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Goalkeeper leaping to make a save

Soccer is known internationally as football (Spanish fútbol). [1]

It is the most popular team sport in the world[Citation Needed], described by the legendary Brazilian player, Pele, as "The Beautiful Game". Its governing body is FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association). It is less popular in America due to the slow paced, low scoring nature of matches.

The game is played between two teams of 11 players (10 field players and one goalkeeper each). In official play, there are two 45 minute halves separated by a 15 minute break known as half-time. In knockout cup games, if a game is tied after 90 minutes, there is often an additional period of play consisting of 2 X 15-minute halves. If the scores are still level, the result is decided with a penalty shootout. The set of rules used in soccer are called the Laws of the Game.

The game is played on a grass (or artificial grass) pitch with dimensions 90-120 m (100-130 yards) in length and 45-90 m (50-100) in width.[2] A goal is scored when the (spherical) ball is propelled into the opposition net. The distinctive feature of the game is that, with the exception of the goalkeepers, players may not touch the ball with their hands or arms.

A note on terms

"Soccer" is the term used in North America, Australia and most other countries. It is sometimes incorrectly called football.


  1. The word soccer derived in England as slang for "Association Football" [1] US Embassy, London (a similar construction can be seen in referring to rugby as "rugger")
  2. FIFA Laws of the Game 2006 Official FIFA website