Since you’re on this page, then you are probably willing to learn how to play soccer or at least you’re considering it.
I know that it’s been very difficult for you to find a detailed guide on how to start playing soccer.
I’ve been there.
That’s why I created this guide.
America needs a guide like this one, right ?
So, I must say that this is your lucky day.
You are about to read the most complete soccer guide for beginners.
This guide covers everything you need to KNOW, HAVE and LEARN in order to start playing soccer.
This is the only guide you’ll ever need.
Here below you’ll find the navigation panel that will allow you to easily navigate through this guide.
Part 1: Understand Soccer: Awesomeness, History and Rules
This is the first part of this guide and it covers everything you need to KNOW about soccer.
The purpose of this part is to allow you to have an idea about the history of soccer and why it is insanely popular in other countries outside of the US.
Also, in this part you’ll learn the fundamentals of the game, the rules that govern it and some of the technical terms that you need to know about.
1. But first, Why Soccer Is Different?
Soccer is with no doubt the most followed and played sport in the planet.
Statistics say that there are over 3.5 billion soccer fans currently in the world. That’s a lot.
These are facts. Soccer is insanely popular everywhere, except, apparently, in the US.
But, even in the US, soccer’s popularity is growing fast and the MLS is actually getting better year after year.
So, how come that more than 3.5 billion people are soccer fans?
The simplest and probably most truthful answer is that soccer is a lot of fun. It’s fun to watch. It’s fun to play. It’s easy to understand. That’s it.
Most sports are either boring to watch or they require a lot of effort and special skills to actually play them. Some combine both of these things.
Soccer is simple, fun and most importantly anyone can play it with just a few days of training.
Of course, becoming a professional soccer player requires years of practice.
However, reaching the minimum skills that will let you enjoy playing the game can be done in a couple of months.
Bottom line, people who don’t know or aren’t into soccer are missing so much. Soccer is like the most exciting sport ever. I hope you’ll come to realize that in a few months from now.
2. How Soccer Started: The history of Football (Soccer)
I’ll try to be as specific as possible because I don’t certainly want to bore you with the overwhelming details of soccer history.
When we talk about soccer history, there are two things people may refer to.
The first one is the ancient origins of soccer. Historians tried to track back to the first human being that played something similar to today’s sport.
Most history books have revealed that the first civilization to play soccer was ancient Egypt. They didn’t have all the rules soccer has today. But, they used to kick back and forth a round ball that was usually made from animal intestines or skin to improve the bouncing.
So technically, soccer was originally invented somewhere between 2000 BC and 3000 BC.
The second reference is the modern-day soccer. The first beginnings of modern Soccer (Football as they call it in England) was in England during the 19th century.
At first, soccer was only played by kids in the streets of England. But as the popularity of this game has increased, some sport clubs decided to create unified rules and organize serious competitions and leagues.
To do that, they founded the Football Association in 1860.
The popularity of the game has spread all over Europe countries. So eventually, these countries gathered to form a governing body of football that will oversee international games and the FIFA came to be.
And the rest is history…
3. Why Some People (Like in the US) Call it Soccer and Not Football?
For your information, it’s not just in the US that this sport is called soccer.
People in the Canada, Australia, The Philippines and South Korea also call it soccer.
The word soccer was originally invented in England to distinguish between rugby football and association football.
So, people back then were referring to association football as “assoccer” which eventually became just “soccer” while they called rugby football “rugger.”
Because soccer has become more popular than rugby, the distinction between rugger and soccer was no longer necessary.
People already knew which sport was meant when someone says “football.” Hence, the word football stuck in English usage.
Americans, however, have their popular sport of gridiron or American football, which goes by the plain name of football. Therefore, they have to use the word soccer to avoid confusion.
4. Understanding The Fundamentals of Soccer
a. The purpose of the game:
Before we get into the rules, you should have a general idea of the objective of a soccer game.
In a soccer game, there are two teams that have one purpose in mind which is to put the ball in the other team’s goal using any part of the body except the hands and arms.
Each team has 10 players and 1 goalie. The goalie is the only player allowed to touch the ball with his hands and arms only if he’s located in the penalty area (See the picture below).
And there’s always a referee who supervises the game and announces fouls and goals. It’s like he’s the judge that makes sure the play is fair and all players are safe.
He may have two linesmen helping him do his job. They usually are responsible for announcing offside (I’ll explain it later) giving their perfect location on the field that allows them to decide properly whether there was an offside or not.
That’s the main idea of soccer. Now let’s dive into the rules of play.
b. Soccer Game Rules
Soccer has an approximate of 15 basic rules that are used worldwide in every soccer game. Some rules are slightly changed in some youngster leagues.
The purpose of these rules is to make the game safe, fun and fair for both opponents.
It’s not very convenient to put all the rules here and explain them. That would make this guide longer than it should be.
That’s why I prepared a PDF document that explains in great details each one of the fifteen rules.
You can easily download it using this link: Soccer Rules
c. The positions of players in soccer
There are mainly four positions in soccer. There’s actually sub-positions in most of these four positions but that’s not important for you to know at the moment. You’ll get to that later when you advance your level in the game.
That’s the goalie whose only job is to make sure that the ball doesn’t go into his goal. He always wears a different color than the other 10 players. He’s the only player allowed to touch the ball with his hands and arms in the penalty are. Outside of this area nobody is permitted to touch the ball with his hands or arms.
These are the players who have as a primary mission to stop the attackers of the opposite team from getting closer to the goal. They are the first line of defense for any team. Their positions are always close to the penalty area in front of the goalie.
These players are most of the time in the middle of the field. They have both defensive and attacking responsibilities. They connect the whole team together. They try to provide attackers with chances to score as well as help defenders keep the ball away from the goal.
- Attacker (forward)
These are the players expected to score goals. This is their main job. All the other players work hard to get the ball to the attackers. A god attacker is the one who has the skills and physical strength to score as many goals as possible.
I guess that’s all the technical insights that you need to know at this stage.
Understanding the things mentioned above is more than enough to get you started with the beautiful game.
There are other technical aspects about soccer that I didn’t mention on purpose because I don’t want to give you too much information all at once.
However, the information I explained are all you need to worry about at the moment.
Now, let’s get down to the equipment you should have before being able to practice soccer.
Part 2: Soccer Equipment: Soccer Balls, Cleats and Other Equipment
Practically, all you need to have is a soccer ball and you’re set to go.
However, if you’re taking this seriously (and you should), you need to consider getting all the elements I mention below.
Some clubs will provide most of these items to its members and you only pay the registration fees. However, in other clubs, you won’t get anything except the soccer ball.
Just make sure that you (or your kid) have everything you need.
To make things easier for you, I decided to gather the best products in each equipment. I hope the reviews below will make the purchase decisions easier for you.
1. Soccer Balls
Obviously, you will need to buy a reliable training soccer ball to use for practice. There are hundreds of different balls in the market.
I already published a thorough guide about this that will help you choose the best soccer ball that will suit your needs: Best Soccer Balls Guide
To sum up, these three soccer balls are my all time favorite and I strongly recommend them.
2. Soccer Cleats
These are special footwear made especially for soccer players. Cleats are made using special materials that provide maximum safety for the players and enable them to move as fast as possible.
Soccer is usually played on grass which requires cleats because turf shoes won’t provide a good traction and the player will keep falling if he wears them.
And below is a three pair of cleats that are considered to be the best in the market at this moment.
3. Shin guards
As you may already figure out, the purpose of these guards is to protect the player’s shin (tibia). This area is vulnerable and it’s one of the most common places of soccer injuries.
You should consider buying shin guard with a good thickness and a convenient size that will fit you.
I did some research for you and found that these shin guard below are great deals.
4. Soccer Socks
They are different than regular socks because they are extremely long. They are supposed to cover the shin guards.
When it comes to soccer socks, there are hundreds of good options in the market. Just keep in mind that you get socks that are made for soccer and that fit perfectly your feet. Wearing socks with the wrong size can ruin your game.
But, if I have to choose which soccer socks are the best, I think that would be these.
5. Uniform: Jersey and shorts
These aren’t mandatory. Although, I think it’s cool to have them.
However, if you’re considering (or your kid) entering a soccer club, you’ll probably need one of these.
As for the question of which jersey to buy, it’s actually all about what team you prefer and how much you’re willing to pay. As you probably know, original jerseys are very expensive.
That’s why I recommend going with a replica of your favorite team. They are cheaper and pretty much the same as the originals.
Here below are some of my favorite jerseys that you may want to look at.
But if you’re looking for a full outfit for your kid, don’t worry because I collected some of the best deals in the internet to make things easier for you.
6. Water bottle
Playing soccer requires a lot of running which means that you’ll get dehydrated so often. That’s why you need to always have a water bottle to drink from it during games and practices.
The great thing is that you can still use the same bottle in gym and whenever you’re practicing. So, it’s never a bad investment to have a delicate water bottle like those made by Nike.
Part 3: How To Play Soccer: Main Skills
Soccer is the beautiful game. It’s a sport when we see both amazing team work and incredible individual contributions. It’s a great thing to watch.
But, just for your information, soccer is a lot more fun when you play it. There’s no superior feeling than that of dribbling your opponent and scoring goals. It’s something out of this world.
Now, the question that you may have in your mind at this moment is: how can you learn how to play soccer so that you get to experience the same feelings ?
So, let’s try to answer that.
There’s two parts of learning soccer. There’s a part that is related to soccer rules and a part related to skills that will enable you to actually play soccer.
Soccer rules are covered in the first part of this guide. So, go back to there to learn the fundamentals of soccer and you’ll also find that I made a PDF file that contains all the rules that you need to know about. Here it is again if you want to download it: Download Soccer Rules
Now, let’s talk more about the part that is related to technical skills.
But, first let me start with this.
If I can only give you one advice on how to become a good soccer player, it would certainly be the following:
“Practice is the mother of learning. So, you need to practice as much as possible. It’s even better to have another person to practice with.”
However, learning soccer isn’t just about keep hitting the ball. You need first to understand the basic skills that a soccer player need to have. This will give you an idea about what skills you’ll need to focus on.
In soccer, there are four essential skills. Some may argue that there are more than that. However, these four skills are of the origin of all other skills in soccer.
So if you were able to master these four skills, everything else will come naturally with time.
Here are the main four skills in soccer along side with video tutorials that will help you master them.
- Ball control
You need to learn how to be able to receive the ball without losing it and feel comfortable with the ball in your feet. That’s what ball control is.
In soccer, the first rule is not to lose the ball to your opponent so that’s a critical skill that you need to start with in your first weeks of training.
You need to learn how to pass the ball to other players with precision. Passing is done by kicking the ball with the inside of your foot so that you’ll be able to kick the ball with maximum precision insuring that the ball will get to your teammate.
A skill that is related to passing is passing on the fly where you anticipate where your teammate will be and you pass the ball in the right position with the right power so that your teammate will receive perfectly the ball while running which gives your team an advantage over the opponent. A rebounder can be a good way to practice here.
This technique allow your team to exchange the ball quickly which makes it harder for the opponent team to stop their attacks.
It’s about learning how to score goals and how to be able to shoot the ball in the frame of the goal. So, when it comes to shooting it’s all about accuracy. You can use a soccer pop up or soccer goal to practice if you want to improve your level faster.
When we talk about shooting we normally refer to scoring goals. So, you’ll need both accuracy and power to make sure that the goalkeeper doesn’t stop your ball from entering the goal.
It’s the ability to pass another player without losing the ball. This demands that you have good control on the ball and to have good physical abilities.
Currently, Lionel Messi is the best soccer player in this skill. He can pass through three to four defenders without loosing the ball.
This skill is by far the hardest one to master because it requires speed and physical abilities that not everyone have. However, with practice anyone can get to a good level that will allow him to have a decent dribbling abilities.
So, these are the main skills that you need to worry about at this stage if you wanna learn how to play soccer. There are other techniques and skills that a soccer player should learn. However, let’s not worry about that now.
What I want you to do now, is to read thoroughly the soccer rules and to watch more than once the videos above in order to prepare yourself to the field.
Things can be difficult at the beginning and that’s totally normal. It happened to all us. Soccer demands skill and it takes time to learn skills. So, just keep practicing and practicing and you’ll definitely notice a huge improvement in your level.
There’s no secrets here. It’s all about practice. that’s it.
Conclusion: Before you go…
I think this is it. This is all you need to know at this moment.
Now, the next step is to go out there and get yourself familiar with soccer. Practice is the only thing that can enable you to learn how to play soccer.
Before you go, I just want to say that I hope this guide was helpful to you or with your kid and I’ll be certainly happier if you take a minute of your time and submit a comment below. That would mean so much to me.
I want to hear your opinions and experiences and if there’s anything that you need help with, I’ll be glad to help you. So, don’t hesitate.
This go without saying but just a reminder. Please share this guide with anyone whom may need it or find it helpful.