Soccer's Worldwide Popularity
Soccer is the undisputed answer to the question what is the most popular sport in the world? It is vastly popular. It is even estimated that more than half of the world’s population consider themselves to be soccer fans. During the 2014 World Cup, more than 3.9 billion people tuned in to watch at one or more points during the tournament. Every major search engine receives hundreds of millions of inquiries related to soccer every year. As well as having the most fans, soccer also has the most players. There are more children and adults who play soccer both recreationally and competitively than any other sport in the world. Estimates indicate that there are more than 250 million players from more than 200 different countries.
The Basics of Soccer
Soccer is a fairly straightforward sport, it consists of two teams with 11 players each and two goals - one on each end of the field. The ultimate goal of the game is to get the ball past the opposing team’s defensive players and into their goal. This sport is commonly called football because it is played primarily with the feet. The only players on the field allowed to touch the ball with their hands are the goalkeepers. However, it is within the rules for any player to touch the ball with other parts of their body, including the head and chest. This sport is commonly played on a grass field or artificial turf. Most soccer games are 90 minutes long, and they are broken into two 45-minute halves. Many recreational games, or games played by children, are 60 minutes long with two 30-minute halves.
The equipment needed to play soccer is simple, which is one of the reasons it is a popular sport. The main items needed are a ball and two goals. Standard soccer balls are lightweight and usually made from a polyester and cotton blend stretched over a bladder that is inflated with air. Soccer is a contact sport because it is common for players to come into physical contact during gameplay. However, it is not a collision sport, and most contact between players does not cause any type of injury. The most common type of safety equipment worn while playing soccer is shin guards. These are protective plates typically made of plastic that protect the shins of players from being damaged by misplaced kicks from other players.
Types of Soccer
As well as traditional soccer, there are many other variations played around the world. Indoor soccer is popular in areas with cold weather, which makes it possible to play soccer year round. Most indoor soccer leagues have teams with five or six players on each side. Three-vs.-three soccer is another popular variation, where teams of three play against each other on a much smaller field with smaller goals.
Soccer Throughout History
The origins of soccer can be traced back more than 2,000 years to ancient China. However, Rome, Greece and parts of Central America also claim to have started the sport. Modern soccer originated in England. The English are credited with creating the set of universal rules that are still used around the world today. Soccer has been an official Olympic sport since 1900.