Learning the rules in soccer isn’t hard at all. The Laws of the Game that govern the sport all over the world have largely been in place since the 1860’s. While the intricacies of the game are complex, you can pick up the basics of the game in a couple of minutes. It is important to note that internationally soccer really doesn’t have rules rather the sport has laws. It is a bit pretentious but the Laws are only a couple of pages and you can grab them from FIFA.com and read them for free.
The Mechanics of the Game
The first bunch of laws are about the mechanics of the game. These layout the dimensions of the field, the size of the ball, how many players are permitted to play on each side, the gear players can wear. The dimensions will vary depending on where you play and of course for youth soccer leagues a smaller field is used. The ball must be between 27-28 inches in circumference. You can have 11 players per team. You can wear jersey’s, shorts, socks, cleats and shin pads which are mandatory.
The next few laws outline the responsibilities of the officials. These also outline how the game will begin, what happens when there is an infraction, when a goal is scored and if the ball goes out of play. These are pretty much uniform all over the world regardless of league.
The Offside Rule
The offside rule is probably the most complicated rule to understand and it is highly contentious, so let’s try and simplify it. If you stand near the opposing team’s goal with less than two members of the opposing team between you and goalline and the ball is played to you then you are offside. This rule is hated by fans and players alike because if an offensive player is alone and kicked the ball he could be flagged offside. However running in the with ball and facing the goalie is just fine. Here is the offside rule explained.
The last set of laws explain stoppage of the game because of fouls and what can happen. Will there be a free kick, or a penalty kick? These laws also talk about throwins, corner kicks and goal kicks.
You can read all of the Laws of the Game and understand the rules of the game pretty quickly. It’s simplicity is one of the reasons for its popularity.