The Basics of Football


Football is a team sport in which two teams of eleven players compete to gain possession of the ball and score points. It is played on a 100-yard field with a 10-yard end zone, and has stripes running the width of the field at 5-yard intervals and shorter lines, called hash marks, marking each single yard interval down the field.

Rules of Football

The modern game was codified in England in the 19th century, but various forms of “folk” football were played across Europe and Asia since ancient times. The earliest form of the game may have been an exercise in precision kicking dating back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries B.C.

Players play in a variety of positions, but all players share one primary function: to get the ball into the opponent’s goal, which is guarded by a goalkeeper. This is done by dribbling, passing the ball to other players on the team, and taking shots at the goal.

Typical player roles include strikers (forwards), defenders, and midfielders. Strikers often play in a forward position on the offensive line, while defenders and midfielders usually work more defensively.


The Laws of the Game specify a number of basic offenses and defenses, and penalize players who break them. The most common penalties are:


A player is offside when he is closer to the opposing team’s goal line than both the ball and the nearest opposing player. A free kick is awarded to the team in front of where the offside occurred.