SOCCER 101

All the questions you ever wanted to ask about soccer but had no one to ask

Black people play soccer?
Um...yeah. That's the point of the website.

How big is the field?
It's a minimum of 120 yards by 75 yards, a little bigger than a football field.

How many referees are there?
4, one head official, 2 officials on either sides who assist him and call offsides and signal the possession when the ball goes out of bounds, and a fourth official who is in charge of substitutions and keeping people on the benches

How long is the game?
2 (45) min halves, running time.

Then why is there "extra time"
The scoreboard in the stadium is just a courtesy to the fans and the media. The official time is kept on the field by the head official who, at his discretion, can stop the clock for injuries, lengthy substitutions or any other reason deemed necessary. At the end of each half, the head official will signal the fourth official how much time he is adding on who will then hold up a number that lets everyone else in the stadium know.

Why does the clock count up?
I dunno. It just does.

How many players on each team?
11.

What are the positions?
Goalkeeper (GK): like a goalie in hockey. Great Goal keepers in history include England's Peter Shilton, Denmark's Peter Schmiechel and Italy's Walter Zenga. Today you have players like Iker Casillas in Spain.

Defensemen(D):Guys who stay in the back of the attack and keep the opposition from scoring. There is usually one person in the middle who is called a sweeper. His job is to mop up everything that gets past the other defenders. The most famous defenseman was probably former W. German Franz Beckenbauer, who redefined the sweeper position. Today you have Italy's Paulo Maldini, France's Lilian Thuram and Brazil's Roberto Carlos.

Midfielders/halfback(MF): Usually the creative ones. They get the ball from the defense and try and feed the forwards. A lot of teams, especially National teams, have one person who directs the offense like a point guard in basketball. Often times, he wears the #10. To wear this number is a great honor because it signifies that you are the Man! Great midfielders have been Diego Maradona from Argentina, Michel Platini of France & Johan Cruyuff of Holland. Today you have JJ Okocha of Nigeria, Luis Figo of Portugal, Zinedine Zidane of France and David Beckham from England.

Forwards/strikers(F): Score the goals, get the glory. Great forwards in history include the great Pele of Brazil, Cameroon's Roger Mill aand Englishman Alan Shearer . Today there are a whole slew, including Holland's Ruud van Nistelroy, Cameroon's Samuel E'too, the Ukraine's Andrei Schevchenko and Brazil's Ronaldo.

Is the United States any good at soccer?
We are a very solid team that is hitting its stride and getting better. Teams do not simply walk all over us anymore.

When they talk about 4-4-2 alignment, what does that mean?
It means, 4 defenders, 4 midfilders and 2 strikers. Other alignments include 3-5-2 and 3-4-3.

I don't understand the offsides rule
Actually it's pretty easy. If you as an offensive player are on the other team's side of the field and someone tries to pass the ball to you, you cannot be behind the last defender (excluding the GK). If you are in in front of or even with the last defender, you are onsides and can get the ball and score. The rule is not in effect on throw ins after the ball is kicked out of bounds, nor is it in effect if you are on your half of the field. If you know the hockey rule, think of the last defender as a sort of moving blue line.

Why do some European fans fight and throw things?
People here in the US don't?






Is soccer ever on TV?
Yes, and I'm happy to say a lot more than it used to be mostly on cable. Try Soccer TV for US soccer listings

Who was the best player ever?
General consensus is that it was Pele. I was too young to see him play. Best player I ever saw was Maradona.

Is Brazil the best team in the world?
Probably. They have won the World Cup, soccer's world championship, 5 different times. But never sleep on teams like Germany, Argentina, Italy and Holland. Nigeria might be the best team in Africa.

Why do other countries call their teams "clubs"?
This is because they are organizations that operate other sports teams as well, as opposed to the United States. For example, AC Milan and FC Barcelona are famous soccer teams in Europe but they also have very good basketball teams by the same name.

What's a cap?
It means an appearance for your national team. The English used actually give their players caps everytime they suited up for their national side.

How did you become interested in the game seeing as how there seemed to be so few Blacks playing?
Not doing something just because you don't see someone Black doing it is a stupid reason to not do something.

Are you sure you're an American?
Yes, 100% American.

Ok, so explain this World Cup thing again.
One month, every four years, the same year as the Winter Olympics, the World Cup finals are held. Usually it's in one country but in 2002, Japan and S. Korea jointly held it. 32 Teams from 5 or 6 Confederations, representing Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, the zone comprised of North America, Central America and the Carribbean and finally Oceanana, compete for the right to be called the best team in the World. The final is routinely watched by billions all over the world and is by far the most watched sporting event, easily surpassing the Super Bowl, World Series and NBA Finals put together. Teams spend 2 years qualifying to be one of those 32 teams. The US is in the zone represented by N. America Central America and the Carribbean called CONCACAF. It is allowed 3 teams.

Do the clubs teams have championships?
Yes, all the confederations have what is called a champions league where the champions of each league plus usually the runners up compete during the next year in a tournament. DC United won one of these such tournaments. The South American tournament is called the Copa Libertadores and its champions are usually either from Brazil or Argentina. In Africa they, like Europe call their tournament, simply the Champions League. The European Champions League is one of the most watched tournaments and because the soccer in Europe is so great, they are usually considered the best in the world.

Are there youth teams?
Yes, all over the US, youth leagues are sprouting up. It is believed that more kids in the US play soccer than Little League Baseball. The problem has been that so many of these are in the suburbs and cost money so Blacks have not really participated much. Some, like Roy Lassiter have played in these youth leagues. Others played in college like Cobi Jones. Increasingly you see kids coming straight from high school and going into the pros such as Demarcus Beasley and Eddie Johnson

Can Blacks be really be good at this game?
Black are already good at this game. If we can play basketball which requires very quick thinking, soccer can be another game Blacks can excel at as well. Given the flair in which Black Americans and Black people in general play sports, I think that we can make a GREAT contribution to this sport in the US. Because basketball and to a lesser extent American football is so ingrained in the Black American culture the way soccer is for the rest of the world, it remains to be seen how much and how soon this will happen.







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