Home   Introduction   Curriculum   Reading   Speaking   Activities   About Us



 Benefits   Standards   Projects   Students   Download



By Chandan 10/31/02


What is soccer?

Where did soccer come from?

How does soccer work?

How does soccer change?

How does soccer change us?

How do we change soccer?

Why do we use soccer?

What are soccer's costs and benefits?

How do we evaluate soccer?




What is Soccer?

Soccer is very fun sport.  Soccer is a game with a ball, two goals, people, cleats, and shin guards.  If you kick the ball through the goal, then you score one point.  There are many other aspects of this game also that you will learn about later.


Hook Stories

  1. Once upon a time in the Uruguayan derbies, in the 1930's, a player took a shot at the goal and barely missed.  There was a cameraman next to the goal and the soccer ball hit the cameraman's brief case.  The ball then bounced back on the field.  The referee didn't see it, because he was very far away.  Then that player ran up and easily scored.  That team ended up winning.

  2. It was between December 1993 and February 1994.  The game was between Barbados and Grenadain.  To go on to the next round, Barbados had to beat Grenadain by two points.  Grenadain could go on no matter what.  The score was 2-1, Barbados.  Barbados didn't think that they were going to pass the Grenadain defense and score another goal.  A new, recent rule stated that if one team wins in a Penalty Kick shoot-out that counts as winning by two points.  The Barbados's coach got an idea.  He called a time-out.  He told the team the idea and then they went back on to the field.  Then, Barbados scored in their own goal.  The score was then, 2-2.  Grenadain being smart understood what Barbados was doing.  Then Grenadain tried to score in their own goal, but they couldn't.  Barbados's forwards had started to defend the Grenadain goal.  It ended up being 2-2 and there was a penalty shoot-out.  Barbados won the penalty shoot-out, and moved on to the next round.  Barbados won by defending the opponent’s goal.


Where Did Soccer Come From?

Soccer evolved from Ancient Japan.  The ancient Japanese played a game similar to soccer all the way back in 1,004 B.C.  Next soccer moved to ancient China in 400 B.C.  Then soccer moved to Europe and the Romans made their own variation.  In their variation there were 27 players on each team.  The game was very violent so after each 50-minute game, 2/3 of the players were hospitalized.


Later, after soccer and some of the Europeans moved to America, soccer started becoming popular.  It was named football, because the game used feet and a ball.  More, and more players started liking to play the game or watch the game.  Now soccer is popular in lots of the world, but not that much in the United States, because there are other more popular sports (baseball and modern football).


How Does Soccer Work?

The objective in soccer is to score more goals than your opponent. Soccer works like this: in the beginning of the game, the team that loses the coin toss goes to the middle of the field, and gets a kick-off. This is what a kick-off looks like:


When a team kicks the ball out of bounds to the side of the field (see diagram 2) the other team gets a throw-in. A throw-in is when you (from the sideline) throw the ball in. The restrictions to a throw-in are the ball has to be thrown over your head, you have to be out of the field, you can't touch the ball before another player, and you can't pick up your back foot.


When a team kicks the ball past their own goal, then it is a corner kick for the other team (see diagram 3). A corner kick is when you take the ball to the corner of the field and kick it. You can't touch the ball before another player does. A usual corner kick will go up in the air (chip) to in front of the goal and another player will header the ball into the goal.


If team "x" kicks the ball past the opponent’s goal, then it is a goal kick for the opponent (see diagram 4). On a goal kick there are a few additional rules. First of all, the player who kicks the ball can't touch it until another player does. Second, the ball can't be touched by anyone until it is out of the goal box. Third, if the ball is not kicked out of the box or, someone touches the ball inside the box then, the goal kick is re-kicked.


Off sides is when there's a player on team "x" ahead of all the players on team "y" (except the goalie). If the ball goes to you or, you are in the play and you are offside, then the other team gets a free kick. If you just stand there off sides and the ball is way on the other side of the field, then your off sides, but there is no free kick and the game doesn't stop. A tweak to off sides is when you're in line, or behind the last defender. Then, after the ball is kicked, you can run ahead of the last defender. Another thing to clarify off sides is that you can dribble past anyone at anytime. It has to be a pass to you to be off sides. Here's a Diagram:


There're eleven players on each team playing at once. You can have a goalie, defenders, sweepers, stoppers, mid-fielders, forwards, wings, and any other not made up by you positions you want. A very popular set up is one goalie, four defenders, four mid-fielders and two forwards (see diagram).


To make a soccer ball do certain things, you have to kick the ball in certain ways. To get a spin you have to kick the ball on the side with the side of your foot. To get a curve (mostly on corner kicks) you have to kick the ball with the lace of your shoes to the side of the ball. To get the ball to go up (chip) you have to kick the ball from under with the bottom of your lace. To give a pass or kick the ball short range you usually use the instep of your foot. Lastly to take a shot on goal or kick the ball really far (usually for clearing the ball) you use the lace of your foot and slam the ball.  Here is a short description of the basic rules and consequences:

Rule Broken

Using hands (outside of goal box)

Using hands (inside of goal box)

Injuring player



Free kick

Penalty kick

Free kick/Drop ball

Free kick


How Does Soccer Change?

Soccer changes in various ways. For example, all the rules change. Also, the equipment changes. Another thing that changes are the referees. Lastly, the best players and teams have changed.


The rules of soccer have been changing since 1004 B.C. Now there are referees, and off sides. Also, there are throw-ins, kick-offs, corner kicks, goal kicks, drop kicks and different positions.


The equipment of soccer has also been changing since 1004 B.C. The soccer ball, cleats and shin guards have seriously changed.  Old soccer balls were stuffed with animal blubber. Then they were wrapped with animal skin. Now they are made up of synthetic materials. Cleats have changed most over the last hundred years. They used to be twenty-pound boots. Now they are light, compact shoes. The shin guards used to be less protective, but now they are much more safe. Also, by the end of the eighteenth century, there were hats, earmuffs, belts and shin guards for protective gear. Now there are only shin guards, because all the other stuff is unnecessary. They are unnecessary, because injuries.


Around 1880, there was an umpire from each team. They sat on chairs at the sideline. Now there are referees who run around the whole field following the ball. The umpires are now linesmen. Also, now you get paid $20 per game for refereeing (one hour), and $13 per game for being linesmen (one hour), in the SCYCSC (Santa Cruz Youth City Soccer Club).


One of the best (or best) soccer players was Pelé. Most of his career he was on the Brazil World Cup team. That is one of the reasons that team Brazil was one of the best teams. Now one of the best players is Ronaldo. He is also on Brazil. That is one of the reasons why Brazil has always been really good.


The top ten world cup teams listed from best to the worst:

  1. Brazil

  2. Italy

  3. West Germany

  4. Argentina

  5. England

  6. France

  7. Spain

  8. Yugoslavia

  9. Sweden

  10. Uruguay

NOTE: Results from average scores from and before 1998 (They are the top teams, because they have won the most games).


How Does Soccer Change Us?

Soccer changes people in many ways. First of all you get better physically built. You also get stronger, and more powerful.


For example, from kicking you get stronger leg muscles, and from throw-ins you get stronger arm muscles. Another thing that you can do is kick harder, and run faster. It can also change your mood in a good way.


The negative things about soccer are you can get your mood turned way down, you can get your feelings hurt and you can get injured. Your mood can become bad if you totally miss a goal, you're getting teased, you let someone easily score on you, or something like that. For injuries you can get anything from a scratch to . . . unfortunately, death.


Another thing that soccer changes is how people spend their time. Many kids and adults spend hours playing and practicing soccer.


Also for kids, parents give time to bring popsicles, water and fruits for the games. Coaches give time to coach.

In countries other than the U.S. where soccer is much more important and competition players give many, many weeks on doing soccer instead of doing other things. Also in places where soccer is extremely important people sometimes riot if a game is canceled. This takes up time of the rioters and police officers.


How Do We Change Soccer?

People change soccer by coming up with better ideas to replace old ones or make new things. Some thing that people have changed for soccer is the name of soccer. Also, people have changed the safety equipment. Another thing is the places for games. Lastly, is the merchandise in stores.


The London Association protested against rugby. Then they started calling soccer, association football, and rugby, football. After a while association football was too long of a name so it became assoc. Then, that changed into soccer. But, the English, and German still called it Football.


After a while, people started to notice how many people were getting injured. One day Samuel Widdowson was thinking of how many patients he was getting from shin injuries. Then he invented shin guards. He invented them in the year 1874. From then on, they have been improved.


After a while people started to love soccer. Then the players noticed that they needed more space for the games. The also wanted to get paid for playing soccer. Then stadiums started getting built and people started getting charged to go inside.


Later, when soccer got very popular, kids started wanting soccer toys. Then since soccer was so popular, stores started making soccer toys. Then kids started buying them.


Why Do We Use Soccer?

People mostly use soccer to have fun. Sometimes people play professionals to earn money or beat an enemy. People also use soccer to reduce stress, or anger. Sometimes people even play soccer to build up their muscles, or show off their skills. Another popular thing is (especially in the older times and still sometimes now-a-days) to gain honor. Soccer also helps people become more aggressive and take more risks. Soccer can help you to set goals, think more effectively and quickly, learn leader-ship and team work skills, and reduce weight. Occasionally soccer helps people not to smoke. Lastly kids who play soccer have a better chance of getting good grades in school by the skills they learn. For example it lets people take risks and become aggressive.


What are Soccer's Costs and Benefits?

Soccer is a good, fun game. You can learn all kinds of skills from soccer. You can get stronger, run faster and have more strength.


Those are benefits, but there are costs to soccer too. You can get badly injured. You can get any injury from a scratch to . . . unfortunately, death. Here are some examples that most people wouldn't think of: getting bedridden for the rest of your life, being less smart for the rest of your life, or being hit very badly by a ball so that you run away every time you see a ball.


Also people can get major brain damage from heading the ball too much (or sometimes even a little). If you don't know how to header properly, then it recommended told not to header. You can lose all your memory and things like that.


How Do We Evaluate Soccer?

Soccer should be evaluated by looking at certain points of views. You should look from a doctor's point of view. You should also look from a fans point of view. Importantly, you should ask someone who dis-likes soccer. Another thing is to look at costs and benefits. Lastly, a soccer player's view is needed.


  • A doctor would probably say, “Soccer is bad, because of all the injuries in it. But, there's a way to make soccer better. That would be to get more protective equipment so there would be fewer injuries.”

  • A fan of soccer might say, “Soccer is a really cool game. The only time soccer is bad, is when your team gets a player taken out, or your team loses. Soccer would be totally cool if your team would always win (but that would be impossible).”

  • Someone who dislikes soccer might say, “Soccer is a terrible game and a waste of time. People get injured all the time. I don't know how anyone could possibly like it.”

  • A soccer player (like me) would say, “Soccer is really, really fun (especially when your team is really good).

Although people get injured, it is avoidable. I love the fast action and the split second thinking.”


Costs and benefits are an important part of evaluating technology. There are many injuries in soccer. If you play soccer though, you can have lots of fun. So if you don't want to risk an injury it is a bad game to choose, but so is almost every other sport.  Overall there are good opinions and bad opinions. There are also medium opinions. I think that there are more plus, than minus.



  1. Coleman, Lori. Fundamental Soccer. Lerner Publications Company, Minneapolis. © 1995

  2. Hornby, Hugh. Soccer. Dorling Kindersley, New York, NY. © 2000



 2010 KnowledgeContext


Teaching Young People to Think About Technology