Soccer Field: History, Pitch Dimensions, and Rules of Soccer

soccer-field
soccer-field

The soccer field is one of the most important elements of football, as there won’t be a game without it. Not every pitch qualifies to answer “a soccer field.”

I’m sorry, but that rectangular lawn of yours, though beautiful, doesn’t fit into the category of soccer fields.

What factors are taken into consideration before erecting a football stadium? What are the rules of soccer, and what’s the history of the beautiful game of soccer? These and more are the highlights of this exciting article.

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What is the History of Soccer?

Soccer originated in Europe with UEFA Champions League, La Liga, and English Premiership. Don’t mind me; I’m kidding. Long before the advent of “soccer,” as we know it today, there is a long path down its history.

Ancient soccer back in Mesoamerica

The first known examples of a team game with a rock-made ball happened approximately 3,000 years ago in ancient Mesoamerican societies.

Tchatali was created by the Aztecs. However, several variants of the game were played throughout wide areas.

In other rituals, the ball represented the sun, and the captain of the losing side was sacrificed to the gods.

A bouncing ball made of rubber was a distinctive element of Mesoamerican ball game variations; no other early civilization had access to rubber.

soccer field
Ancient Chinese kicked the first-ever ball in the second and third centuries

The first documented ball game with kicking occurred in China in the third and second centuries BC under the name cuju.

Cuju was played on a square space with a round ball (stitched leather with fur or feathers inside).

Later, a modified version of this game called kemari was conducted under ceremonial forms in Japan.

But ‘football’ or ‘soccer’ as we know it today has its roots in 19th century England. From England, the idea of football spread to Europe and across the Atlantic.

In 1863, England established the first football association.

The size and weight of the match ball were fixed, and the rules were set but continued to evolve. Carrying the ball with one’s hands was prohibited, thereby separating association football (soccer) from rugby.

To tell you how the popularity of soccer is growing, presently, over 240 million people are playing football worldwide.

What are the Rules of Football?

If you must play soccer, play according to its rules.

Soccer rules are not rigid; the rules undergo updates yearly by the International Football Association Board (IFAB).

The recent page of football rules by FIFA has about 140 pages. But there are rules that are static and not likely to change for a long time.

Let’s take a look at those 17 rules; call it the seventeen commandments of modern-day soccer.

Rule 1: Soccer Ball

A soccer ball must be spherical in shape, and its raw material will be leather or any comparable medium.

Its circumference must be between 27 and 28 inches. This restriction only applies to formally sanctioned matches, as younger leagues sometimes utilize a smaller ball that is more appropriate for youngsters.

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Rule 2: Football Field

Soccer can be played on grass or synthetic turf, but the surface must be green. The field must be rectangular in shape, with two short goal lines and two long touch lines clearly defined.

The field is divided into halves by a midway line that runs between the midpoints of each touchline.

A defined center point at the midway point is encircled by a lined center circle with a radius of 10 yards. During the possession team’s kickoff, opposing players are not permitted to join this circle.

The touch line’s length must be bigger than the goal line’s length.

Rule 3: Soccer Goal!!

It only becomes a goal when the whole ball crosses the goal line. If there are no reasons for extra time, the team with the highest number of goals within 90 minutes of play becomes the winner.

Rule 4: Football Players

Matches must involve 11 players on each side of the two teams. If a team can not have at least seven players on the pitch at kick-off time, the match is hence a forfeit, and the opposing team becomes the winner.

But in junior leagues, they allow teams with fewer than eleven players aside. Currently, FIFA permits 5 changes for a match.

In junior leagues, this rule does not strictly apply as they can substitute more than 5 players in a match.

A substitute doesn’t enter the pitch until the referee approves of it, and this must be when the player he is replacing leaves the soccer field.

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Rule 5: Soccer Players’ Attire

All players must wear a jersey, shorts, shin guards, socks, and cleats. The socks must completely cover the shin guard.

If the referee finds a player’s equipment to be inadequate, the player may be sent off until he resolves the problem.

Rule 6: Football Time of Play

A soccer match comprises two halves. The first half goes on for 45 minutes, and the second half for the same number of minutes.

The referee can add extra time; this extra time can be because of many factors ranging from delay in the startup of the match and other time-wasting occurrences during the match.

Rule 7: Soccer Referee

On the pitch, the referee is the final authority, and his word is the law. If you disagree with a referee’s ruling, you may face additional penalties.

Rule 8: Football Assistant Referee

The assistant referee’s primary responsibility is to help the referee in carrying out his responsibilities, which includes indicating with a flag when a ball is out of play, a player is fouled, or a player is in an offside position.

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Rule 9: Soccer Offside play

When an attacking player gets the ball in his opponent’s half, he must be level with or behind the final defender (the last typically being the goalkeeper). If not, it will be offside.

This regulation, however, only applies if he is engaged in the game.

Rule 10: Football Start and Restart of Play

Kick-off is usually selected by a coin toss. The winning side gets the option of either starting with the ball or attacking a certain goal. The losing team is then given the option that the winner does not choose.

Kick-off is taken in the center of the midway line at the start of each half and after each goal is scored. If one side scores, the opposite team receives the kick-off to resume the game.

Rule 11: Soccer Fouls

The referee gives a free kick when a player kicks an opponent or handles the ball with a hand, as it is football and not handball.

Referee awards red cards or yellow cards to the player at fault based on the severity of the foul.

Rule 12: Football Goal Kicks

When the offensive team plays the ball out of bounds over the defensive team’s goal line, a goal kick is given.

After the ball has been removed from play, the defender or goalkeeper may position it anywhere within the six-yard goal box and kick it back into play.

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Rule 13: Soccer Corner Kicks

When the defensive team plays the ball out of bounds past its goal line, the offensive team receives a corner kick.

The attacking team places the ball in the corner area and kicks it back into play. A corner kick can be scored directly by a player.

Rule 14: Football Throw-in

When the possession side plays the ball out of bounds over the touchline, a throw-in is given.

When taking a throw-in, a player must simultaneously release the ball with both hands while keeping both feet firmly planted on the ground.

If these requirements are not satisfied, play is halted, and the opposing team receives the throw-in. It is not permitted for players to score immediately off a throw-in.

Rule 15: Soccer Free Kicks

There are two types of free kicks: direct and indirect. A direct kick is one that is shot directly into the opponent’s goal without being touched by another player.

The referee raises his hand during the kick to signify an indirect free kick. An indirect kick may only enter the goal if it is touched by another player before it reaches the goal. Both sorts of kicks need the ball to be stationary.

Rule 16: Football Penalty Kicks

When a defensive player fouls an attacking player or commits a handball in his or her team’s penalty area, a penalty kick is given.

The penalty kick is taken from the penalty spot, and both teams’ players must remain outside the penalty box throughout the shooting.

They may enter the box immediately following the shot. Before the shot, the goalie may move horizontally along the goal line, but he may not leave the line until the ball is struck.

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Rule 17: Soccer Ball In and Out

When the ball completely crosses either the goal line or the touchline, it is out of play. If the referee pauses play for whatever reason, it is also out of play.

If the ball contacts the goal frame or the referee and stays within the goal and touch lines, it is still in play.

What are soccer field (Pitch) dimensions?

soccer field
The soccer field dimension based on FIFA

A football (soccer) field is approximately 100 meters long and 60 meters broad. However, there are minimum and maximum dimensions in official games.

FIFA (The Fédération Internationale de Football Association) has decided on the most official dimensions of international football.

FIFA requires that a football pitch have particular minimum and maximum dimensions:

The length (touchline) must be at least 90 yards (100 yds) and at most 120 meters (130 yds).

The width (goal line) must be at least 45 meters (50 yards) and no more than 90 meters (100 yds).

There are other dimensions that must strictly be followed, like the penalty mark, which must be 11 meters from the goal line and centered on the field’s goal line.

The goal area is the little box located within the penalty area. According to FIFA standards, the distance between each goalpost and the lines parallel to the touch line shall be 5.5 meters. The distance between the lines is 18.32 meters when the size of a normal goal is included.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) on Soccer Field

What is the circle on a soccer field called?

Center Circle

What does a soccer field consist of?

The field of play should be 125m x 85m (136 x 93 yards) or a minimum of 120m x 80m (131 x 87 yards), and there must be a minimum of 1.5m of pitch beyond the marked playing area.

The same dimensions apply to pitches used in continental UEFA competitions.

What shape is a soccer field?

The field of play is rectangular and marked with lines called boundary lines. The two longer boundary lines are touchlines, and the two shorter lines are goal lines.

It is divided into two halves by a halfway line, which joins the midpoints of the two touch lines.

Conclusion

The game of soccer is debatably the best sporting event today, and the soccer field is one place to have an exciting weekend.

I believe the article has helped you understand the game better, so find a soccer field and give yourself a nice time.

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