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Soccer (fútbol) was an exhibition sport in 1900 and 1904 at the Olympic Games. In 1908, it became an Olympic football tournament under the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).1 Each year thousands of new participants take to the soccer fields. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, In 2001, there were an estimated 120 million participants worldwide.2,3,4 In 2006, FIFA did a survey of 207 member associations and it is estimated that there are 265 million male and female players with an additional 5 million referees.5 Germany has the highest registered players at 6.3 million and the Unites States is second with 4.2 million and Brazil third with 2.1 million.5 The explosion of participants can be attributed to several factors. The game is fairly easy to understand, relatively inexpensive to play, and easily accessible to children (and many parents encourage the participation in soccer over more so-called dangerous sports like football and hockey).2 Because of this soccer craze, it is important for medical professionals who work with these athletes to understand the demands of the sport and how to recognize and treat commonly seen injuries.

Outdoor soccer is played on a field 100 to 130 yd long and 50 to 100 yd wide, according to the governing body, the FIFA. The goal is 8 yd wide by 8 ft high. A regulation game consists of two 45-min halves. The halftime does not exceed 15 min. In outdoor soccer, there are 11 players on the field at one time: 10 field players and 1 goalkeeper.

The soccer ball varies in circumference based on the player’s age. A size 3, 4, or 5 ball is used. Size 3 is used for 6- to 9-year-olds. Size 4 is used for 10- to 13-year-olds. The size 5 ball is the regulation size for players aged 14 to adult and professional players.6 The size 5 ball 28 in in circumference and weighs 14 to 16 oz. It is made of leather or a similar material. Uniforms consist of shorts, shirts, and cleats or turf shoes. The goalkeeper must wear a different color jersey from the rest of the team and the opponent’s team. Shin guards are the only true protective equipment that a soccer player uses.

Indoor soccer varies slightly in field or court size, time of the match, and number of players on the field at one time. Indoor soccer is played on an artificial-turf field that is 27 to 46 yd long and 16 to 27 yd wide. Boards similar to that of an ice hockey arena surround the field. The boards keep the ball in play and allow for a faster pace of the game. The goal is 10 ft wide by 7 ft high. The game is divided into two 20-minute halves with a halftime not to exceed 15 min. ...

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