How to Understand Soccer

So you’re new to soccer? That’s no surprise – you’re American. But with the 2014 FIFA World Cup upon us, it’s time for a basic “football” primer. Here’s what you need to know about the laws of the game

Released on 6/12/2014

Credits

Songspub: "Feel the Beat" by Radio Freq

"One Fine Day" by The Salt and the Sea

Transcript

00:06
[Narrator] These United States are
00:07
pretty much the last territories on earth
00:09
to not totally get soccer, but what's our excuse?
00:13
Some of our earliest immigrants were
00:15
kicking the ball across Ellis Island even
00:16
before Lady Liberty raised an arm to freedom.
00:18
This is a sport that stopped World War I for a day,
00:21
it has the most famous athletes on earth
00:24
and rivalries that go back hundreds of years.
00:27
From prep schools to parking lots,
00:29
economic and social barriers dissolve.
00:31
People from all walks unite around a common ball.
00:34
Hell, even our forest fore fathers
00:36
found the Native Americans playing
00:38
something akin to soccer they
00:39
called Pasuckquak, ahem, you get it.
00:42
And one of the biggest legends of
00:44
the game played here as recently as the 70s
00:46
undoubtedly in some groovy disco way.
00:49
Yet somehow we're still late to the party,
00:52
so let's catch up with Around the Shots.
00:55
For a few billion people, soccer is
00:58
called football and the teams are called clubs,
01:01
uniforms are called kits, the
01:02
field is a pitch, and herb is herb.
01:05
[Woman] Hm, because there's an H in it.
01:07
[Narrator] Ha, okay, we get it.
01:09
And of course because sport abhors disorder,
01:11
there are a few rules to consider,
01:12
17 to be exact and they're called laws.
01:15
For example, a game consists of eleven players
01:18
on each side, and not including the time
01:20
that the refs add at the end of each half
01:22
due to pauses in the game, the game lasts
01:24
for 90 minutes stopping only once at halftime.
01:28
So if some form of media induced
01:30
Stockholm Syndrome has made you a
01:32
fan of commercial breaks, this isn't the sport for you.
01:36
Oh, and you should also know that
01:38
offside penalties can be game changers.
01:39
Once a player subs out, they're done for the game.
01:42
Lastly, a basic 4-4-2 formation consists
01:45
of four defenders near the goal keeper,
01:47
four midfielders who both attack and defend,
01:50
and two forwards, the players most expected to score goals,
01:53
and those goals don't come often but when they do
01:57
(fireworks and opera music)
02:00
We hope this helps to dull the newbie glow,
02:02
and if you missed any of that feel free
02:04
to click replay with your friends.
02:05
Come back for more Soccerology and
02:08
subscribe to GQ for more of the best
02:11
in men's fashion, sports, and culture.