Football (Soccer)

Football, which is also called soccer, is a team game played between two teams of eleven players including a goalkeeper. Both men and women play soccer.

©Getty Images

©Getty Images

Players pass the ball by hitting it with their feet, chests or heads. No player, except the goalkeeper, can touch the ball with their hands.

To score a goal a player must kick the ball across the goal line and into the net. The winner is the team to score the most goals.

The goal keeper is the only player allowed to touch the ball with his hands

The goal keeper is the only player allowed to touch the ball with his hands

A referee and two assistant referees make sure that players obey the rules. They can send a player who breaks the rules, off the ground.


Men's and women's football teams will compete at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Did you know? Millions of people around the world play soccer!

In a recent survey, The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) found that over 240 million people play football and about five million more people act as referees and officials.

History of soccer

About 2000 years ago, games in which players moved a ball with their feet were played in China as a training exercise for soldiers. Football type games were played by the Greeks and Romans in ancient times. Different forms of football have been played in England and France for over 1000 years.


Teams of married women played teams of unmarried women in football matches in Scotland in the 1600s.

Football was banned in London in 1314 because of the 'rumpus' it caused in the streets. The sport was banned in France too. In Manchester, England, in 1608 football was banned because of the number of windows that were broken.

Soccer or Rugby

In the 1800s English schools developed sets of rules for football. Two different sets of rules came about. One set of rules favoured dribbling skills and allowed kicking of the ball and would later become soccer. The other set of rules allowed players to run and carry the ball and permitted rough tackling. It became rugby.

The modern game of soccer, with fixed playing times and a set of rules which did not allow touching of the ball with the hands, was played in England from about 1863.

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in Paris in May 1904

The first World Cup event took place in 1930.

The FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup competition is the biggest football (soccer)competition in the world.

The competition is to find the best soccer team in the world. The winning team receives the World Cup trophy.

Some more facts about the World Cup trophy

Soccer World Cup trophy

Soccer World Cup trophy

The first trophy was designed and made by Abel Lafleur, a French sculptor. The trophy was 35 centimetres high and weighed 3.8 kilograms. It was made of pure gold.

After 1970, a new trophy was designed by an Italian designer, Silvio Gazzaniga. The new trophy is 36 cm high and is made of solid 18 carat (75%) gold and weighs 6.175 kg.

The winning country keeps the trophy until the next tournament. After that they are given a gold plated copy and must return the solid gold one to FIFA to be handed to the next winning country.

Some more facts about the soccer World Cup competition

©Getty Images

©Getty Images

  • Brazil has won the World Cup a record five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament.

  • The championship has been awarded every four years since 1930, except for 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War.

  • Only seven countries have won the world cup: Brazil, Italy, Germany, Uruguay, Argentina, England, France.

Soccer is played by both girls and boys in schools and weekend competitions. ©Getty

Soccer is played by both girls and boys in schools and weekend competitions. ©Getty


Read more on the FIFA website:

Read about the history of the World Cup:

Read more about Olympic soccer: