Basic soccer rules are pretty simple to follow, the team that scores the most goals wins!

Each team will consist of 11 starting players of which there is one goalkeeper and 10 outfield players. The game will be played on a soccer pitch and the field dimension will normally be just over 100 yards long although it could be shorter if it is a youth soccer game. Soccer teams are normally split into formations consisting of defence, goalkeeper and forwards. Each team will also nominate a captain although this role is not as significant as other sports such as cricket and rugby. The captain will start the game by tossing a coin with the referee and the winning captain has the option of selecting which way their team will shoot. This can be an advantage if there is a strong wind which could change direction by the time the teams reach the second half.

Soccer games consist of two halves lasting 45 minutes each although injury time is often added by the referee to cover any stoppages. If the game is a cup tie, a world cup final for example then extra time will be played consisting of an extra two 15 minute periods. If the teams are still level at this stage the game will develop into a penalty shoot with each team nominating 5 penalty kick takers who will try and beat the goalkeeper from the penalty spot (12 yards) until one team wins. During the game the referee has the power to caution players and issue yellow and red cards. Yellow cards are issued for minor or a serious of fouls by the same player which results in a booking, however if two yellow cards are issued then this equals a red card and the offending player is sent off the field.

A straight red card can be also be issued for serious foul play or denying an opponent a goalscoring opportunity. Each team has to have a minimum of 7 players on the field so if one team have more than 5 players sent off then the game would be abandoned, this is very rare but has happened a few times in violent games! One of the most important basic rules of soccer is the offside rule which basically prevents attacking players from gaining an unfair advantage as when a pass is made there has to be 2 opposition players closer to the goal than the attacking player. If the attacking player is level with a defender then he is still onside so play continues. The referee has two assistants (previously known as linesman) on either side of the field to help judge the offside rule.

A History of Soccer
Truth be told, humans have been playing games that resemble soccer for thousands of years. From Southeast Asia to ancient Rome, history is littered with images and stories of people kicking things around, and as such, it's impossible to trace any one culture or time as being the origin of soccer. Texts give reports of the ancient Chinese military kicking leather sacks stuffed with hair around as part of a training exercise as far back as the 2nd and 3rd century B.C.E. Later on, Greek philosophers give accounts of a violent form of the sport called Episkyros that was later adopted by the Roman Empire. A famous depiction of this sport is, in fact, engraved onto the European Cup soccer trophy.

By now, you're probably wondering how the sport came from being called association football to being referred to as "soccer" in many part of the world. The truth is that the word "soccer" is a short form of the word association. The -ssoc part of the word was taken and the -er suffix was added to indicate an action was being performed. The word was born out of casual use and was really a slang term at heart. However, soccer's emergence in North America came at the same time another sport was gaining momentum - American rules football. To avoid confusion, the term soccer generally came to refer to the European inspired game.

International matches began shortly after, with England and Scotland playing to a 0-0 score line in the first ever international game in 1972. FIFA was organized shortly thereafter in 1908 as a way to standardize the rules, act as a sanctioning body, and promote the game worldwide. This paved the way for the Olympics to officially declare soccer an Olympic event, with the sport first being played at the 1908 summer games in London, England.

Of course, soccer itself has become synonymous with the world's largest sporting event - the FIFA World Cup. First held in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1930, the event was organized by FIFA president Jules Rimet as a response to soccer being dropped as an event in the Summer Olympics. The first World Cup was admittedly small by today's standards with many European teams unable to compete as a result of the difficulty in international travel at the time. Nonetheless, the tournament captured international attention, and laid the ground work for soccer to today grow into the world's most popular sport!