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Soccer is perhaps one of the fastest growing sports in USA. It is also one of the simplest sports in the world.

Following are the 10 basic rules of soccer that every youth player and their parents should be aware of:

1)     A typical soccer match lasts 90 minutes, divided into two halves of 45 minutes each. Play in each half is started via a kick off. Normally there are 11 players on a team, including a goalkeeper. Following are general standards for game length followed in youth soccer for different age groups:

2) The players should always play the ball, and never the player. Every action should be directed towards controlling the ball or taking away possession, but never to stop a player or tackle him.

3) Arms and hands are the only parts of the body, not allowed to control the ball.

4)  Offside: As per the rule book, when the ball is played by the teammate, if you are in front or even with the second to last defender (goalkeeper is the last defender), you are guilty of offside. It is not a foul to be in offside position but if you become involved in the play, offside will be called.

This can be a hard rule to understand. Don’t get too hung up on it. Trust the referees. Download the FIFA Laws of the Game . They have good diagrams of what is and isn’t considered offside.

5) Yellow Card typically signifies a caution and main reason for a player to receive a yellow card could be:  persistent infringement, failure to ask referee for entering or leaving the field, dissent, unsporting behavior or failure to respect required distance on a restart.

6) Red Card signifies a send-off. If a player has received a red card that means that he/she would have to immediately leave the field and the surrounding area. His/her team will have to now play with 10 players. The reasons for red card could be receiving two yellow cards in a match, serious foul play, committing a foul so that the opposing team was unable to score a goal from a very easy opportunity, spitting or violent behavior.

7) Only goalkeepers are allowed to use their hands or arms to control the ball. There is only one condition when the goalkeeper is not allowed to use their hands, when the ball is kicked back to them intentionally by any of his/her teammates. Youth leagues under 10′s don’t really enforce this rule as most of the time it isn’t an intentional pass back.

8) Direct and Indirect Free Kicks: On a direct kick you can score by kicking the ball directly into the goal. On an indirect kick you cannot score. An indirect kick must be touched by another player before it can go into the goal – that is the kicker and a second person.

For an indirect kick, the referee will hold one arm straight up in the air until the second person touches the ball. No arm up, it’s a direct kick.

There are many soccer rules around what causes a direct or indirect kick.

In general, a direct kick comes from a contact foul or hand ball. Everything else is indirect.

9) Throw in: When the ball goes out of bounds on the sidelines, it’s a throw in. You’re only allowed to throw over your head and your feet must be remaining on the ground at the time the ball is released.

10) Corner kick: When a player on the opposing team shoots and comes off your own players and goes behind the goal, it is a corner kick.