The Saipan Tribune and NMIFA is presenting this new section to our readers who do not know much about the sport of “football” or “soccer” as we call it in the United States and its territories.
The earliest form of the game soccer, based on scientific evidence, was from a military manual dating back to the second and third centuries BC in China. England, one of the world’s most avid soccer countries has their historic roots in soccer dating back to at least the 8th century. We credit England with creating the modern rules of the games back in the 1800s. These rules were called the “Laws of the Game” and have evolved since then into what we now play.
Today, soccer is played at a professional level all over the world. Millions of people regularly go to football stadiums to follow their favorite teams, while billions more watch the game on television or on the Internet. Soccer has the highest global television audience of all sports and especially during the FIFA World Cup. According to a survey, over 240 million people from more than 200 countries regularly play soccer! If we look at the number of viewers/fans of soccer, we get 3.5 billion people. The entire world’s population is 6.7 billion. Half the world loves this game!
Here on Saipan, we are blessed with consistent sunny weather, fresh air, a green environment, and zero air pollution. We’re also glad to have the NMIFA, which stands for the “Northern Mariana Islands Football Association” which is here to develop the sport and teach the game to anyone who wants to learn.
Soccer is a very easy and fun game to play. The rules are simple, and all that’s needed is a ball and something to signify where the “goal” is. We’ll get to the terms of the game in the next article. Let’s look at some of the player positions.
Each team gets 11 players per side. The basic positions are: 1. Defenders, 2. Mid Fielders, 3. Strikers, and 4. Goalkeeper. Defenders jobs are to protect the goal from incoming strikers on the opposite team. They are the last line of defense. Mid Fielders float around the middle of the field and are good at being the first line of defense as well as getting the ball to the strikers. The strikers, or forwards, are the quickest and usually the most nimble players on the team. Strikers are responsible for moving the ball close to the opponent’s goal and “striking” the ball into the goal. Goalkeepers of course are skilled jumpers and have quick reflexes to move and protect the ball from going in the goal.
For more information or on how you can join, call NMIFA at 235-0173.