Association football, more officially called football association, is an organized team game played between two groups of eleven players each. It’s played at a court-like surface and is known to many names such as football, soccer, or soccer; but in America it is usually called American football. It is the most popular game in the world, with more than 250 million people playing it in more than 200 nations and dependencies. This game has a long history that goes back to when it was first introduced to the public.
The football that we know today began its life as an English recreation that was put onto the streets of Manchester, England in 1887. A street called Fosse Way was found to be an ideal place for football players to hone their skills. It was home to many of the first professional teams in England, such as the Manchester Reds and the Woolworth Football Club. Eventually, this sports activity spread across other areas of Europe, including Belgium, France, Germany, and Spain. Today it can be found in nearly every country in the world.
Unlike basketball and baseball, which have evolved into something more than a game, football is a game that is played between individuals. Each side of the field is laid out with goal posts called goals and the football itself is played between the players on each team. The object of the game is for the football to be kicked into the goal at the opposing end of the field. If the football is touched by any opponent then the goal is scored – even if the ball is touched by an animal, such as a paw, hand, or foot.
To begin the game, each team takes a ten-minute break and then begins play again fifteen minutes later. The first quarter usually lasts only three minutes, followed by another two and a half minute halftime. Halftime includes the time the referee blows the whistle, the sending off of the teams and a change of rules may occur. In either case, the match usually concludes at the beginning of regulation time. The teams play each half an additional fifteen minutes, resulting in a total of forty five minutes or an extra period of twenty minutes.
The objective of the game is for the football to be touched by any part of the body, including an arm or foot, by an opponent before a goal is made. Touching the ball with an part of the body other than the feet results in a foul call by the referee. Fouls are regularly called for unnecessary reasons, such as diving for a ball that is clearly thrown to the ground, holding or blocking an opponent, and other misconduct. To call a foul, the referee will take into consideration whether the act occurred before the ball was touched, or after the ball has been touched. If the act occurred after the ball was touched, the defending team must retain possession of the ball until the referee is happy with the call.
A foul on the part of a player results in a foul call by the referee also. There are two fouls per team, one being a red-card. With the introduction of new rules, some say that the overall game has become more difficult, although this may not be true. The game is much more exciting now and the technical aspects of the game have improved greatly. As long as the football players practice and train on a regular basis, they should do well.