Association football, also called simply football or soccer, is an organized team game played between two parallel teams of eleven players each. It is played daily on plots of land, called pitches, which are supplied by the countries that play in the World Cup tournaments. The matches are often held in open arenas, stadiums and half-time zones. The game is mostly played between the countries that are part of either the European or Asian Football Association. The name “football” itself originated from the football or “fete” from French. It is the most popular sport in the world, with over 250 million people playing regularly.
In America football has enjoyed widespread popularity since the early years of the twentieth century. A number of colleges and universities in the United States have football programs, and many teachers encourage students to get involved. It is one of the few sports that almost anyone can play. In America the game of football is generally played between rival teams using metal or wooden pitches. Unlike baseball, which uses concrete and steel pitching machines, football requires the use of a ball (hence the name ‘ball sport’), which is thrown by a player using both feet.
A game of football requires about eleven players including goalkeepers. Each team member is allowed to use a foot, but it cannot touch the ball with that foot. The eleven players on each team are called ‘players’ or ‘rowers’, and their job is to form a rectangle whose four corners are aptly called ‘the pitch’. The pitch is divided into two halves, the center of which is known as the ‘half of battle’. The aim of each team is to take the entire half of the field into their side, and to defeat the opponent by taking only half of the field back to their own side. The referee then declares the end of the half by drawing a line through the hoops on the half of the pitch designated as the winning side.
The referee also counts the number of defenders for each team, and if the defenders in a certain ‘zone’ exceed the number of defenders at the opposing end of the pitch, the defenders in that zone have to come to the referee’s attention before play can continue. The point of goalposts is where the ball is stored when it passes from the side of the field to the goal. The goalposts are made of either wood or concrete. The goalposts are the highest part of the ground and the most visible, so they are also the main subject of foul shouting and aggressive behavior by players.
The fourth element of football is the field, a rectangle and square yard, sometimes described as a nine-sided grid. The object of the game is to run the football across the field to touch down at the opposing goal. If the football touches the goal post or the wall of the goal, the game is over. The object of the game is to score more points than the other team, to become the first team to reach a score of twenty or more points.
The fifth and last element of football is the penalty kick, a kick by one of the players from the playing team that has been charged with a foul. This is taken from the center circle of the playing field, and is taken up to the corner of the penalty area. The other teams take their penalty kicks after the penalty kick, and only one team may take an active penalty kick before the other team has an opportunity to take another. The penalty kick is a very difficult decision for football referee, who have to take into account the positioning of the ball, the size and speed of the player that was sent off, the intentions of the player (or teams) that were involved, the reaction of the other team and many other variables.