Soccer and basketball are played at high schools and colleges throughout the United States and the world, not to mention on park and school playgrounds and professionally. Both sports provide players the opportunity to compete and reap the physical benefits that come with being physically active, but their similarities mostly end there.
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Differences exist between soccer and basketball, including ball types, field dimensions and scoring. For example, while soccer typically uses a synthetic ball with black and white pentagonal sections, basketball relies on an orange leather or composite ball encircled with thin symmetrical lines. Soccer is played on a natural or artificial grass surface of up to 125 yards long and 65 yards wide. Basketball is played on a wooden floor 94 feet long and 50 feet wide at the college and pro levels, and on a court 84 by 50 feet at the high school level.
You can score in soccer on goals and penalty and free kicks, and each goal is worth one point. Basketball scoring involves long-distance shots made from behind an arc that are worth three points while all other shots made from within the arc with the clock running are worth two points. Free throws, attempted from a line 15 feet from the basket while the clock is stopped, are worth one point.
Soccer goals are much larger than basketball goals, measuring 8 feet high and 24 feet wide at the high school, college and professional levels. Soccer goals sit on the ground at each end of the field. Basketball goals, also known as rims, are 18 inches in diameter and attached to the lower portion of a glass or wooden backboard 10 feet from the gym floor. A net is attached to the back and side of the soccer goal, while a net is attached to the lower portion of a basketball rim.
A soccer contest is known as a match, while a basketball contest is referred to as a game. A soccer match consists of two 45-minute halves, while a basketball game is made up of two 20-minute halves at the collegiate level, four eight-minute quarters at the high school level and four 12-minute quarters at the professional level. Soccer rules forbid the use of hands, except by the goalie and by field players on throw-ins. You advance the ball and attempt to score a goal primarily with the feet. In basketball, touching the ball with feet is forbidden and scoring is done using the hands.
Soccer uniforms consist of shorts and a polo-type jersey, while basketball uniforms consist of shorts and a tank-top jersey. Soccer players typically wear cleats, while basketball players wear sneakers. Soccer is typically played outdoors, with an indoor arena version also available. Organized basketball is usually played indoors, in venues such as gyms and arenas, but is also commonly played outdoors on playgrounds.
In basketball, one of the most sought-after opportunities is a fast break, which involves the offensive team pushing the ball upcourt in an attempt to score by getting ahead of the defense. In soccer, this type of offensive attack is forbidden because two defensive players must be between an offensive player, also known as an attacking player, and the goal. This rule only applies past midfield and, when violated, is known as offside. Offside is only called when the ball is played from behind, meaning offensive players cannot be offside if the ball is between themselves and the opponent's goal.
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If you dream of being an Olympic athlete, football is not the sport for you. Though football was featured in the 1932 Summer Olympics as a demonstration event, the International Olympic Committee has yet to accept football as an Olympic sport. Soccer has been a regular feature of the Olympics since 1900.
Soccer has a truly global reach; football is largely contained within North America. Soccer is like an international language that crosses cultural barriers, allowing you to share your love for the game with other fans throughout the world. Whether you are in Brazil, Burundi, Belgium or Bangkok, you find people with a common interest in soccer.
Soccer provides more opportunities to compete internationally, at amateur and professional levels. Youth teams often go on tour abroad, and individual players can train in soccer camps across the world. At the highest level, soccer also gives you the chance to represent your national team against all other nations on the planet, something that football does not offer in any comparable way.
Soccer players are less prone to injuries than football players, according to the 2006 High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The one-year study found that football players had the highest injury rate, with 4.36 injuries per 1,000 athlete exposures. Male and female soccer players had a rate of 2.43 and 2.36, respectively.