Soccer Positions

So I figured that people wanted to know what I was talking about when I said “midfielder” or “center back” or any of the other wonderful soccer positions.  I’m not gonna get too detailed into it, but a basic overview is always a good thing.

Okay, so there are four main groups: Attacker (or forward), midfielder, Defender (or fullback), and goalie.

Let’s start with the easiest one: goalie.  The goalie’s job is to keep the ball out of the net.  He’s easy to identify because his uniform is slightly different and he’s wearing gloves.  He’s also the only one that can legally pick up the ball with his hands, but he can only do that while he’s in the goalie area, marked by a square in front of the net.

Moving down from the net are the defenders, or fullbacks.  Their main goal is to keep the opposing team from getting too close to the net.

After them are the midfielders.  The midfield positions play a linking role between the fullbacks and the forwards.  There are two types of midfielders: offensive (or attacking) midfielders, and defensive midfielders.  The attacking midfielder plays right behind the forward and assists in the offensive by passing the balls and setting up goals.  The defensive midfielders are usually assigned to mark the opposition’s best forwards.

The forwards are at the front line.  Their job is to score as many goals as possible.

There are other positions as well.

The winger is an outside forward or midfielder who plays on the sides of the field.  Their goal is to provide their team with support and passes so that they can shoot at the goal.

The striker is a forward that is the team’s main scoring threat, and can score if given the chance.

The sweeper, or stopper, will add an additional layer of defence, either between the goalie and the fullbacks (sweeper), or the fullbacks and the midfielders (stopper).  The stopper also guards the best scorer on the opposing team.

I hope this helped and hasn’t confused anyone.  In my opinion, you only really need to know the four main ones.  With those, you can watch and understand the game.  Knowing and understanding the others is just icing on the cake.



Understanding the biggest soccer event in the world

I know a lot of you are really only into soccer when the World Cup comes around, and even then, you’re not really sure what’s happening.  So I’ve put together this quick guide to teach you the basics about what’s making everyone so excited.

The FIFA World Cup is the most widely-watched sporting event in the world.  According to Wikipedia, 715.1 million people watched the 2006 final match between Italy and Argentina.  This year’s cup is being held in South Africa, and will run from June 11 to July 11, 2010.

The World Cup seems like a complicated puzzle, but is really actually quite simple.

It lasts one month, and is held in a different host country every four years.  There are 32 teams involved from 5 different regions.

Of the 32 spots, one is reserved for the host country (or two spots if two countries are sharing host duties).  The previous Cup winners no longer get an automatic spot; they must qualify in their section.

For the 2010 World Cup, spots break down as follows:

  • Europe: 13
  • Africa: 5 + host (South Africa)
  • South America: 4
  • North and Central America and the Caribbean: 3
  • Asia & Oceania: 4 + winner of AFC/OFC match (Asia and Oceania match)
  • There is also 1 spot for the winner of the CONMEBOL/CONCACAF match (4th place N&C American/Caribbean team and 5th place South American team)

Once the World Cup starts, there are two stages: the Group Stage, and the Knockout Stage.

In the group stage, teams are divided into eight groups of four teams each.  Teams then play three matches each in a round-robin tournament.  Three points are awarded for each win, one for a tie, and none for a loss.  The two teams with the most points from each group advance to the next stage.

The knockout stage is a series of one-off matches in which the winning team moves forward and the losing teram is eliminated.  There are no ties- extra time and shootouts are used to determine a winner, if necessary.  The knockout stage is made up of the Round of 16 (also known as second round), which is followed by the quarter-finals (eight teams), the quarter-finals (4 teams), the third-place match (losing quarter-final teams), and the final.

And now when you watch the games with your significant other/brother/friend/whoever, you won’t feel so lost as to what’s happening on the screen, and why those teams got that far. Not looking lost while the game is on is always a great thing!!


Basic Rules

So for those of you just starting out your soccer journey, I thought I’d post some basic soccer rules.  Nothing too complicated, just basics.

  • The game is 90 minutes, split into two 45 minute halves.
  • Players can only use their feet, head, or chest to touch the ball.  Only the goalie is allowed to use his hands, and only within the goal area.
  • If the ball touches or crosses the side line, it is thrown back in by the team who didn’t touch it last.
  • The object of the game is to score a goal by getting the ball into the opponent’s net. The team with the most goals at the end wins.
  • A yellow card is issued as a warning, a red card is a send-off from the game.  Two yellow cards in the same game are the same as a red one.

Those are the basic rules needed in order to watch soccer and not be completely lost.

Wikipedia is also a fountain of information, for those who wish to dig a little deeper and be a little more informed.

Hope that helps a little!!