An excellent sport
which I played regularly in school
, both recreationally and competitively. The objective
of the game is to put a round ball
into the net
and score more goals
than the other side.
The game is played on a field that can be as wide as 100 yards and as long as 130 yards. Each team has 11 players, one of whom must be a goalie. Players typically are divided into forwars (strikers), midfielders and defenders. All players except for the goalie must not use any part of their arms in play, the goalie can use all parts of his body. Each game lasts 90 minutes plus injury time, where time lost during stoppages of play are added on (the clock runs continuosly).
Players are not allowed to physically attack other players, you can "tackle" the other player and take the ball, but you can only slide for the ball, not the legs of the other player. You can't elbow, yank on another person's shirt, deliberately kick or push another player. If you possess the ball however, you are allowed to stick your arm out to stop another player's attempts to shove you (you can't shove them however). Infraction of the rules can result in a foul (free kick awarded), yellow card (warning, 2 and you're done), or red card (kicked out of the game, banned from next game).
Football can be boring to watch (but skill is appreciated), but playing in it is very exciting. Nothing beats the satisfaction of successfully executed teamplay or the joy of coring a goal. Penalty shootouts are the most exciting part of any match (if it comes down to that after overtime). At 12 yards, you are given a free shot at scoring with nothing but the goalie in between you and the net. You must judge between choosing for accuracy or power. Accurate shots are usually slower and stopped easier, but if it is toward the top corner the goalie has a very slim chance of getting to it. A powerful shot can miss the goal entirely or go right toward the goalie. But he will have less time to try to block it.
The pinnacle of a football player's career is winning the World Cup, an event held once every 4 years where top international teams try to beat each other. Highlights of the 1998 World Cup include Micheal Owen's amazing solo strike from mid-field past 3 defenders, and the suprise annihilation of Brazil at the hands of France, who won their first World Cup that year.