I Am New to Soccer

Soccer is Universal and Natural

You can set a soccer ball down on any corner in the world and have friends.  It is a global sport that Americans have embraced in record numbers... because it's fun even with a beginner's skill.  It's also a game you can play and enjoy for the rest of your life.  Under-5 soccer is one of the fastest growing levels in America.

With children's natural joy in running and kicking, soccer builds on these two skills and adds techniques to control the ball and work as a team.  It also encourages creative decision making and strategic thinking.  It's a fast game that keeps each player moving the entire time.  

Everyone Plays®

In AYSO there's no spending a game on the bench! Palo Alto AYSO policy is that every player is in for at least three quarters.

AYSO has age appropriate small-sided games as well as full-sized games.  A full size soccer team has 11 players on the field.  But smaller-sided teams for younger children allow more touches on the ball and a more successful soccer learning environment. 

AYSO small-sided games emulate classic "street soccer" where children of many skill levels choose up teams and play together for a fun neighborhood game.  This is a similar environment to where many of the greatest soccer players in the world developed their skills.  

The Game Explained  -   Wikipedia.

Quick Overview of The Game

While baseball, basketball and football are historically the most popular sports in the USA, soccer is the most popular internationally, where "football" means soccer.

The game is played by two teams of 11 players each.  At each end of a 120x60 yard field are goals.  The lines along the side of the field are called, "touchlines".  The goals are guarded by a player called a "keeper", and is the only team member permitted to use his hands. When a team is able to get the ball into the net, through any means except using the hands or forearms, a point is scored.  Soccer game scores are typically in the low single digits.

The team generally consists of the keeper, two fullbacks, three halfbacks and five forwards.  A soccer game tends to play continuously with only short interruptions to throw the ball back into play after it has left the field (out of bounds).  Soccer is more like hockey or basketball in its non-stop action, than baseball or American football.

The game is officiated by three referees, the "center referee" and two "assistant referees".  The center referee manages the game; calling direction (possession) for throw-ins when the ball goes over the touch line, calling fouls, stopping play, and restarting play. The assistant referees run along the touchline and have the difficult job of watching for "offisde" play.  The "offside" rule is meant to prevent a team from sending a player deep into the other team's zone and then lobbing the ball all the way to the other end.  The line of offside play moves following the position of the second to the last defender.  There are many nuances of offside play that are not covered here.

Perhaps what is most amazing about soccer is the range of players and skills; from beginning children to World Cup.  Children can begin playing, having fun, and learning right away, from day one.  There is no skill threshold to cross before a child can play. Everyone knows how to run and kick a ball.  And the learning eventually leads to World Cup level of play where stamina, speed, ball handling skills, coordinated team play and individual gymnastics all combine to score goals.