground, looking for defense splitting passes rather than the long ball.
Defensively speaking, the central pairing has to also be good on the ball as more often than not the goalkeeper will throw/pass them the ball to play out with from the back.
It is rare for goalies to just punt the ball upfield as this will more often than not concede possession - and this system is all about retaining it!
Popular with the likes of Barcelona and Roma, there is also a lot of pressure on the left and right sided defenders to operate as 'wing-backs' requiring outstanding fitness and positional awareness.
In the middle, one defender will play deeper as an 'Anchorman' (think Busquets of Barcelona) to retain possession and support two other central players who need to be high-quality all-rounders.
In attack, two players will operate as wide forwards, looking to cut inside and make a play/take a shot more often than cross the ball into the box.
The sole striker - quite often fashionably referred to as a 'false 9' will be a player of exceptional talent, capable of leading the line on their own and bring midfielders and the wide players into the attack on the break.
Basic Techniques and Tips
How to Kick a Soccer Ball
One of the most crucial elements of playing soccer and being successful at it is being able to kick a soccer ball effectively.
This requires both, practice and patience in order to master successfully and be good with it.
Without the proper guide, technique and tricks, it becomes very difficult to kick a soccer ball effectively. However, with proper technique, form and preparation all toppled with hours and hours of practice will only result in one thing: Mastery of kicking a soccer ball.
Realizing that you need the proper information in order to kick a soccer ball effectively is very important, which is exactly what we'll be going over today. The only way to properly kick and master kicking a soccer ball is with the right technique and practice. So, Let's Begin!
Just like with any sport, the proper gear and equipment are very important for the success of the athlete. The exact same concept applies here to soccer. It's just as equally as important as practicing as it is to find the right Soccer Cleats.
Don't wear Soccer cleats that are twice your size or are half your size as that will ruin your game in the long run. Make sure you spend the right amount of time to find soccer cleats that are comfortable and fit you right so that you can begin practicing the right way and not get injure because you chose cleats that were too small. So, pick the right sized cleats for yourself!
Everything in life starts from the fundamentals, starting from scratch and learning the basics. It's very important in Soccer especially that you understand the basic concept of any skill. Whether, that be defending, kicking, goal keeping etc.
The fundamentals of kicking a soccer ball starts off with the placement of the ball on your shoe. There are two placements on your shoe: Number 1 is with the laces and Number 2 is with the inside of your foot.
Figuring out which position on your shoe feels the most comfortable for you is crucial in order to always kick comfortably and in pressured situations.
For a guideline, the inside of the foot is predominantly used for passing the ball to teammates whereas the laces are more for power and raw kicking strength.
With kicking a soccer ball from the beginning it's important to realize that kicking the soccer ball right is not all about the power you kick it with, but the technique that is used to execute the kick. A player can have the slightest power on the pitch but have the best technique and still be the number one kicker on that soccer team.
So, in short, make sure you start off with the placement of the ball on your shoe, begin practicing by kicking the ball head on with your laces to generate the most power as possible when kicking the ball.
The Initial Steps
Before approaching the ball, you need to find the right distance away from the ball before you begin your run up to kick the ball. A good rule of thumb for this is to take two to three steps back away from the ball and then depending on what foot you kick with step to the left one step or right one step. If you kick with your right foot take a step to the left.
If you kick with your left, then take a step to the right. Now that you're the proper distance away from the ball, begin visualizing the run up. When kicking the ball, it's important to first visualize the kick or in other words, map out how the kick is exactly going to go.
Now it's time for the middle transition part of kicking the ball, which is basically the approach or the run up to go and strike the ball. With the run-up make sure you come at an angle which you should already be set up in as we talked about in "The Initial Steps" section, where you take 3 steps back and one step to the right or to the left depending on what foot you'll be striking with.
Now, begin running towards the ball slow at first and once you get to the middle between where you initially started and where the soccer ball is, begin to pick up the speed and head full force to the ball.
Look down at the soccer ball, with quick steps approach next to it and plant your non-kicking foot right next to it as a base to support your kicking foot with power.
Once you’re in this position, keep your eyes on the target and begin swinging your kicking foot toward the soccer ball. Make your arm in an airplane shape to attain balance when kicking the ball. It will also help you generate power.
Finally, it's time for the funnest part of kicking the soccer ball, which is the final strike. With your non-kicking foot planted next to the ball, begin swinging your kicking foot toward the ball and strike the ball with your shoe laces and not your toes.
Follow through with your kicking foot in the direction that you kicked and finish the follow through strong. For the most optimal accuracy and power when kicking the ball, it's crucial that you hit the ball in the sweet spot.
The sweet spot of the ball is right dead center in the middle and that's where you use all of your power to hit the ball, fully concentrate on the sweet spot and strike it with the middle of your shoe laces and follow through strongly to generate those turbine power kicks.
It's very unlikely that your first kick ever will be gold. So now it's time to practice, practice and practice. Because at the end of the day, we all know that practice makes perfect.
So, practice each aspect of the kick. A very effective way to practice kicking a soccer ball is to focus on one targeted area every single day. Start off by practicing the run-up. Then the next day practice the approach.
Then maybe the next day focus on the ball and shoe placement. Finally, practice the follow through. This way of practicing is super effective. It allows you to become a master at every element of kicking the ball, so that you can put it all together and formulate the perfect kick and completely dominate the field.
Keep on practicing to get that upper advantage among your team mates, and make sure you practice the right way so that you can make the most out of your practice.
Yes, there are different variations of kicking the soccer ball, so the best recommendation is that you start off with one and master it. You can then move on to the next after that.
Some other variations of kicking the soccer ball include: The Bend kick, push kick, Outside kick, Toe Kick, Back Heel and a ton more. Once you find yourself mastering a lot of these kicks, then it’s time to branch out an try them in practice games. This will give you the opportunity to try out what you have been practicing in pressured situations.
Overall, knowing the right execution and steps as well as the technique is the most important element of kicking a soccer ball right. Though power is important along with strength and flexibility, it's not the most important aspect to kicking a soccer ball.
Make sure you understand the technique of striking a soccer ball down pack, to the point where it becomes second nature. To make sure all your practices are done comfortably, make sure you pick the right shoes and understand the basics of kicking a ball. Now it's time for you to go out there and begin mastering how to kick a soccer ball.
How to Curve A Soccer Ball
For all those soccer players who want to learn how to bend it like Beckham, this article along with practice and hard work will help you improve your curving skills. First, I will tell you the key to curving a soccer ball.
Including many different factors that can affect the way you curve the soccer ball. Then in the following paragraphs I will tell you a step by step process on how to curve a soccer ball.
This process will help you develop a technique that uses body mechanics and ball placement to thoroughly explain how to curve a soccer ball.
I will also include professional tips that will help you enhance the curve of the ball. Finally, in the conclusion I will review everything I have gone over in this article.
Once you have a soccer ball and a pair of soccer cleats, you can start practicing this technique. The KEY to curving the soccer ball is to make the ball spin in the direction you want to curve it.
Before you even start kicking the soccer ball, practice spinning it. There are many factors that can affect how that soccer ball curves. Some factors are they type and thickness of the grass, artificial turf, the wetness of the field, any slopes or dips in the field, which way the wind is blowing and how hard it is blowing, and even the condition of the field such as muddy or dry.
Spin the soccer ball on the ground with your hands so you can feel how it will spin when you kick it. You can also find the exact spots you want to kick the ball to achieve the curve you desire by hitting the right or left side of the soccer ball in a curving motion.
You can experiment by moving exactly where you hit the soccer ball and how much of a curving motion you use. Once you have a good sense of the spin, we can get started on technique.
Plant your non-dominant foot (the foot you will not be kicking with) on either the left or right side of the soccer ball. If you are planting with your right foot, then your foot will be on the right side of the soccer ball. If you are planting with your left foot, then your foot will be on the left side of the soccer ball.
When you are curving the soccer ball to the left with your right foot or to the right with your left foot, then you want more space between your planted foot and the soccer ball. So you have enough room for your other foot to kick the soccer ball properly.
Planting your foot is very important because it sets up how you will kick the ball. If you do not plant your foot correctly, then it will be much more difficult to get the curve you are looking for.
Pro Tip: When planting your foot try to make sure the tip of your toe is not in front of or too far behind the soccer ball. It is harder to get the desired power behind your kick when your planted foot is in front of or behind the soccer ball. Also try to point your toe exactly where you want the soccer ball to end up.
The kick itself is the most important part of curving a soccer ball. Pull your kicking leg as far back as you possibly can. Then bring your kicking foot forward quickly towards the soccer ball. When you kick the soccer ball, you want to slice the ball with the top-inside or the top-outside edge of your foot.
Which side you use depends on the direction you want to curve the soccer ball and the foot you want to kick it with. If you are kicking with your right foot and you want the soccer ball to curve to the left, then kick the right third of the soccer ball with the top-inside edge of your right foot.
This will make the soccer ball spin counter-clockwise (left) causing the soccer ball to curve to the left. If you are kicking with your right foot and you want the soccer ball to curve to the right, then kick the left third of the ball with the top-outside edge of your foot.
This will make the soccer ball spin clockwise (right) causing the ball to curve to the right. If you are kicking with your left foot and you want the soccer ball to curve to the right, then kick the left third of the ball with the top-inside edge of your left foot.
This will make the soccer ball spin clockwise (right) causing the soccer ball to curve to the right. If you are kicking with your left foot and you want to curve the ball to the left, then kick the right third of the soccer ball with the top-outside edge of your left foot. This will make the ball spin counter-clockwise (left) causing the ball to curve to the left.
Adjusting power: How hard you kick the ball will also affect how much the soccer ball will curve and how far it will go. Typically, when you curve the soccer ball on the ground it will need more power than when you curve it through the air.
When the soccer ball is on the ground it has a lot more resistance from the ground than when it is in the air. This is where the condition of the soccer field and they type of grass or artificial grass will affect the curve of the ball the most.
Usually natural grass needs more power than artificial grass. Also, when the field is wet, then the ball will need less power because there is less resistance due to the lack of friction. If you want more power, then you need to use more muscle groups.
Using your core or abs will help increase your power without exhausting your legs. Take your kicking leg and opposite arm as far apart from each other as you can, then swing them across to the opposite side of your body in order to add that extra power you need. Another way to increase power over time is to build up your leg muscles.
Working out both the strength and endurance of your muscles will increase your power over time. Practice adjusting your power by small amounts in order to see how the soccer ball responds in various field conditions.
Adjusting height: In order to kick the ball higher in the air, you want to get your foot under the ball. To practice this, try kicking lower and lower towards the bottom of the soccer ball. You can also adjust how high the ball goes by adjusting your body. If you lean back while you kick the ball, it will go up higher.
If you lean forward over the ball, then it will go lower. Also, the ball will go higher when you kick it harder. So if you are shooting the ball, try keeping your body forward and over the ball more.
When you are crossing the ball to a team mate, you can lean back more in order to get the ball over the defense and to your team member.
Follow through! Following through is what your body is doing after you kicked the ball. This is just as important for curving a soccer ball as the way you kick it because following through increases power along with the speed of the spin and angle of the curve.
When you want the ball to curve more, then you want your kicking leg to swing across your body after you kicked the ball. The direction you swing your leg is dependent on which leg you use.
Example: When you are kicking with your right foot then you want to swing your right leg, in a curving motion, across to the left side of your body.
When you are kicking with your left foot then you want to swing your left leg, in a curving motion, across to the right side of your body.
Practice! Practice! Practice! If you are looking to make the most out of your practice, then you need to practice correctly. Look at what the professionals are doing. Watch how they kick a soccer ball. Then try to mimic that movement in the mirror. The more you practice, the better you will be able to feel exactly how you are kicking the soccer ball.
Eventually you will be able to make small changes in your body mechanics that will correct the curve of the ball for any situation. The way you kick a corner kick will be different than the way you shoot the soccer ball. Practice different scenarios all over the field. You want to be prepared to curve the soccer ball from anywhere on the field.
Also practice curving the ball with both feet. You never know when you might have to use your non-dominant foot to take a shot on goal or cross the ball to your teammate. Sometimes you will not have the time to set up your shot perfectly.
Try practicing with multiple balls, that way you can curve the ball under pressure and with very little time to set up. Eventually your muscles will remember the movements from all of your practice, and you will be able to curve the ball without even thinking about it.
How To Juggle A Soccer Ball
Soccer is one of the easiest sports to play; all you need is your body and the ball. Even though a true soccer game boils down to how good one can skillfully manipulate a ball, practicing juggling a soccer ball is the best way to build the necessary skills.
From juggling a ball, a soccer player learns how to gain better control of the ball which is an essential skill during the game especially when tackled by an opponent.
As for the novice players, juggling helps build their comfort and confidence with the ball, in turn; the player is able to receive the ball well on their first touch, make creative passes and dribbles as well.
Moreover, since juggling involves a lot of muscles, the player is, therefore, able to make quick bodily adjustments while maintaining balance. While most first time jugglers might not be able to keep the ball in the air after a few touches, practice, perseverance and patience is the ultimate key to juggling like a pro.
So, whether you are teaching your kid or want to learn how to juggle to improve your game, juggling should become your daily routine until you perfect the skill. Here is an in-depth guide to help you kick-start your juggling routine.
The preparation stage is one of the most overlooked steps to successfully juggling a soccer ball. Like any other task, adequate preparation can help you achieve the desired results without much effort and within a short time.
First things first, you need to know that soccer balls come in sizes- size 1 to 5. Size 1, 2 and 3 are for kids and thus have a lighter weight and don't require a lot of air pressure.
However, first time players, no matter the age, can still practice juggling with these balls which are much easier to manipulate. Ball sizes 4 and 5 are for adults, but can still be used for practice by intermediate players-but not kids- learning to juggle. Generally; ball sizes 1, 2 and 3 are for eight-year olds and younger, size 4 is for 8 to 12-year-olds while size 5 is for ages 13 or older.
Now that you have chosen the right ball size to practice with, deflate the ball just a little. It sounds crazy but, the main reason behind deflating the ball a bit is to reduce the intensity of its bounce.
This makes the ball easier to control during the practicing period otherwise it would fly away every time you miss a kick. Makes sense, right? Nevertheless, once you have fully mastered the juggling technique, you should practice with a fully inflated ball.
Lastly, once you have changed into soccer gear remember not to tie your shoelaces in a double not. This is simply because laces tie in double knots often makes the ball bounce off at weird angles due to their large size.
Getting Started with Juggling
Basically, what you will be doing with the ball is kicking it up with your feet to your chest level and back again to your feet without letting it touch the ground. It can be frustrating when the ball keeps bouncing away from your legs but you have to move past these frustrations.
The secret here is knowing exactly how hard you need to hit the ball. If you hit it too hard the ball bounces off and you lose control of it, and at the same time if you hit it too soft it won’t bounce high enough which may also cause the ball to fall off your foot.
Another important thing to successfully juggling a soccer ball is that you need to keep your eyes on the ball at all times. As long as you keep your focus on the ball, there will be minimal or no chances that it will go out of control.
Additionally, keeping your vision on the ball helps you predict where the ball is going to land and thus keep in control. There are a couple of ways you can juggle a soccer ball. First, is the common way juggling using your feet, second is using your knees and lastly is juggling using your head and shoulders.
For beginners, it is recommended to start juggling using your feet since it is the easiest to learn. From then on, using the skills acquired you can proceed to juggle using your knees and even your head and shoulders like professional players do.
Juggling With Your Feet
When juggling with your feet, start with the balls on your hands and hold it at the height of your chest. Now, drop the ball and let it bounce. After this bounce, as the ball begins to descend kick it hard enough with your dominant foot so that it reaches your chest level height and catch it with your hands.
Remember to hit the ball with your laces and keep your toes curled up as you hit the ball. For a more firm kick, keep your ankles locked so that they stay angled and strong. Your knees should also be slightly bent to enable you to have better control of the ball.
As for your controlling foot – the one you are not kicking with- keep it flat and firm onto the ground for maximum balance when juggling the ball. Although risky, you can try maintaining balance with the controlling foot using the toes. This allows you to be agile and make quick movements necessary for keeping the ball on your juggling foot.
However, if it is too much of a risk, just keep your balance with the foot flat on the ground. Furthermore, you can always achieve more balance by keeping your eyes on the ball and your knees bent.
Alternatively, without having to hold the ball, dropping it, letting it bounce and then kick; you can start by bringing the ball close to your feet. With your back slightly bent forward, point your dominant foot down and put tension on it and then bring it slightly up.
Now, bring the ball close to your foot but not too close so as to leave enough room to hit it hard enough- usually at the stomach height level is an appropriate height.
Finally, release the ball and hit with your laces and toes curled up. Repeat the process and hold the ball with your hands each time you kick it up. If you are doing it correctly you should not have to lean every time you are catching the ball. A nice kick should send the ball vertically to your hands where you can catch it at ease.
As you continue practicing, you will be able to juggle without necessarily having to catch the ball. You can try doing a few touches without catching the ball to see how many touches you can do and then aim at improving on those numbers of touches.
Whether you prefer dropping the ball and kicking it after it bounces or placing it on your foot you can add it a bit of complexity to your practicing routine by alternating your feet as you kick the ball.
To do this, first, kick the ball with your dominant foot but not too high as when juggling with one foot – preferably at a height not higher than your waist.
Let the ball drop and kick it with your other foot and then catch the ball. It is important to note that, when alternating your feet, you might be forced to move around a lot so as to keep the ball in control. Besides, since you are also juggling with your non-dominant foot it might be a bit harder hence causing you to move a lot.
Anyway, trying kicking the ball one time with each foot then catch the ball and later kick it three times, four times, five times, progressively until you master this skill when then you juggle indefinitely using both of your feet without having to move a lot.
Juggling Using Your Knees
Well, this one isn't particularly using your knees to kick the ball. On the contrary, it involves knocking up the ball using the meaty mid-part of your thighs. Otherwise, if you use your knees the ball will bounce off violently and you may miss your next kick.
This kind of juggling is preferably for those that have already mastered juggling with their feet and hence will find it easy to use their thighs. On top of it all, juggling with your thighs is a good way to add versatility to your juggling skills and improve your ball control as well.
First, start by lifting the knee of your dominant foot to create a flat surface at the thigh area where the ball will be juggling on. Similar to juggling with your feet by bringing the ball close to the foot, hold the ball above the thigh area and drop the ball on it and proceed to juggle as the way you would juggle with your feet.
Just as juggling with your feet and catching the ball, do the same when juggling using your thighs. As you progress, try and switch to the other thigh or even juggle with both your thigh and feet. This will greatly improve coordination, balance, eye control, peripheral awareness as well as spark your imagination as to what you can do with the ball.
Juggling Using Your Head, Shoulders, And Chest
At this stage, you probably have mastered the technique of juggling a soccer ball. You can now juggle without much strain and make more touches than when you were beginning.
To add a touch of proficiency to your juggling skills, you might consider learning how to juggle with your head, chest and shoulders just as how professional soccer players do it.
For starters, this might take a longer time as compared to the other two ways of juggling. But, everyone is wired differently; one person may learn as quickly as in two weeks while for others it may require months of regular practicing. No matter the case, what matters is that at the end of it all you will still learn irrespective of the time it takes you.
Let’s start with juggling with your head. Bend your knees with your feet shoulder width apart to build power to kick the ball as well as maintain balance. Throw the ball directly above your head and then try to bounce it off of your forehead for as many times as you can.
At this point, you can apply your skills in ball control to help keep the ball within your juggling range. Although some players do juggle using the top of their heads instead of foreheads, such juggling is highly discouraged as it can cause headaches besides limiting how one controls the ball.
Juggling with your shoulders is a much complex technique since the shoulders are not flat, however, you can still use them to direct the ball to the direction you want it to go.
Therefore, juggling with the shoulders is only used to give the ball a direction and not to make successive touches. For instance, when juggling with your feet, you can kick the ball up with one of your foot, and when the ball is above one of your shoulders, you can direct it to the other foot by kicking with your shoulder.
Just make sure you only use your shoulders and not your upper arm to kick the ball, otherwise, hitting the ball with your forearm is a foul commonly known as handball. When learning to juggle using your chest, there are to options of practicing- you can practice alone or with the help of a friend.
When practicing alone, stand by a wall with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Toss the ball to the wall at a height a bit lower than you're the height of your shoulders so that it comes back to your chest.
With your chest tilted backward such that it acts like ramp as the ball hits your chest, pop up with your knees as if doing squats to get enough power in your touch with the ball. Alternatively, if you have a friend, he can be the one throwing the ball to your chest instead of tossing it to the wall.
Learning how to juggle a soccer ball sure does take a lot of time and effort. But similar to learning new concepts or techniques all you have to do is routinely practice until you get it right. Use the above steps to help practice juggling.
How To Pass A Soccer Ball
Passing is the bread and butter of any soccer player. As soccer is a team sport, you must be able to pass the ball to your teammates to keep the game flowing or create goal scoring opportunities.
Some of the greatest soccer teams in the world, such as Barcelona, are famous for placing a strong emphasis on team play and sharp passing. There are different ways to pass the ball during a soccer match including short and sharp passing, long and accurate passing, and through balls.
The style of passing used by a team during a soccer match is usually down to the tactics employed by the coach, however, as a soccer player, you must be capable of picking out the right pass when the opportunity arises.
Short passing is a skill that every player on a soccer pitch must possess. Short passes can be used to work through an opponent’s defense or maintain possession for an extended period during a match.
When making short passes, players rely on accuracy over power as the aim is to find a teammate without surrendering possession. Short passing is one of the most used skills during a soccer match.
Side Foot Pass
Also known as the push pass, the side foot pass is the most reliable and accurate way of passing a ball over short distances. Regardless of your position on the field, every player must be able to play side foot passes regularly throughout a match. The technique for a side-footed pass includes:
The Angle of Approach: It is essential to approach the ball at the correct angle in relation to where you want to play the pass. The typical angle of approach is directly facing the intended target.
Placement of Standing Foot: The standing foot should be around 5-7 inches from the ball to the side, facing in the direction of the intended target.
Placement of Body Weight: All of your body weight should be carried on the standing foot for perfect balance.
The Position of Striking Foot: The striking foot should be at an angle of 90 degrees with the ankle and foot locked in place. The knee should be bent so that the lower part of the leg creates as large a surface area as possible.
Striking the Ball: The striking leg should be swung towards the ball, hitting it in the center with the instep of the foot. As you make contact, keep your head down to ensure the ball glides across the grass.
Follow Through: Keeping your weight on the standing foot, follow through the ball for perfect accuracy. The best way of practicing the side foot pass is to use a training partner or a wall and pass the ball back and forth 1,000 times. Only use the side of your foot when passing and controlling the ball to become more comfortable using the instep of your foot.
Use both feet when practicing and as you improve, try passing the ball using the side foot pass without controlling it first. Doing this will improve your ability to make a first-time pass which can be necessary if you are under pressure during a match.
A variation of short passing which you will often see performed during a soccer match is the wall pass or the one-two pass. A wall pass is performed when a player plays a short pass to their teammate and then receives a pass back very quickly from the same teammate.
This type of passing can be extremely effective when trying to create space, beat a defender, or get through on goal. The technique for a wall pass includes:
Angles: The angle created is the most important part of a wall pass. Typically, the angle will be around 45 degrees for the first pass and another 45 degrees for the second pass. These angles are what create the space to beat defenders and hopefully open up a goal scoring opportunity.
Accuracy and Power: Both passes in a wall pass must be extremely accurate and played with enough power to reach their intended target. The first pass must have enough power to make it easy for the receiving player to rebound the ball back to the original player in space. If the ball is hit without sufficient accuracy or power, the wall pass will fail.
Creating Space: As the first pass is played, the receiving player needs to recognize where the ball needs to be played. To do this, the original player must immediately create the desired space for the return pass. A common mistake is to run immediately into the desired space, bringing a defender along. However, a perfectly timed run will open up much more space from the second pass.
Communication: As soon as the first pass is played, the original player should indicate where they want the return pass to be made. This can be done by shouting or pointing to the position where you want the ball played. For teams who have been playing together for longer periods of time, eye-contact or instinct can be used for communication.
Practicing a wall pass takes a lot of time as it involves a number of attributes that are all required in a split second. The best way to improve is to practice the side foot pass with a training partner or against a wall until you feel confident in your ability.
Then, practice with one or several teammates playing sharp and quick passes to one another. You can even have someone trying to get the ball from you to simulate a real soccer match.
Long passes can be used in a soccer match to split open defenses, relieve pressure, and switch possession from one flank to the other. Mainly used by defenders and midfielders, long passing requires pin point accuracy, a high level of leg strength, and the ability to read the game and see where a pass can be made. Playing the perfect long pass in a soccer match can create goal scoring opportunities in an instant.
The driven pass uses a combination of technique and strength to hit a ball long distances with pace and accuracy. It is generally used if there are no players or obstacles in between the passer and the receiver and is the most effective way to get the ball from A to B.
A driven pass can be effective when switching play from one side of the field to the other or when playing a ball from defense or midfield into a player further up the pitch. The techniques for a driven pass include:
To practice and improve your driven pass technique, set up cones at varying points around a field. Have a training partner pass you the ball at a variety of heights and speeds.
Control the ball with one touch and then play a driven pass towards a selected cone. Keep the ball as low as you can, as driven passes are easier to receive when directed at the feet. If you are practicing alone, start with your back to the cone and quickly turn as hit the driven pass. Be sure to practice with both feet.
A lofted pass is another type of long passing which you will often see executed during a soccer match. It is played when a player wants to pass to a teammate over opposing defenders and is generally used to switch the play and change the angle of attack.
You will often see a lofted pass used when a winger is crossing the ball or from a free kick that is just outside of shooting range. Accuracy is more important than power when playing a lofted pass as you are seeking out a teammates head or trying to weight the pass for a teammate to run on to. The techniques used in a lofted pass include:
To practice your ability to make a lofted pass, you can use a cone or a training partner. If using a training partner, stand varying distances from each other and pass the ball back and forth while trying to achieve the correct loft on the ball.
Alternatively, place a cone on a field and try to hit the cone from different angles and distances with a lofted pass. The best way to practice is to constantly change the angle and swing of lofted passes to recreate positions you may find yourself in during a soccer match.
One of the most spectacular and exciting forms of passing in soccer is the through ball. A through ball is a pass which is played between the opposition’s defensive line for a teammate to run onto and hopefully get a one on one opportunity with the goalkeeper.
Through balls have huge variation and can be long driven passes or short passes such as the wall pass. They can be played as a straight pass or at an angle depending on the run on the player you are aiming for.
Midfielders are generally the players who will excel at through balls, creating excellent goal scoring opportunities for their team. The techniques involved for through balls include:
The Angle of the Pass: Choosing the correct angle for a through ball is what makes it work. If you play the ball in between the opposition’s defenders at the correct angle, you give your teammate the best chance of collecting the ball and creating a one on one opportunity.
The Strength/Pace/Weight of the Pass: This is the most difficult part of playing a through ball. Not only must you judge the pace of the defenders you are trying to play the ball in between, but also the pace of the receiving player and the condition of the playing surface. Play the ball too quickly or softly and the defenders will get there first, play it too late and the receiving player will be offside.
The Height of the Pass: In a split second, you will need to decide hat height you want to play the through ball at and adjust your body accordingly.
Communication: Remember the receiving player must understand what you are attempting for the through ball to work. There’s nothing worse than playing a perfect through ball only to look up and see your teammate looking at the pass and wondering who is supposed to run on to it!
To become a master of through balls, you must possess the ability to play every single variation of short and long passes. Through balls require the ability to quickly judge which type of pass is the best to play and therefore require a high level of skill in all variations of passing. It is possible to practice through balls with a training partner, a full-size goal, and some cones.
The techniques listed above are key to learning how to pass a soccer ball. The best players in the world practice these techniques for hours every single day to improve their ability to find the perfect pass. If you want to become a master at passing a soccer ball you will need to put in hours of training and practice like the professionals!
How To Do A Bicycle Kick
A bicycle kick is perhaps the most impressive way to score in a soccer game. It is a challenging maneuver that requires players to have enhanced general soccer skills and to practice the move adequately.
It is most suitable for intermediate and experienced players. If exercised sufficiently, players can use the bicycle kick to great effect.
Performing a bicycle kick requires you to get in line with the flight of the ball, jump up, with your kicking leg providing the force to lift you, then whip your kicking foot off the ground and kick the ball.
For an accurate on-goal shot, you would have to kick the back of the ball, so that the ball does not go flying way up. A bicycle kick is also referred to as an overhead kick or a scissor kick. It is a difficult move to pull off, and that explains why it is rare to see it being pulled off during soccer games.
Also, this type of move does not happen very often because the opportunities for a good bicycle kick occur rarely. When an opportunity for a bicycle kick arises, the player must pull it off without any delays because the window of opportunity only lasts for a few seconds.
Often time, players don’t score with this move, and they may end up on the ground feeling awful about it all, and that is why this move should be attempted as a last resort. This post will comprehensively look into what a bicycle kick entail. We will also discuss the safety measures that you should take when practicing this move. Finally, we will explain how you can successfully apply a bicycle kick in a real soccer game.
When You Can Attempt A Bicycle Kick
Before getting into the finer details of bicycle kicks, let us look at a few situations that can warrant an attempt at a bicycle shot. As we have already pointed out, appropriate opportunities for a bicycle kick are rare, and that is why soccer fans go wild when their favorite players pull the overhead kick and end up scoring. A bicycle kick opportunity can present itself in three main scenarios
Bicycle Kick Basics
Turn Your Back Towards Where You Want To Kick The Ball
A proper bicycle kick involves falling backward while kicking the ball up so that it goes over your head and towards the direction opposite to where you were facing. It could be a high-value play because it is unexpected – it could catch the opposing team unawares. When done correctly, a bicycle kick is very spectacular.
Most bicycle kicks happen when players receive a cross or a pass inside the penalty box, and they attempt to score. It is usually not a planned play, but rather a hit-of-the-moment move while trying to score.
How To Push Off The Ground
The classic bicycle kick starts with lifting the knee of your non-kicking foot and simultaneously pushing yourself off the ground with your dominant (kicking) foot. Lifting the non-kicking foot helps you gather the momentum needed to push your kicking foot over your head. The higher you lift your non-dominant foot, the more momentum you can acquire.
Note that you may sometimes kick with the non-dominant foot if circumstances, such as your location on the field and how close the ball is to you, require you to do that. You however always push yourself off the ground with the same foot you make the kick with.
Head And Shoulders
This move is known as a bicycle kick because you are supposed to bring back the non-kicking leg toward the ground and simultaneously bring up the kicking foot, which pushed you off the ground, toward the ball attempting to make contact.
That is where the name bicycle comes from; the non-kicking foot propels you to kick the ball with your other leg. This bicycle move happens as momentum throws you backward.
Strike The Ball
Making a great bicycle kick is quite challenging, but with adequate training, it can be done. Be aware of what part of your foot makes contact with the ball. Since you want to kick the ball in such a way that it goes back behind you, using the top of your foot helps in ensuring that you make contact with the top side of the ball, as opposed to the bottom side, so that you don’t kick the ball straight up.
Always focus on making proper contact with the ball so that you can send the ball in the desired trajectory. This may sound easier than it really is, and it requires intense training. The difficulty with this move is why it is mostly improvised as the last move.
Brace your fall by putting your arms out (having your arms stretched out) to your sides as you come down. Try to have your arms stretched as wide as you can so that you catch yourself with the arms and reduce the force at which your back and hips get to the ground. Be cautious so that you don’t rotate backward way too fast.
Some soccer players prefer falling on their side rather than falling back flat. Once you do enough bicycle kick drills, you will get to know which of the two is better for you.
Practice On Soft Ground
Falling backward to perform this kick is quite hazardous. To reduce the risk of suffering injuries while falling backward, we recommend that you only practice on grass fields – this makes the falling impact gentle. If you exercise on concrete or other hard services, you might hurt yourself. Bicycle kick is not an indoor maneuver.
Learn To Land Safely
Falling safely should be a priority if you are going to practice this maneuver. You land safely by stretching your arms out to your sides which reduces the impact your back makes with the ground. Once you do enough practice, it will seem automatic.
Practice The Fundamentals
Practicing bicycle kicks while alone can be challenging, and it would be quite helpful to have someone pass the ball to you from different directions. This way, you can practice the bicycle maneuver at higher speeds and without having to stop the ball first. A bicycle kick is a directional kick, and that is why it is quite challenging for players to pull it off successfully.
However, intermediate and advanced players may benefit a lot from acquiring this skill since it can be extremely helpful especially in the heat of the moment at the opponent's penalty area. If you don’t have a practice mate, you can try throwing the ball to a hard surface such that it bounces off and comes in your direction.
How to Use The Bicycle Kick In A Game
Always Look For A Pass First
Bicycle kicks are spectacular maneuvers, but it is important to remember that they are also low-probability kicks. You are not only shooting the ball while looking in a different direction, but also you might end up missing the shot altogether.
You might even end up fouling a defender from the opponent team, which you, of course, don’t want to do especially when you are in the opposition penalty box. If you find yourself in the penalty box and facing away from the opponent's goal, it’s advisable to first look for a teammate you can pass the ball to.
If you find yourself in the penalty box and facing away from the opponent's goal, it’s advisable to first look for a teammate you can pass the ball to.
Majority of bicycle kicks take place within the penalty box as your team has ball possession and is trying to core. This is a risky situation for being offside, and that is why you should always double check to ensure that you are not offside – make sure there are defenders between you and the goal.
Avoid The Defenders
If you are set to make a bicycle kick, ensure that you are not going to hurt the defenders in any way. The bicycle maneuver involves getting your cleated foot up above, which increases the risk of kicking another player and getting a card. You don’t want to kick another player while in the penalty area because the repercussions can be dire.
Making A Powerful Kick
If you are going to make a bicycle kick, it better be powerful and surprising. Enough power will ensure that the ball goes all the way. Once you position yourself well and look at the goal for accuracy, forcefully kick the ball as long as it’s on goal. Ensure that you will not kick anyone while pulling it off.
Timing Is Everything
You can have everything in order, including a perfect position and excellent skills, but if your timing is off, you will not be able to pull this off well. In fact, difficulty in proper timing is the reason why this maneuver is extremely challenging.
For a successful bicycle kick, you will need to make a judgment regarding the speed and trajectory the ball is approaching you with so that you can jump at the right time to get a good shot. This takes a lot of practice. Eventually, it becomes easier. For very experienced players, it comes naturally.
A bicycle kick is an impressive move that, if done correctly, can be an instrumental skill in soccer. This maneuver can be used both in scoring and in defending. If you find that you are in a tight space on the opposition penalty box, you may consider making a bicycle shot. If the ball is in your penalty box, you can bicycle kick it off your zone.
It is essential to understand that a bicycle kick is a low-probability shot, and you should always consider whether there is a higher probability move that you can make before resorting to this maneuver.
You don’t want to miss a possible score and let down your team while trying to show off the skill you have. If a better option is at hand take it. If there are no easier options, do the bicycle kick with all that you got. We trust that this article will help you in acquiring this impressive skill.
How to Get a Soccer Scholarship
The love for soccer is growing rapidly in the country. Colleges and other organizations are promoting the sport by offering scholarships to soccer players.
A soccer scholarship can definitely be of tremendous benefit for anyone. But how do you get a soccer scholarship? This article will address this question in detail. Let’s get going.
Playing In High School
To improve your chances of getting a soccer scholarship, ensure that you accumulate some soccer experience before you get to high school.
To improve your chances of getting a soccer scholarship, ensure that you accumulate some soccer experience before you get to high school. Most soccer players that get scholarships begin playing in children’s soccer leagues and then progress to play for school teams and private clubs. By the time they get to high school, they have years of soccer experience.
Some elite players begin playing soccer while in their teenage years, but this is not the typical scenario. Training and practicing in amateur circles will make you better and set you up for a great soccer career ahead. For most people, becoming great at playing soccer takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Cases of natural soccer talent are not very common.
Make a decision on whether to specialize: When starting out, many young sports enthusiasts tend to play multiple sports such as football, basketball, and soccer. They play a different sport when other sports are out of season. You should decide whether you want to specialize in soccer as early as possible so that you start accumulating experience early on.
Being a multi-sport athlete while seeking a soccer scholarship has some benefits. Playing other sports when soccer is off-season helps you stay in good physical shape and can also enhance some skills that are applicable in soccer.
For instance, doing sprints while practicing for other sports will also improve your sprinting abilities in soccer. The downsides of playing multiple sports include being at risk of suffering injuries during the soccer off-season.
Being a multi-sport player can also overstretch your capabilities and therefore fail to be great at soccer, or any of the other sports. One might also end up becoming distracted from their main goal of attaining a soccer scholarship.
Play at the varsity level: If you get sufficient pre-high school soccer experience, you can then try getting into the high school team. Most high schools have two soccer programs, which are a junior varsity soccer team and a varsity one.
These teams hold tryouts by which they determine which players participate in which of the two groups. If you can manage to begin participating in the varsity team as soon as you join high school, the better for you.
Having more experience on the varsity level will improve the odds of being picked by recruiters and college coaches. Tryouts are open to all students, regardless of their grades or skill levels. Your aim in this stage is to be skilled enough so that you stand out from most of the other players, and therefore be selected.
Different varsity level teams have different levels of soccer skills. It is good to understand where your high school soccer team ranks. Is it a strong team or is it a less competitive one? This will give you an idea of the benefits you can accrue from participating in it.
In a less competitive team, you are easily likely to stand out if you have good skills. On the downside, playing for a less competitive team makes it harder to be noticed by potential recruiters.
Play in the junior varsity team: After going through the tryouts, if you are selected for the junior varsity team and not the varsity team, all is not lost. You can still become a competitive soccer scholarship recruit while playing at this level. Building a strong relationship with the junior varsity coach and enhancing your soccer skills will propel toward your goal.
The junior varsity program is an excellent opportunity that you should use to enhance your skills until you are eligible for the varsity level. In the junior varsity level, make sure that you give it your best to have a better chance of qualifying for the varsity level in the following year.
Play for private clubs: During off-season when you are not playing for the school soccer team, we recommend that you look for a private club that you can play for. Such clubs are present in most localities, and they present a great opportunity for playing competitive soccer. Club soccer coaches, like high school soccer coaches, can offer solid connections to college coaches. They can be very helpful in getting your name out.
Determine which Collegiate Level Is Appropriate for You
What type of college experience do you want to get: College sports demand a huge commitment to playing and practicing regularly. It also involves traveling and skipping classes so that you can play.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is responsible for regulating most college soccer teams. The NCAA has three school divisions, with only Division I and II schools being eligible for offering athletic scholarships. These are the schools you should focus on. Division III teams will not earn you a soccer scholarship, but playing for such teams can lead to academic and merit scholarships.
Set appropriate soccer goals: You need to be honest with yourself and objective about your soccer skills so that you can set realistic goals for yourself. Playing soccer for top-ranking college teams requires exceptional soccer skills. You also need to be totally committed to this course in order to improve your chances of success. By setting realistic goals for yourself, you avoid disappointments and emotional stress.
The division I and II schools have different levels of competitiveness. We recommend that you search online for college soccer rankings so that you can identify the most competitive teams.
Set academic goals: While you seek a soccer scholarship, it is important to remember that you joined college to get an education as well. The colleges that you want to join should be able to accommodate both your soccer and academic goals.
Your academic goals need to be realistic as well; they should reflect your academic prowess. In most cases, colleges set some levels of academic performance that their athletes are required to meet.Ensure that you meet these academic performance requirements to avoid being suspended from the soccer team.
Talk to your coaches: By talking with your coaches, you will learn more about your skill level and where you can make improvements. This will increase your chances of winning a scholarship. Make sure that you are honest with your coaches in regard to what you want to achieve so they can offer appropriate help.
By cultivating a good relationship with your coaches, they can connect you to recruiters. Your coaches will help you identify the skills you need to work on so that you can be an all-round player.
Talk to other players: Players that have successfully gone through the process can offer you some great insights. Ask them about their challenges and experiences as college soccer players. Also, ask them for advice on the challenges that you face in soccer.
Look at team rankings: Check out the performance records of the teams you have an interest in and aim at getting recruited by top ranking schools. Make a list of potentially great recruiters then, with time, narrow it down.
Ensuring That You Are Eligible
Meet the academic scholarship requirements: Institutions will set certain academic performance standards that you need to meet to acquire the scholarship. You also need to maintain these performance standards to keep your scholarship. The levels vary from one school to the other.
Meet the college’s entry academic requirements: Admission to your favorite college will require you to meet some entry requirements. You need first to learn what the requirements are since they are different for each college. Ensure that you have met them before starting the application process. Information on entry requirements can be found on college websites.
Hire a tutor, if need be: If your academic performance is not up to the eligibility requirements for the soccer scholarship you are seeking, a tutor can help you make the necessary academic improvements. If you are performing poorly in a particular subject, asking your teacher for further help can be beneficial. Also, you can hire a writing tutor to help you with the college applications.
Take care of your social media posts: Your social media posts shouldn’t have content that can jeopardize your reputation or that of the school/team you want to join. Note that recruiters can find your social media accounts and, if they see inappropriate content, they might disqualify you from the recruitment process.
Make good choices: Recruiters not only look at your academic achievements and soccer skills, but they also look into your personality. Ensure that you are a law-abiding individual and be a decent person.
Standing Out To College Coaches
Make a video: Having a video showcasing your soccer proficiency can be of much help. You can have the video taken, by a videographer, or you can get videos of yourself taken by your club or school. The video should be relatively short and should highlight your best soccer skills.
Develop a recruiting profile: Some websites allow you to make an online recruitment profile that can give you exposure. Such a profile would contain your school’s name, biodata, soccer stats, and soccer awards. You can also attach a link to a video that showcases your soccer proficiency.
Recruiters may access your profile via these websites. The profile should however not be considered a replacement for direct contact with coaches. It should be viewed as a compliment in your recruitment process
Reach out to coaches: Once you have identified teams that you have an interest in, you may send introductory emails to the coaches of those teams. Include a resume and explain why you think you would make a great player for their team. Your current coach can assist you to get the contact information for these coaches. You can also search online.
Follow Up: Respond to all coaches that reply to you. If some of the coaches don’t respond within a month or so, email them once again.
Do your research: Do some research and acquire some information on the school and the team you want to join. This way, when corresponding with the coaches, they will see that you are interested in joining the team.
Attend showcase camps: Colleges regularly host showcase athletic camps in an attempt to attract and identify top-level soccer players. Recruiters also attend such camps looking for soccer talent. Attending such camps can be an opportunity for solid leads.
Play at your highest level: By giving every game your best, you will stand out among other players and become easily noticeable by recruiters. You should treat every game as an opportunity to improve your skills, showcase your soccer proficiency and a chance for recruitment.
Once a coach has identified you as a potential recruit, you will undergo preliminary evaluations whereby the information you provided is verified. All your information needs to be well organized, and you should be able to provide any requested info.
Subsequent evaluations are then carried out, where coaches watch you play. At this stage, you need to showcase your soccer proficiency and commitment. You should also show that you are a decent and responsible young person.
After the secondary evaluations, coaches that have an interest in giving you a soccer scholarship will make you offers. When you receive these offers, it is essential that you read them carefully and understand the content clearly. Your parents and coaches can help with this.
If you receive multiple scholarship offers, choose wisely which of them is best for you, and accept it wholeheartedly. At this point, you can now wait for the enrollment date so that you can go and represent your college with pride!
How to Become a Professional Soccer Player
The thought of becoming a soccer player has at one point crossed the minds of several fans. However, only a small fraction of dreamers get to achieve the heights of a professional player.
Becoming a star soccer player takes passion, innate talent and skills, lengthy hours of training and the ability to adapt. If you envision walking onto Wembley Stadium packed with cheering fans, there’s a lot that stands in your way.
Fortunately, there are many star players, which is testimony that you can do it. If you want to learn how to become a professional soccer player, below are tips and insights that will inform your journey.
Passion and Drive
If you want to become a star soccer player, then you need to start playing for fun rather than remuneration. You have to really love soccer and have a burning passion that will get you onto the pitch even on those chilly weekends.
Playing at the professional level should matter to you more than anything else including getting paid. This way, it will be easier to deal with the challenges, pressures and disappointments that await your journey towards stardom. It is not always going to be easy.
Some days you will feel like giving up and without true love for soccer, you will either be very unhappy or simply frustrated when things do not move as fast. Recovery from failures and positions of peril also require a great amount of strength, motivation and dedication. This is why it is important to have deep running passion and inner drive.
If you are going to learn how to become a professional soccer player, then everything in your life should be optimized to enable this process. Your body in particular must be in good shape for maximum performance on the pitch. Skills and abilities can be horned through on-pitch training.
Having the stamina to provide consistent performances on the other hand is largely influenced by your off-pitch endeavors. This implies you have to go to the gym, train regularly, eat a balanced diet and train your mind for efficiency.
It is recommendable to take up strength and physical conditioning program that will ensure your body is up for the task. Good conditioning will reduce your likelihood of picking up injuries and drastically increase your recovery from the same. Moreover, it provides more time for training horning your skills.
Train Hard and Smart
It goes without saying that training is an integral part of mastering any set of skills. Studies in soccer indicate you may have to train for up to 10,000 hours if you want to become a professional player.
Other studies suggest a more holistic approach that gives you the freedom of expression. Essentially, all soccer players must spend several hours practicing their skills, learning new things and improving their weak points.
Even the likes of Lionel Messy who are recognized for incredible innately born talent still take training very seriously. To become a star soccer player, you must keep on training and practicing until the day you quit.
It never stops as long as you are expected to show up in the field and deliver admirable performance. However, training hard is only one part of the equation. You should train smart. This means following the coach’s instructions during group training, finding time to improve specific skills and practicing on your own.
Goal setting is an invaluable way of monitoring your progress. Studies have shown that setting small achievable goals can drastically improve your performance on the pitch.
Under the grand goal of becoming a professional soccer player, you should have smaller goals that will improve specific aspects of your act. This can be anything from avoiding being booked for 3-5 consecutive games, to saving 70% of the penalties or appearing in the list of top scorers for the season.
Your goals, while achievable, should be challenging in order to improve your overall abilities on the pitch. You can find in-depth guides that will teach you how to set goals for your long journey to the top level. Essentially, goal-setting provides a way to check your performance, identify areas for improvement and draft a better training plan.
No one is strange to sweaty palms, heavy sighs and jelly legs. Performing at the top level comes with a lot of pressure and even the very best can get nervous. Putting 10,000 hours into training is a good thing. However, it will be difficult to translate this into solid on-pitch performances when all eyes are on you especially if you lack self-confidence.
It has been said that most of the soccer success in the player’s mind and self confidence is basically the ability to deliver when it is most required. For a goalkeeper, it could be saving that decisive penalty or keeping your team from conceding even when the opposition is clearly running havoc on your side of the pitch. For a striker, it could be the composure to go round a defender and score one for the team.
With social media trolls waiting for the slightest flop and thousands of roaring fans (including opposition) screaming at every other mistake, maintaining your cool can be overwhelming. You can always use your coach to build confidence. Goal setting can also hand you a boost in confidence when you get through a milestone.
Adapt and Improve Your Game
After doing all of the above, it may be tempting to take a rest and enjoy your achievements. However, you should note that the very best soccer players never rest on their success.
Instead, they are always adapting their game, learning new skills and setting new objectives to achieve even greater success. As aforementioned, learning how to become a professional soccer player has no end until you finally quit.
Even when at the top level, you will always find areas that can be improved. The best way to adapt is through having frank audits of your performance. Learn to accept positive criticism from your coaches and the soccer world. Do you need to work on your one-footed performance? Maybe your first touch on the ball could do with a little improvement or you need a new dribbling skill that will get around that final defender.
No single player has all the skill so there’s always something to learn. Take videos of your performance and watch them during your free time to identify areas for improvement and learn the game from your idols.
What are they doing different that has that great impact on their gaming? What is their strategy towards training and how do they cope with all the pressures.
Establish A Better Recovery and Recuperation Plan
As aforementioned, body conditioning is an important part of becoming a pro soccer player. Over the last few decades, there have been massive improvements in training, diet and nutrition. Good conditioning does not only improve your prospects on the pitch, but also make it easier to recover after the tough matches.
It is worth noting that the less time you spend recovering from injuries and weary legs, the more time you have to prepare for the next game. Without proper recovery in-between matches, your performance will suffer over time and this can be detrimental to the overall success. Professional soccer players know that the body needs enough rest, recovery, nutrition and training to deliver consistent performance every time.
To avoid burning out, ensure you eat and drink well, get adequate sleep and ease back into the vigorous physical activity. In addition to diet and sleep, ensure your mind recovers well. Never take disappointments from the last game to heart. Rather, analyze your performances and learn from your mistakes to improve your next act.
Learn The Game’s Tactics
A lot goes into practice and sharpening soccer skills. However, skills alone will not catapult you into stardom unless you really understand the workings of soccer. There are situations that need tactical knowledge of the game to rise from the ground and win a match. Learn from your coach and take a tactical perspective when watching soccer matches.
Besides knowing your position at all times, it is important to understand your team’s strategy and what your opponent is doing on the pitch. This is what separates world class players from the rest. Learning the game from a tactical assistant’s angle will increase both intelligence and anticipation.
These are what scouts look for when analyzing performance. It is therefore very important to watch as many matches as possible, first your idol’s act and then your own. Comparing the two will help you lean what areas need improvement and how to sum up a match so you can make the best decisions.
Get The Best Equipment You Can
This may seem oddly counterintuitive considering all the other points mentioned above. However, having the best soccer kit will improve your overall game. It will not suddenly give you the skills needed to dribble past every opponent, but even that 1% boost in confidence is very important when playing soccer.
Get new comfortable kits that will allow you to give your best on the pitch. If you can afford it, buy the industry best. Having the right boot size and style for your feet is just as important as anything else.
Train with the best equipment and you will be able to harness your full potential. Once you know what you can achieve with the best, it becomes easier to try and emulate the top level performance even in the worst condition.
Take A Video Of Your Act and Post It
We live in the modern age and thanks to the internet, a killer promo video can today thrust your fame to the next level. To become a star player, you will need a platform where millions of people can watch your act. These days, platforms like YouTube can help you develop interest by simply uploading videos that best illustrate your skills on the pitch.
There are many soccer players who were first noticed from their promo videos and then scouts were sent to watch them play for their teams. Even the world best soccer player, Lionel Messy, was discovered by his agent through a video.
While this was not created by Messy himself, it goes without saying that promo videos can put your skills out there for the rest of the world to see. If you have followed all the steps listed above, your performance will definitely be worth watching.
Believe In Yourself
You must always believe in yourself to succeed at anything. Otherwise, there is no way you will reach your full potential. In soccer, criticism will come from all angles. Your coach, your team mates and online trolls will say you are not good enough or do not have what it takes to become a great soccer player.
How you rise from all the negativity you face will all depend on self-belief. You can comfort yourself by looking at the journey some of the most successful players and how far they have come.
If they were able to achieve success in soccer, so can you. However, you have to first believe that you can do it and then combine this with hard work and persistence.
Nail The Trial Performance
After training and working so hard for many years, your judgment may only be a few minutes on the pitch. Trial performances can help push you up one more step, but only if you deliver. Instead of worrying about your performance, think about everything you have learnt and do the very best you can.
Do not play for the occasion or focus on the pressure that comes with trial. It is only a brief window to flaunt and account for your football skills. The best thing to do is play your game.
Becoming a professional soccer player is indeed a long journey with numerous challenges and not many people see it through to the final stage. Even after everything, you need to be very patient and wait for your time to shine. You may finally join the team of your dreams, but then spend a couple of years sidelined on the bench.
Injuries may put you down for several months and significantly affect your performance. However, you will find a way to ascend all milestones provided you love soccer and have a determination to become the best player you can be.
Do not give up on the first attempt. Keep trying, training, assessing your performance and improving until you are finally comfortable on the pitch. After all, the world has some great soccer players and nothing makes them any special than you are. If anything, you have the chance to set new heights and records.
Hopefully, you have enough information to help you start learning how to become a professional soccer player. Obviously there are other aspects that involve agents and contracts, but are only worth looking into after improving your on-pitch performance.
How Much Do Professional Soccer Players Make?
You have been dreaming about becoming a professional soccer player for as long as you can remember. You have also been in the soccer leagues as a kid and are now playing soccer in college. You have a great knowledge about the game of soccer and you want to turn that knowledge into a career.
One of the biggest questions that you have is how much does a professional soccer player make? This question can be answered on two levels.
If you are in a country where soccer is a popular sport then you will make more than a place where it is increasing in popularity.
Usually those players with top skills can make a great living, but what about those players who are still playing on the field and enjoy the game just as much?
These are all important things to know as you begin your quest of becoming a professional soccer player. Remember to keep an open mind and that you are actually getting into playing the sport professionally because you have a strong passion for the game. This should be your number one reason for playing.
But let's look at some of the salaries for top players and others, as well as how much each position can realistically expect to make. While there are different factors that can make these number go up or down, this will give you an idea of how much you can expect to earn.
How Much Do Top Soccer Players Make?
Soccer is one of the most followed sports around the world. Because of its two hundred fifty million viewership during the season and the popularity in so many countries, the top soccer players in the world are pulling in average salaries between twenty million and over one hundred million dollars.
These salaries are the range for the most elite players which is only a small fraction of the soccer players on the field in the world today. These players include:
While you may not earn the salaries that these players are making, the game of soccer does offer professional players great room for advancement, sponsorships and other great perks that the world of sports is known for.
Men And Woman
Enter your text here..The average salary for a male soccer player in the year 2019 in the MLS is over three hundred sixteen thousand dollars annually. The numbers have seen a drastic increase of over twenty-four thousand dollars and is seeing an increase every year. Keep in mind that this average also includes the top salaries from the elite players.
The popularity of the sport around the world combined with the loyalty of the fans to want more and will pay to see it, makes soccer one of the most growing sports in the world with regards to increasing salaries for male professional players.
Women now have a fledgling league where salaries are at a minimum of fifteen thousand dollars and can go as high as forty-four thousand dollars per player. There are also many different levels within the sport of soccer for both men and women, which is another depending factor for how they are individually paid.
Highest Paid Goalie Salaries In Soccer
While there are different levels in the game of soccer when it comes to your position as a goalie, your worth is dependent upon your skills. Some of the highest paid goalies in the game earn between over three million to ten million dollars per year. These are the elite players such as:
The goalie is often one of the highest paid players from each team as they are the ones who keep the opposing teams from scoring. They are also often the captains of their individual teams which brings in more salary perks as well.
Highest Paid Fullback Salaries In Soccer
The highest paid fullbacks make between just over five million to just over fourteen million dollars per year. These are the male players as the female soccer players are a fledgling league and make much less. These players include:
Highest Paid Female Soccer Players In The MLS League
Within the women's soccer fledgling league, there are some players who are making above the average salary cap for their individual team. The ten highest paid femalesoccer players in the world earn between sixty thousand to four hundred fifty thousand dollars per year. They include:
Top 5 Soccer Leagues Around The World Who Offer The Highest Salaries
While there are a number of soccer leagues around the world, there are 5 where the most elite players in the world are fortunate enough to play. They include: La Liga, Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga and MLS.
If you are beginning to formulate your plan for playing professional soccer and you want the best playing environment, these should be the top choices for your agent to begin searching for the best soccer career for you.
Top 10 Countries Where Soccer Is best To Play And Offers The Highest Salaries
There is no better feeling for a professional soccer player to be where the fans are truly in love with the sport. These countries are loyal to the professional soccer players and will pay to see them play weekly.
The countries where soccer is the most popular and also offers the highest in salaries are: Portugal, The Netherlands, Uruguay, England or the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Argentina, Italy, Germany and Brazil which is the place that is widely known as soccer country.
Highest Paid Male Soccer Players In The Premier League
Within the Premier league of soccer, the top twenty-five soccer players have salaries that range from almost nine million dollars to just over twenty-one million dollars. These are male soccer players as the women are paid much less. Some of these players include:
Highest Paid Soccer Players in the La Liga Soccer League
Within the La Liga league, the top players earn between just over nine million to just over twenty-eight million dollars annually. These players include:
Market Value For The Highest Paid Soccer Players In The Serie A Italian Soccer League
When it comes to market value and salaries, there are none that are higher than the Serie A Italian soccer league. The top players here have market values between fifty million to one hundred million dollars. They include:
Average Bundesliga Soccer Team Salary
There are eighteen teams in this league and one that is newly formed bringing the total to nineteen Bundesliga soccer teams. The average salaries for these teams range from four hundred ten thousand for the entire F C Nurnberg team to over eight million dollars for the Bayern Munich team. This league, although considered an elite league has some of the lowest salaries in the spectrum of the top 5 soccer leagues in the world.
While playing soccer will depend upon the level of soccer where you are playing, the country and the popularity of the sport and of course if you are in one of the five elite leagues, your salary could maintain you a very luxurious and healthy lifestyle.
Keep in mind that these players work long and hard, even during the off season to maintain their bodies for the rigorous schedule of playing soccer weekly.
However, with salary caps increasing along with the popularity of viewership of over two hundred fifty million and counting, soccer is definitely here to stay. Large salaries in the millions of dollars bring the best players from around the world to play a sport that is loved by so many.
Viewers watch their favorite players come and show their skills and talents while making a highly comfortable living. While the minimum salary for male soccer players is usually around fifty thousand dollars and for female soccer players around fifteen thousand dollars,
the level of advancement can move you up the chain to a successful soccer career very quickly.
And in places that are known for soccer like Brazil, the salaries could explode into the stratosphere. With great teams like Manchester United and others bringing a higher level of play each week, the soccer fans are continuously drawn and focused on whose team will win in each soccer league.
Training Equipment & Gears
Congratulation, you made it to the end of the article. You should now have a clear understanding of the rules, positions, and the formations of the game. Soccer is a very fun sport, and I have been playing it for as long as I can remember.
Once you get the hang of it, you will never want to leave the field again. This article has provided you with all the information you need to get started. All you have to do is hit the field and practice as hard as you can.
I will constantly update this article, so it provides value for those of you that are just getting started with the beautiful game. Best of luck on your journey, and do not forget to stay geeking!
Things You'll Need
Last update on 2020-10-26 / This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API