Soccer is the most popular game in the world, played by approximately 250 million people in over 200 countries worldwide. It has a rich, storied history, and for those who have had no previous interest in it, it might seem obtuse and intimidating.
We've compiled a list of the most common phrases and questions you should avoid, and provided answers for each, so you can maintain a passing knowledge of the aptly-named “Gentleman’s Sport Played By Hooligans.”
“Who’s the guy dressed in black blowing the whistle?”
He's the referee and he's there to officiate the game, as well as draw attention to any incidents of sexual misconduct.
“Nobody ever scores.”
Dozens of goals have been scored in Soccer, the last of which was in 2006, during a fourth division English Football League match between Lincoln City and Grimsby Town.
“Why is this game so long?”
Because sometimes the referee forgets to blow the whistle and nobody bothers to remind him.
“What do the different cards mean?”
A Yellow Card is a misconduct warning. A Red Card means a player has been disqualified for the rest of the match. A Reverse Card means teams must switch sides and quickly score in each other’s goals.
“Why did he bunt on loaded bases with two out and three runs down in the ninth inning?”
You’re watching baseball. Change the channel.
“Do players have to wear shorts?”
According to FIFA Laws and Regulations players must wear bikini bottoms with a maximum side of seven centimeters, however teams have defied the ruling since 1997 in a show of coordinated protest.
“What happens if the ball hits the referee?”
He's allowed to pick the ball up and go home, ending the match.
“Why do they call it ‘Football’ in Europe?”
Because no European language has progressed to the point where they can describe things in abstract terms.
“Who are the guys on the sideline wearing suits?”
Those are the teams’ managers, and they have the most important job of all: handing out orange slices during half-time.
“Why don’t they just pick the ball up with their hands?”
Because the ball is sprayed with a thick coat of transdermal laxative prior to kick-off. It’s also why Goalkeepers wears gloves.
“Nobody watches Soccer in the United States.”
According to unitestatessoccerforum.net (last updated 1999), at least one guy does. His name is Terry Stanton and he lives in Coleharbor, North Dakota.
“What’s an offside?”
Goalkeepers are notoriously shy and ‘calling offside' is their way of flagging to the referee that another player has invaded their personal space.
“Why do players always flail around like they’re hurt?”
Because tripping over your own legs is embarrassing, so players are forced to act like they were tripped and have a big owie to preserve their dignity.
“Why don’t they just tackle each other to get the ball?”
Because how would you feel if someone hit you and took your shit? Not very good? Thought so.
“Maradona is a living legend.”
Maradona can't be a “living legend” because he sucks.
“Who’s the highest-paid soccer player?”
Soccer players aren’t paid in dollars, rather their payment is a job well done and the satisfaction of providing entertainment to millions of adoring fans.