Professional Soccer: What you need to know

Professional soccer (or futbol to most) has long been the world’s most watched sport. However, several recent events have shed more light on professional soccer in Middle Tennessee. Over the summer, the Gold Cup match and then the International Champions Cup match both set records for soccer attendance within the state. Then, the Nashville Soccer Club recently joined the USL and announced they will be playing at First Tennessee Park when the season opens in March. Most of us know everything about field goals and two point conversions, but some might be a little in the dark when it comes to rules of soccer. So, with all the soccer hype happening, we’ve covered all you need to know about professional soccer:

  •  There are no timeouts
  • You are only allowed three total substitutions per game per team
  • Once you sub a player out of the game, they can’t sub back into the game
  • Games are two halves of 45 minutes
  • Because there are no timeouts and no breaks in the action of the game, there are no commercials until halftime
  • A full game usually lasts 1:45 mins to 2 hours (much shorter than NFL and MLB)
  • The average player runs 7 miles a game
  • Yellow cards are given for dangerous plays as a way for the referee to warn the player
  • Two yellow cards equal an automatic red card, which will eject the player from the game
  • If given a red card, the team who lost the player has to play the remaining balance of the game down a man
  • Offside is when an offensive player is behind the last defender before the ball is kicked
  • You can’t be offside on a corner kick, goal kick or throw-in
  • When a player kicks the ball between the defender’s legs it is called a “nutmeg”
  • If a player jumps in the air (toward a back flip) and kicks the ball over his/her head, it is called a “bicycle kick”
  • “Bend it like Beckham” came from David’s ability to use the inside and outside of his foot to actually bend the flight of the ball toward the goal
  • On a free kick, the defense is required to be 10 yards from the spot of the ball
  • You might see referees using shaving cream to mark off the line for the defense
  • A penalty kick has a higher percentage of scoring than a free throw in other leagues: All Professional Soccer Leagues: 76.8%; NBA Free Throw: 75%; NCAA Free Throw: 69%

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