Association football, also called simply football or soccer, is a national team sport typically played by a spherical ball containing eleven players. It is played by about 250 million players throughout more than 200 countries and de facto, the world’s biggest sport. The game is largely considered to be the “bread and butter” of any football club and is a staple in many countries’ schedules. It is also the most watched sport in the world, with television coverage and sponsorship incentives often drawing large amounts of media coverage. In the United States, professional football has also developed immensely over the years, and American football can be found in the Professional Bowlers Association (PBAA), the National Football League (NFL) and the World Game Football Association (WGH).
Although the game has developed considerably over the years, it remains a largely unfilled space for entertainment for millions of people. Professional football is widely played by men and women of all ages, from youth levels through adult years. Additionally, it is an extremely popular leisure or social activity for nonprofessional and college spectators. The game is played in public schools, including high schools and colleges, as well as in private clubs, as part of athletic teams. For example, the Houston Texans is an association football team that plays professionally in the Texas league.
The official rules and terminology of football associations vary greatly. Each association has its own set of rules that governs the conduct of the game. Most common among these is the “safe zone”, which is a fifteen-yard-line that is deemed to be the playing field along which any forward progress may be made. Touching the boundary line or attempting to touch the goal line while one is in the playing field, either by breaking a tackle or trying to field the ball, is also forbidden. Other common rules are designed to increase safety for both the participant playing football and those watching the game.
In rugby, the ball is kept at the referee’s disposal. The rugby field is considered to be the playing field, the same as football. Unlike football, rugby football uses a ball that is less dense than that of a soccer ball; hence, there is more space for the ball to travel. However, rugby football players have longer and lower legs than football players, meaning they have to move faster and with more grace.
A goal is scored when a football makes contact with an opposition player’s body parts, whether these are legs arms, or heads. The goal does not include an indirect free kick, a try, or a ground kick. Goalkeepers are usually the only way to stop a goal from being scored. Like all other football players, goalkeepers wear protective equipment including pads, gloves, and helmets. When a goal is scored against an association football team, the opposing goalkeeper will typically throw the ball back into play in an attempt to restore balance.
The different football competitions include Association football, National Team Football, Premi National Team Soccer, and International Team Soccer. Association football is played between teams from various nations. National Team football is played by teams from specific countries. Premi National Team Soccer competitions are competitions hosted by the Federation of International Football Associations. International Team Soccer competitions are held by member countries of the FIFA.