The objective of soccer is to score goals by advancing the ball down field into the opposing team’s goal. You simply want to score more goals than your opponent. Traditionally goals are scored when a team moves the ball down field through passing and shooting of the ball. However, goals can be made by penalty kicks, direct kicks and corner kicks. That sounds easy enough, but why then are soccer scores traditionally very low compared to other sports like basketball? There are many reasons that factor into this answer, but some of the obvious are field size, players are controlling the ball with their feet and not their hands, and rules of the game.
Lets take a look at the first one: field size. A regulation soccer field can be a maximum of 130 yards in length and 100 yards in width. To put it in perspective, a regulation football field is 120 yards in length (with both end zones) and 53 1/2 yards in width. A professional soccer player during a game will run an average of 9 miles between jogging, running and sprinting. Being well conditioned and strong on the field is a must, but players cannot just out run and out condition their opponent, they must use the space of the field to move the ball and switch fields to truly take advantage of the size of the field.
The second factor that differs from other sports is that the main body part controlling the ball is the player’s feet. The best way to get a player to be a good ball handler is to make them use their feet – always. Often times people will ask, how do I get my child to better control the ball? The answer is “touches” on the ball. A player needs to be touching and controlling the ball as much as possible, so that it becomes second nature to them. When the player gets to a certain level of comfort they will know how the ball feels and what position their foot is in when they dribble, shoot, kick a long ball, or make a solid pass.
The last factor is rules of the game. There are several soccer rules that prevent certain advantages of play. Knowing these rules and how to adhere to them or use them to your advantage will allow players to keep the ball in play and advancing down the field.
So the team that is strong & well conditioned, moves the ball around the field & controls it, and know the rules will more than likely dominate and win games.