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Goalkeeper leaping to make a save

Soccer is a sport played with a round ball propelled mainly by a player's foot. It is more commonly known as "football" outside the United States. In soccer, players are not allowed to intentionally touch the ball with their hands or arms while it is in play, with the exception of goalkeepers in a restricted area.

The game is played between two teams of 11 players (10 out-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. Unlike most sports, the clock does not always stop when the ball is not in play. When the ball is knocked out of bounds or a penalty is committed, the clock runs continuously. The referee makes up the lost time by adding minutes onto the end of the half. This is known as stoppage or injury time. If both scores are even at the end of regulation time, the game is usually declared a draw. However, in knockout cup games, there is often an additional period of play consisting of two 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 yards) in width. [1] A goal is scored when the (spherical) ball is propelled into the opposition net. Each goal is worth one point.

Dimensions of a soccer pitch
The word soccer derived in England as slang for "Association Football", [2], much like "rugger" is slang for rugby.

It is the most popular team sport in the world, described by the legendary Brazilian player, Pele, as "The Beautiful Game". Its governing body is FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association).


  1. FIFA Laws of the Game 2006 Official FIFA website
  2. [1] US Embassy, London