Soccer is the world’s most popular sport—hands down. Outside of the U.S., soccer is referred to as association football or simply football. Soccer is a truly universal game—both in terms of geographic regions and in its inclusiveness among players. Soccer is played professionally, intramurally, collegiately, in high school leagues or as a quick pick up game. Soccer players can be men, women or children. A true team sport, soccer allows 22 individuals to play at once. There are four main positions on the field: strikers (or forwards), midfielders, defenders and the all important keeper (or goalie). Being a part of a team develops cooperation as well as physical coordination and endurance.
Soccer, while enjoyable for players, is perhaps most significant as a spectator sport. Each year, millions of fans cram the stadiums, bowls and arenas to cheer on their favorite teams. Professional soccer leagues give rise to absolutely fanatic followings who are so dedicated in their support that their enthusiasm occasionally (and infamously) spills over into chaotic spectacles.
In the U.S., soccer doesn’t have quite as devout of a culture on the professional level. However, youth league soccer is a deeply ingrained American tradition, giving rise to the widely recognized “soccer mom.”
In spite of the distances and differences that separate American, European, Asian and African soccer traditions, this globally appreciated game has a profound effect on the culture of virtually every nation. Our Soccer directory in our Sports category was created to help you learn the rules of the game and develop a deeper love of the sport that connects all cultures.