The Soccer Page is about links to Professional Soccer. Major League Soccer - MLS, United Soccer Leagues - USL, 1st and 2nd Divisions, Canadian Soccer League - CSL that has changed from CPSL, and the Major Indoor Soccer League - MISL. All their teams, listed in conferences, are displayed.
The five Professional Soccer Leagues on the Soccer Page are men’s leagues. There is not a North American Women’s Professional Soccer League anymore. WUSA did not last. Soccer is the easiest game to play of all the most popular sports. A ball and appropriate footwear are all that is needed. Soccer fields are everywhere and more are being built all the time; multi-purpose fields and Soccer stadiums. The Canadian Soccer League has Canadian Teams only, but, Major League Soccer and United Soccer Leagues 1st Division have U.S. and Canadian Teams. USL 2nd Division has only U.S. Teams. The MISL is made up of US teams, but, a CMISL is forming for a league in Canada.
The MLS was formed in 1993 and played it’s first season in 1996 with 10 teams. MLS Soccer has 13 teams with the expansion team Toronto F.C. in 2007- making the MLS U.S.A. and Canadian Teams. There are two conferences; Eastern and Western and they play a 32 game schedule, from the beginning of April to mid October, concluding with a championship game to win the MLS Cup in November. The USL Soccer 1st Division has 13 teams, from the U.S.A. and Canada, and competes at the Major Professional level. This is their 10th season. There is a 28 game schedule to determine a champion. The USL 2nd Division claims to be the foundation of Soccer, in the United States, and is a Minor Professional affiliate to the USL 1st Division. The USL 2nd Division has 10 teams playing a 20 game season to determine a champion. Both USL Divisions compete in tournaments and exhibitions during the season. The CSL - Canadian Soccer League - has changed this year from the CPSL - Canadian Professional Soccer League. The CPSL began in 1997 and played it’s first season, in 1998, with 8 teams that included teams from the CNSL - that had a history dating back to 1922 with the NSL . All 13 Canadian teams are in two conferences; the National and the International. It is expanding with two teams in 2008 and more later on. Originally, another CSL began in 1987 and folded in 1992 after having teams in all parts of Canada. After a 22 game season that runs from May to October, 8 CSL teams make the playoffs ending with a championship game for the Rogers Cup. The CSL, also, runs the Open Canada Cup during the season that includes all of the CSL teams and a few amateur clubs. The counter part US Open Cup is also run during the season.
The MISL began with the 2002-03 season and has made Soccer a year round sport, playing in the Fall and Winter Seasons with the championship in early Spring.. The MISL is an indoor soccer competition competing in Hockey Arenas on artificial turf, without ice. The field of play is very different from a normal Soccer game and requires additional rules similar to that found in Hockey and Lacrosse - the new scoring is similar to Basketball. The dimensions are optimum at 200 feet long by 85 feet wide, but, slight variations are permitted. The 8 teams will compete in a 30 game season that runs from November to April ending with a 3 game championship series. Two more teams are expected in 2007-08. Rule changes, to that of International Soccer, can be found at the bottom of this Description section.
Each league and team name are linked to their home page. Each team Logo is linked the team’s roster, or player list, page. Each league Logo is linked to the league standings page. All of the images have captions to explain what they are and where they link. From a team or league web site, the store can be viewed to see soccer gear and equipment for fans and players. Soccer caps and jerseys are often worn by fans at Soccer games. Team ‘banners’ and many other items with team colours are displayed and used to help cheer on the home team. Advertisements, are also shown and, can be a source for just that right item to enhance your enjoyment of soccer or your favourite team. There is no cost in linking with an ad or any web site. The new Schedule links are to the teams' schedule pages if available, or league team schedules if not.
From the Soccer team rosters, the players information and stats can be linked to. This information is part of the team web site and is often very up to date. From the standings page the teams are shown in their conferences and in their divisions - with their current win/loss record. The team names, there, are often linked to their web sites, as well.
Each Soccer league has a playoff and champion from the season before. There are trophy pictures and championship logos, displayed with the current champions, that link to information and web pages about that trophy or Soccer event. Other Logos, displayed in each section, link to their home pages, too, and are meant to offer other destinations for soccer fans to explore - included are the All-Star Logos displayed with their hosts! Or pictures of the event.
The Game Of Soccer.
Soccer is played outdoors - and in Indoor Stadiums - on a grass surface or artificial turf like carpet. The field must be rectangular, according to FIFA - Federation International Football Association - Laws, and has markings; to show the outside perimeter; the ‘Goal Area’ - 22 yards long , 6 yards wide - and the ‘Penalty Area’ - 44 yards long, 18 yards wide - in front of the Goal; the Corner Arcs - 1 yard radius - in the corners of the field; and the Centre Mark, in the Centre Circle - 10 yards radius - is centred on the Halfway Line: a line running from side to side through the Centre Mark and divides the field in half. The rectangular field has two sidelines, called ’Touch Lines, and two end lines, called ’Goal Lines, where the ‘Goals’ are Centred on, with the two Goal and Penalty Areas - centred in front - one inside of the other. The Goals are two posts with a crossbar above that all must be white. They are 8ft. high and 8 yards long. The field is 100 to 130 yards long by 50 to 100 yards wide. In international play, the field is 110 to 120 yards long and 70 to 80 yards wide. The corners of the field each have a Flag post that must be at least 5 feet high. The Penalty Kick Mark, in the Penalty Area infront of the Goal, requires a 10 yard circle around it to keep other players away from the shooter. Only part of the arc is shown - that part which extends outside of the Penalty Area.
Soccer Players wear Equipment to protect them and the other players. A Jersey, with a number, on the back, and possibly the player’s name, must have sleeves. Shorts only - no long pants - are worn and underpants must be the same colour as the shorts. Stockings come up to the knee and cover the Shin Guards. Shin Guards protect the player’s shin and are held in place by the Stocking. Soccer Shoes have increased traction mounted on them: for grass and other types for different kinds of artificial turf like carpet. Lightweight Headgear, Face Masks, Knee and Arm pads are not a danger to other players and may be worn.
A Soccer game is 90 minutes long, divided into two 45 minute halves, and is straight time. Halftime is up to 15 minutes. Only the referee has the ‘Game Time Watch‘. ‘Added Time’ is the difference between the ‘Stadium Clock’ and the ‘Referee’s Watch‘, where the Referee stops Time for Injuries and other delays. ‘Extra Time’ is Overtime to decide a tie game. There is a continuous flow of play. Each team has 11 men and compete to put a leather inflated ‘Soccer Ball’ into the other team’s ‘Net’ to score a goal. The ball is 27 to 28 inches in circumference and is moved by kicking it, only! No hands or arms can direct the ball, but, a player’s head or chest can be used. The centre mark is where the half begins by one player kicking the ball to a team mate; it is called ‘Touch Ball’. Each side has a ‘Goalkeeper’ and 10 running players; ‘Defenders’, ‘Midfielders’ and Forewards, or ‘Strikers’. The objective is to outscore your opponent, while keeping the ball in the field of play. A player may run outside the perimeter line to control a ball. The ‘Whole of the Ball’ must cross any line to count; Touch Lines, Goal Lines - inside or outside the Goal - and Penalty and Goal Areas.
To start, one team is given the Soccer Ball - the other team starts the second half (all decided by a coin toss). A player stands with the ball at Centre Field - all the other players are outside of the Centre Circle in their Half of the field - he kicks the ball to a team mate and the Game is On. ‘Goalkeepers’ may catch the ball and throw it to a team mate, but, only in the Goal and Penalty Areas; outside of this area the Goalkeeper is just another player. Goalkeepers wear different colour Jerseys to be distinguished from all the other players. A ball caused to go Out of Bounds, on the Touch Line, causes a ‘Throw In’ by the opposition, and a Goalkeeper may not play it, with the hands, until after another player has touched it. A Legal Throw In has opponents staying 2 meters away until the ball is thrown, with both hands, from behind the head, while the player keeps two feet touching the Touch Line: or from back of there. A ball Out of Bounds on the Goal Line causes a ‘Corner Kick‘; or a ‘Goal Kick’ if the offensive team touched it last. A ‘Corner Kick’ is placed in the ‘Corner Arc Area’ and Kicked without interference by the defenders - 10 yards grace. The Flag Post is not removed. A ‘Goal Kick’ is kicked by the Goalkeeper from the Goal Area. Generally, the Laws state that a Free Kick is to receive 10 yards clearance from the other players. There is an arc, at the top of the Penalty Area, to indicate where players must be back of, for a Penalty Kick, as it is 10 yards from the Penalty Mark.
Players must only kick the Soccer Ball. If contact with an opponent is made, the Referee whistles the Foul and a ‘Free Kick’ is awarded to the Fouled team. Free Kicks are Direct - can Score a Goal from - or Indirect - can not Score a Goal from. Indirect Free Kicks must be Touched by another player, first. Fouls are called when a player: Kicks, or attempts to Kick an opponent, Trips, or attempts to Trip an opponent, jumps at an opponent, charges an opponent, strikes, or attempts to strike an opponent, Pushes an opponent, Tackles, or contacts an opponent before touching the ball, Holds an opponent, spits at an opponent, or for handling the ball deliberately. If the infraction is violent enough, a Warning (Yellow Card) or even an Ejection (Red Card) from the game, can occur. Two Yellow Cards cause a Red Card and an ejection. The Free Kick has the ball placed on the field near the spot of the Foul and then Kicked to a team mate or at the Goal, without interference from the opposing players. The ball must be touched by another player before the Kicker can play it again. Many Goals are scored from Free Kicks. If a Foul occurs inside the Penalty Area, by the Defenders, a ‘Penalty Kick’ is awarded. This is a Free Kick from the Penalty Mark, just in front of the Goal - well inside the Penalty Area - where no other player can be between the Goalkeeper and the ‘Shooter‘. A ‘Dropped Ball’ occurs, by the Referee dropping the ball to the ground between two opponents, when an event takes place that is not covered in the FIFA Rules.
When a Goal is scored, the Soccer Ball is given to the other team who Touches Ball from the Centre Mark. The strategy is to work the ball up field trying to catch the defending team out of position. Careful, accurate Passes accomplish this task. When the time is right, a Striker bolts forward to receive a pre-timed Pass and gets a clear Shot, or run in to the Goal, to beat the Goalkeeper. A Defender and the Goalkeeper, or two Defenders, must be located between an open offensive player and the Goal. When the ball is Kicked (Passed) and a receiving player is onside, the player may run toward the Goal, behind Defenders, and catch up with the ball. If a player gets in behind the Defenders early, before the Pass is Kicked, he will be ‘Offside’ IF he receives the Pass. The player may acknowledge the infraction and let up, staying out of the play and allowing it to continue. Offside is indicated by the Assistant Officials who raise a Flag to indicate the infraction. Assistant Referees run up and down the Touch Lines to stay with the play, while the Referee is on the field with the play of the game.
During the game, players are replaced. This is done at a stoppage of play and through game officials. ‘Substitutions’ are limited in number. When an Ejection occurs, a Red Card may be shown by the Referee. The player is removed from the game and that team plays with one player less for the rest of the game. Often only a Warning is made and a yellow card may be shown.
A FIFA tie game is decided by playing 2 fifteen minute overtime halfs - both to their completion. If the game is tied after Full Overtime, then it goes to a Penalty Kick Shootout event. Each team selects 5 of its best Penalty Kick Shooters and one at a time, alternating team to team, each shooter faces the opponent Goal Keeper from the Penalty Mark where no other player can be near. The Goal Keepers really have very little chance to stop the shots, but, may guess right and stop 1 or 2 - owing to some indication inavdertantly given by the Shooter. Each attempt is scored and the team with the most Penalty Kick Goals in the Shootout Wins the Game - adding 1 Goal to the Official Score. If still tied after 5 attempts each, then the event continues, 1 at a time, until a Goal is scored and unaswered by the opponents.
The World’s Sport is Soccer! being very popular in most regions. Simple to play, with nearly no equipment - a makeshift ball and any objects to create a Goal - Soccer is Majestic at the professional level with ball control skills that dazzle and explosive shots reaching 90 mph. A Goal can happen at any time, while control and possession are maintained to dominate the game. Professional Soccer players are extremely athletic, having the stamina to play on a large field for 45 minutes at a time, while striking at the Goal, with speed and agility only seen for brief instances in other sports. Soccer really is “The Beautiful Game”.
The Indoor Soccer Game
The MISL is Indoor Soccer played in an Ice Hockey Arena and has adopted many Hockey rules and styles of play, as a result. The much smaller and contained field alters the flow of the game - from ‘The Game of Soccer‘. The ‘Indoor Game’ incorporates ’2 Minute Penalties’ and ’Player Line Changes’ while maintaining Soccer rules and procedures. The ’Playing Field’ is 200 feet long and 85 feet wide with a perimeter wall and plexi-glass containment boundary on top. This boundary is inbounds and balls bouncing off of them are in Play. It encloses the ’Touch Lines’ and ‘Goal Lines’ with rounded corners. All the Lines are White, except the ‘Shootout Lines‘, which are yellow. All the ’Marks’ and posts are preferred red, but, could all be white. The ’Centre Mark’ has a 15 foot circle around it. There are Yellow Shootout Lines 50 feet from each ’Goal Line’ and has a centred ‘Shootout Mark’ for break-away Penalties. The Goal, centred on the Goal Line, is two posts 14 feet apart with a cross bar between them - 8 feet above the floor. There is not a Goal Area. There is a ‘Penalty Area’ 30 feet wide and 20 feet out with a ‘Penalty Mark’ centred in front of the Goal: from which a 15 foot radius forms an arc that joins the two 20 foot lines - shaped like a Basketball Key. The Penalty Area includes the area inside the Goal - minimum 5 feet deep. There is a ‘Free Kick Mark’ at the top of the arc. The 3 foot tall ‘Corner Flag‘, mounted on top of the perimeter wall, is placed at a point, on the arc of the wall, 20 feet from the Goal in each corner. The Corner Mark is placed 3 feet inside the perimeter wall - perpendicular to the Corner Flag. ‘Touch Lines’ are from Corner Mark to Corner Mark along, and parallel to, each Perimeter Wall. A large Mark, 12” by 2”, is located on the Perimeter Wall dasher board, 15 feet from the Corner Mark - toward the Goal. The Referee’s Crease is an arc with a 15 foot radius from a point where the ’Halfway Line’ meets the Perimeter Wall. The ‘Assistant Referee’ will stand on the Halfway Line outside the Perimeter Wall with the ’Time Keeper’, or ‘4th Official’. The ‘Penalty Boxes’ are to either side of the Officials with a ‘Penalty Box Attendant’ in each. The ‘Player Benches’ are on the opposite side of the field and all boxes, also the Playing Field, are enclosed with plexi-glass on top of the Perimeter Walls.
The Playing Surface is artificial turf like carpet and is coloured green. The ‘Game Clock’ counts down with the ‘Referee’s Watch’ and it controls the ‘Time Penalties’. Normally, there are 6 players per team on the field - including the ‘Goalkeepers’ - , but, Penalties could remove up to two players from each side, at a time, leaving only 4. There are unlimited ‘Substitutions’. Players can substitute each other, while the play continues, if they remain behind the Touch Line until the players leaving the field are off. ‘Guaranteed Substitutions’ occur whenever play is stopped and have 15 seconds to complete. Coaches and Staff are not allowed onto the field during the play and Goalkeepers are not permitted to be Captains. Referee’s rulings are not to be challenged and could result in a ‘5 Minute Misconduct’ penalty, as is entering the Referee’s Crease while it is occupied. Injured players must wait for a Guaranteed stoppage to return. Misconduct Penalties do not create a ‘Power Play’ as the player is sent to the Penalty Box, but, does not cause a position reduction. A Power Play is an advantage in player strength as the ‘Offenders’ have players sent off to the Penalty Box - this occurs on ‘2 Minute Penalties‘, only. There are 2 Referees, 1 Assistant Referee, and 1 Time Keeper - the 4th Official. Blue cards are shown for a 2 Minute Penalty and create an Advantage situation, where the Referee does not stop the play immediately, but, allows it to continue, holding the Blue or Yellow card in a raised arm, until the ball is touched by the offending team. If a Goal is scored in this time, against the Penalized team, the Penalty is erased. If a Time Penalized team is scored upon, during the Advantage to the opponent, the player comes out of the Penalty Box to continue play. Yellow cards are for Warnings and can produce 2 Minute Penalties. Red cards are for Ejections. Two Minute Penalties are assessed for Boarding, for 3 Misconduct Penalties and for 4 Two Minute Penalties - each and every 4 - a player receives in a Half. Also, 2 Minute Penalties are given for when a player Does or Attempts to; Strike, Elbow, Hold, or Spit at another player. Spitting is also an immediate Ejection. A player changing, must not touch the ball first, after a ‘Corner Kick’ or a ‘Kick In‘. Balls over the glass are Kicked In from behind the Touch Line. Corner Kicks are taken from the Corner Mark and are for balls out of bounds between the Flag Posts.
The Game is 60 Minutes Stop Time. Four 15 minute Quarters with a 15 minute Halftime and 3 minute breaks between Quarters. Time starts with a touch on the ball. A 60 second ‘Official Time Out’ occurs after the Time Clock counts down past 8:00 in each Quarter. Ties are resolved by 15 minute ‘Sudden Death’ Overtime Periods. The game starts, and restarts after a Goal or Quarter, by a ‘Kick Off’ from the Centre Mark: a Touch Ball sent to the opponents - not back to own side. The Home team always starts by Kicking Off to the Visitors and decides which end to start defending. The ball is to be put in to play within 5 seconds of the stoppage whistle. Illegal plays (Offside) are: 3 Line Pass, where the ball is kicked to a team mate over the Halfway Line and both Shootout Lines; and a 2 Line Pass where the Goalkeeper Kicks the ball over the Halfway Line and either Shootout Line - the Goalkeeper may Throw the ball from the Penalty Area to anywhere on the Playing Field. New Rules being adopted for the 2006-07 season are to eliminate the 1 point Goal. This is a return to normal for Indoor Soccer, where the 1 point per Goal was incorporated about 3 seasons ago. The new rules are similar to the original format, but, have 2 Points for a score and then 3 Points for a score shot from outside a 45 foot arc around the Goal. This 45 foot Line will be new.
Essentially, Indoor Soccer is quite different, played with a Soccer Ball: on a Soccer Adapted Playing Field in the Arena. Many rules of Hockey, Lacrosse and Basketball had to be incorporated into the Game to be able to play in an arena format, but, the procedures and play of the game are maintained as Soccer.
Pro Sports Official Team Sites Soccer Page can link you with all the action, right to the Soccer source; the Professional Teams and Leagues. Their Soccer news pages will keep you up to date.