One of the reasons for its popularity is its simplicity. You don’t need very much to play, the only real requirement is a soccer ball, along with a couple of goals (which are commonly found at parks in towns and cities around the world). For regulation soccer you have two teams of 11 people each, however if you are just interested in a friendly game you can have less or more people, depending on your specific needs.
To play soccer you will usually want a field, although you can also play soccer on a street or in an empty lot, anywhere that there is some free space available. The field is split up into halves, one half for each team with a center line. There are 11 players on each team.
Although you can set up your soccer team in different ways, one common set-up is to have the goalie (always a requirement). In front of the goalie there are 3 defensemen, also called fullbacks. In the middle of your half of the field are three halfbacks. In the front you have four forwards.
The purpose of the forward is mainly aggressive, they are the ones who try to score the goals that allow you to win the game. The halfback is sort of an everyman, a middle line of defense between the forward and the fullback who also seeks to assist with aggressive movements against the opposing team and scoring goals.
The fullback is primarily defensive, and seeks to keep the soccer ball as far away from the goal as possible. However they are not the last line of defense; this of course is the goalie. It is his job to protect the net at all costs. If the soccer ball is put into the net it counts as a point for the opposing team. This is true even if it is your own team that accidentally puts the ball in your own net (which can be a real bummer!).
One of the things that makes soccer unique is that players can only use their feet to control the ball. Only the goalie is allowed to touch the ball with their hands (unless you are doing a throw-in). If you happen to touch the ball with your hands it is considered a foul and allows the opposing team to gain control of the ball. There are various things that can occur when there is a foul, depending on the foul; direct free kicks, indirect free kicks and throw-ins.
There are many play soccer leagues around the United States. Many of these are run through local recreation centers, sometimes there are companies who offer soccer leagues. Soccer leagues exist for both children and adults. Soccer is a sport that is fun and enjoyable for people of all ages.
On the international stage the major governing body of soccer is known as FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Assocation). It is through this organization that the international FIFA world cup is played. This is widely considered to be the greatest prize in the world of soccer.