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The Laws of Soccer 101: The Players

Players are the reason we love soccer. Human athletes have always been the real attraction throughout sporting history. While the games have changed, our love of the gladiators and warriors who play them has remained intact. But in soccer, these armies of players must abide by rules.

They can only be of a certain number, and only some can act as reinforcements. Managing the laws regarding players is what coaches do, and it’s why some are paid better than others. How well would you be paid? Well, let’s see if you can answer yet another Pop Quiz Question:

Which of the following would be allowed in a standard league match according to FIFA’s Law of Soccer No. 3?

A. Fielding eleven players against eleven players with both teams receiving three substitutes.

B. Fielding seven players against eleven players with both teams receiving five substitutes.

C. Fielding seven players against seven players with both teams receiving seven substitutions.

D. All of the Above.

Well, it’s (D) of course. It could be (D) for (d)ummy by now if you don’t know it’s always (D). My point is, the rules of soccer are very flexible to your particular atmosphere. Only know 13 other guys who want to play a match? You can still make it an “official” match. Of course, if you know 13 guys who play soccer, you obviously don’t live in the US.

Law No. 3 is one of the shortest in the FIFA Book, and I think it is because it is one of the simplest. Ideally, soccer is supposed to be fair, so it should be 11 v. 11 (never more), but sometimes a scrappy team just doesn’t have enough men. The rules allow for them to go for it anyways. I like that. It reflects soccer’s ability to make minnows into great whites, and also-rans into Cinderella stories. Cinderella was a maid, and she still managed to marry up. Good for her.

And good for you for attending class today. Maybe if you pass this time, you won’t need any more summer school. Next time, we will be discussing the equipment these players use when they roam the pitch. What’s that? Doesn’t sound exciting? Well Helen, I guess you’ve never really taken the time to analyze the jockstrap in-depth, have you?

Class dismissed. Helen, see me in my office.

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