Soccer

How To Wash A Soccer Jersey

How to wash a soccer jersey
  • Separate your Jerseys into Whites, Lights, and Darks.
  • Use a cold water setting in your washing machine because hot water could damage the jersey logo and branding.
  • Avoid quick wash and dry settings because this may shrink your soccer jersey.
  • Little extra care and effort can go a long way to keep your jersey in good condition, especially if your jersey has sentimental value to you.

   Your Guide

Alex Waite   Alex Waite

If you are an amateur soccer player, you will have the UNENVIABLE task of washing your used soccer jersey at some time or another.

Or perhaps you are a coach and need to wash jerseys for your entire team.

Washing a soccer jersey may seem like a straightforward task. But, one wrong step can lead to disaster. 

When I was growing up, my family was soccer mad. My siblings and I played for various soccer clubs, and my dad was a coach of different teams.

Consequently, we often had many frowsy soccer kits scrunched up in duffle bags lying around the house, ready to be washed for the weekend. 

While things usually went smoothly, there were occasional MIX-UPS, particularly for old, worn tops. Ripped jerseys, color mix-ups and shrunken clothes were common when we rushed washing our soccer jerseys. 

Soccer kits can usually be replaced if these errors happen.

However, some soccer enthusiasts may own prized or lucky soccer jerseys that are more sentimental. If these are washed incorrectly and subsequently damaged, then they can be irreplaceable.

Taking the time to wash a soccer jersey properly can save time and money. In this article, we share a step-by-step guide on how to clean a soccer jersey. 

Keeping Your Soccer Jersey in Great Shape: A Step by step Washing Guide

By taking the correct steps to prepare, wash and dry your soccer jersey, you will be able to get it looking FRESH and crisp for your next match or practice session. 

The guide below will guide you through washing a soccer jersey correctly to keep it looking as clean as possible. 

1) Shake off any mud or debris:

After finishing a match on a wet, wintery day or following a hot training session, the last thing you will be thinking about is washing your soccer kit.

So, before you chuck the jersey straight in the washing machine, take it out of the bag and give it a quick brush down, getting rid of any excess dirt or debris.

This will help with stain REMOVAL and will not sink any loose mud or dirt into the fabric.

2)Avoid a Mish-Mash of Colour:

Unless you want to emulate Juventus, Manchester United or Real Madrid of recent years and have a bright pink kit for the season, separate your jerseys into whites, lights, and darks…

…Many soccer jerseys are made from synthetic fibers, which run more in the washing machine.

To prevent the colors from BLENDING and mixing together, separating them is key to maintaining the natural color of the jersey.

If you are washing jerseys that are all the same color, you do not need to separate them. 

3) Time for a Spin:

Once you have carefully PREPARED your jersey to be washed, it is time to get it sparkling clean in the washing machine. If possible, use a high-quality detergent and a cold water setting.

Hot water makes the colors in synthetic materials run, and it can also cause damage to logos, branding and weakens the integrity of the jersey.

In the past, I have also used a quick wash and dry setting.

Avoid this!

It may shrink the soccer tops and could prove costly to replace them.

If you are washing one jersey, doing a light wash by hand is more effective, and you can scrub any tough stains or marks. This is a more careful way of cleaning special jerseys that may have sentimental VALUE.

4) After Care:

Your jerseys are out of the washing machine, smelling good and looking match-ready, but they are not quite finished just yet.

To avoid any long-term damage or peeling sponsor logos, ensure you do not expose the jersey to INTENSE heat.

Drying a soccer jersey in the sun is a good idea, but you can cover it with thin material to avoid too much heat penetrating the fabric.

Also, try to avoid ironing or using the dryer setting when cleaning your jersey.

This is likely to PEEL off any logos or designs, and it will avoid shrinking the jerseys. 

Conclusion

If you play for a soccer team, you may have a top with a special number and your name printed on the back.

Alternatively, you may have a VINTAGE jersey representing your passion for your favorite soccer team. Ultimately, however much you do not want to, you will have to wash your jersey.

When I played soccer as a kid, the number nine jersey was mine. I was inspired by the great strikers of the 1990s.

Brazilian legend Ronaldo, Andy Cole and Filippo Inzaghi gave me the drive to claim the number nine shirt as my own. After two seasons of wear and tear and mud stains, I kept the shirt, and I still have it today.

The reason I have kept it in good condition for so long comes down to a little extra care and effort.

Washing and keeping a soccer jersey pristine does not take a huge commitment, just some additional attention to detail. 

How to Break in Soccer Cleats

How to Break in Soccer Cleats

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

During one off-season, I saved up for a new pair of cleats ready for the upcoming season.

I put all my hard-earned cash towards brand new Adidas Predators, thinking I would instantly start playing like the 90s and 00s soccer icons David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane.

In reality, after the first pre-season training session, I had small blisters that were slightly painful. I was in denial; it couldn’t possibly be the cleats after I had invested so much in them.

I persisted with Predators, but the blisters got larger and more painful. Then, to add insult to injury, I injured the sole of my foot too!

I was sidelined for two weeks. Looking back, I did little research on my cleats, took them out of the box almost straight away and started using them. In hindsight, this was a huge mistake!

Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that without preparation and a break-in period, even the most expensive, best quality cleats around can cause you harm.

In this article, we share some of the best tips on how to break in soccer cleats. We will also look at some of the top tips to avoid injury when purchasing new cleats.

Soccer cleats are likely to be your most important and most expensive purchase when playing soccer. But they can also be the most painful.

If soccer cleats are not broken in properly and not given enough care, your feet will suffer. You could also lose money a lot of money by not breaking in an expensive pair of cleats.

How to Break in Soccer Cleats

Breaking in soccer cleats is a process of four main steps. It begins with researching your preferred cleats, purchasing the right size, taking them for a trial and slowly wearing them in.

Below are the four steps required for a seamless breaking in period for your soccer cleats.

Remember, taking time to get your choice right is part of the process that will save you time, money and prevent injury.

1) Research For Your Perfect Pair of Cleats

Before outlaying hundreds of dollars on a great pair of cleats, take time to investigate the right fit for you.

Ask questions about whether you have a slim or wide foot?

Do you play in dry or wet conditions for most of the season?

Will you play on grass, 3G or astroturf surface?

Do you wear strapping around your ankle and feet?

This initial step ensures you are prepared to look for what suits you and your game best and not necessarily the most popular cleats available.

2) Get the Boots size right

Choosing perfect fitting cleats helps players to avoid injuries and aids performance. New cleats should be snug on your feet, but with a little space between your toes and the toe of the clears.

There is some debate about whether to choose bigger or smaller sized cleats than your sneaker size.

However, feel is the most important factor rather than size. A cleat that is too loose will cause less control and discomfort.

A too-small cleat will rub, be less breathable, cause friction and lead to injury.

Professional soccer players famously wear boots a size or two smaller than their sneaker size to improve touch and contact with the ball. But this leads to serious injury and severely damaged feet.

3) Test Drive your soccer cleats

You wouldn’t buy a new car without taking it for a test drive around the block to make sure it doesn’t break down, so do the same with soccer cleats!

Try some typical soccer movements in your new cleats; jogging, sprinting, jumping, turning quickly, kicking, controlling etc.

This will help to get a better feel and judgement on the cleats before you commit to them. This is also where you could realise that the cost of your cleats may not be worth the comfort.

4) Alternate training sessions In your new cleats

Once you’ve settled on your cleats, try them for one training session, or even half a session if possible.

This time allows your feet to adapt to the leather on the boot and get used to the sole. Over time, boots will fit seamlessly after three or four sessions.

5) Don’t Rush!

Taking time is essential when breaking in soccer cleats. Rushed decisions to wear boots straight out of the box for a 90-minute game will cause problems for players at any level.

 Be diligent in your decision making, then you will be rewarded with well-fitting, comfortable and high-performing soccer boots.

Insider Tips

The steps above are a fundamental guide to breaking in soccer cleats. Following this process should help with injury prevention and add comfort over time.

However, there are further steps you can take when breaking in cleats if you want to speed up the process.

There is no substitute for taking time and being detailed when breaking in soccer cleats. But some soccer emergencies may require more drastic action.

In the past, I’ve been aware that my old, trusted boots were on the verge of ripping apart in a match.

I took a spare, cheaper pair with me in case of breakage to my old boots. But the demands of playing and training multiple times a week meant I had little time to properly break in my new cleats.

In one match, my old boots ripped along the seam and exposed my foot. With no alternative, I had to get my new pair on for the remainder of the match.

To prevent damage to my feet and my new boots, I used some of the quick fixes below.

  • Use petroleum jelly: By rubbing a little petroleum jelly to the outside and inside of your cleats, you add another layer of protection for your cleats. It also binds the leather more quickly, speeding up the breaking in process.
  • Tape your feet: Support tape and protection gel packs are now readily available that soccer players can apply to their feet. Wrapping tape or gel packs to heels, toes and around the soles of feet absorbs some pressure when playing soccer. Ensure you have played with tape and gel packs before using them in a game. Otherwise, it can feel very unnatural and affect performance.
  • Wet boots before use: Wearing your boots and wetting them in warm water for 15-20 minutes can speed up the breaking in process. This helps the leather to soften, making cleats more supple on your feet. Only do this with leather boots as warm water can damage synthetic materials.

Conclusion

All soccer players want a reliable, good quality pair of soccer cleats. Once you are comfortable with your cleats and you have broken them in, you won’t want to change.

After my Adidas Predator disaster, I have always taken time to get my soccer cleat choice right and committed time to effectively break them in.

I now stick with the same pair of boots for years and only upgrade when my old boots break or are too worn to use.

In my view, this is a good investment in both my wallet and in my feet. I know what style cleats help me perform at my best, and I know that I’m getting value in my purchase.

Ultimately, there may be times where you will have to rush the breaking in process for soccer cleats. But only use these tricks as a last resort.

Getting an Extra Edge: How to Increase Stamina in Soccer

How to Increase Stamina in Soccer

  Your Guide

Alex Waite

Alex Waite

Playing soccer at any level requires different physical skills; balance, speed, strength, timing and stamina. All has its place in the sport, and working on each is key to becoming a better all-around soccer player.

Having the stamina to play competitive soccer is essential. When I first started playing soccer, I would start the match like a whirlwind running everywhere, closing players down, tackling, shooting, passing, blocking, trying to do everything.

But, at the same time, in every match, I would feel myself tiring around the 60 to 70-minute mark. My legs felt like lead, I struggled to make easy passes, and I would eventually get subbed off. 

Like most soccer players, I had to improve my stamina and learn how to control my energy levels for 90 minutes.

To address this problem, I had to take part in extra training sessions to improve. But it wasn’t just about more jogging and running; the practices were more detailed and more scientific than just being able to run for 90 minutes. 

In this article, we will look at why stamina is central to becoming a good soccer player. We will provide plenty of tips to improve your stamina in soccer. 

How to Increase Stamina in Soccer? 

Increasing stamina for soccer is best achieved through endurance and HIIT training.

These two training practices are high intensity and recreate lots of the movements used in soccer matches. 

HIIT and endurance training exercises also improve cardiovascular circulation. This is especially important for soccer players as improved circulation sends more oxygen to the muscles for long periods, improving stamina. 

Both these exercises are also used by elite and amateur teams in soccer because they use quick burst training of sprinting and covering ground quickly. There have been several studies showing how HIIT training, in particular, improves stamina in soccer. 

A 2011 article from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed improving oxygen uptake in teenage soccer players following a five-week HIIT programme.

HIIT programmes have become more widely used in the past decade by professional teams worldwide, showing their effectiveness on player performance.

What is HIIT Training?

HIIT training (High-Intensity Training) is a set of exercises that changes between short-burst activities, usually two to three minutes at 90% to 100% performance.

These are broken up with a slower recovery period at reduced performance before repeating the cycle several times. HIIT training in soccer can be done with or without the soccer ball. 

In the video below, England and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson goes through a set of HIIT training. His position in central midfield requiring lots of stamina in soccer due to covering most of the pitch during a match. 

What is Endurance Training? 

Endurance training is a continuous exercise practised at 60% to 70% performance for a medium period between a few minutes and 30 minutes.

This could be jogging, swimming or cycling. Endurance training can also increase strength and muscle mass through exercises like sit-ups, press-ups etc.  

However, some endurance training routines can be adapted specifically for the changing pace required in soccer.

For example, different length and speed sprinting drills can be used. Exercises, where you change direction quickly, are also effective. 

Nike Academy performance director Jon Goodman goes through several endurance exercises players perform when building stamina in pre-season. He also explains how these practices can be adapted for different level soccer players. 

Make Stamina Training Fun

Often, we see elite level athletes in many sports taking their stamina training very seriously, a bit like Rocky training montage, where he runs up hundreds of steps, stone-faced to the Eye of the Tiger. 

Of course, for elite level athletes, this physical work is to gain an extra few per cent in their performance. However, in more semi-professional and amateur levels, stamina training can be more light-hearted. 

Usually, pre-season is when players step up their stamina and fitness drills to get ready for the new season. For me, this was one of the most enduring, repetitive and boring parts of the season. 

However, one of my former coaches made fitness training fun in so many ways by making small tweaks to our sessions.

To make stamina training more enjoyable, try some of the tricks below. They will help with improving stamina in soccer and can be done individually or with teammates.

1) Use a deck of cards

Making rules for each card or suit is a great way to add some fun to stamina training. Lower ranked cards could equal the number of reps or sprints, while picture cards could be more or fewer reps.

For example, the two diamonds could be high knees for 30 seconds, or the 10 diamonds could be high knees for three minutes.

The element of chance makes training more exciting, and it’s great for a bit of team bonding early in the season. 

2) Use dice ​

For this game, you will need two dice. One can set the number of reps of sets a player does, the second can select a player’s exercise.

For example, a six on dice one could be shuttle sprints, and a four on dice two could equal four sets of shuttle sprints.

Better yet, get teammates to roll for each other to increase team bonding and cohesion.

3) Team up, make it a competition 

A bit of friendly competition can improve stamina and morale in soccer. Competing against a teammate or against yourself to improve times or the number of reps adds the element of fun and determination to improve. This could get an additional 10% out of players and individuals during stamina practice. 

Why is Stamina Important in Soccer?

Stamina is important in soccer because it helps players perform at the top of their game for 90 minutes.

Sometimes, when watching professional soccer, you may see players late in the game start to misplace passes, sprint less or lose half a yard of pace. This is because they are tired, fatigue has set in, which is affecting their performance. 

Stamina in soccer means covering ground quickly (closing down opponents, tracking players back, chasing the ball when attacking).

Players also have to cover long distances by jogging back into position for a goal kick or by shuffling side to side when out of possession.

Different player movements and pace changes throughout a match mean they have to manage energy levels for long periods.

Elite soccer players often run over 10 kilometres per match, with Wolves’ Leander Dendoncker covering a record 13.21 km in one match during the 2019/20 Premier League season. 

In Summary

Improving stamina in soccer is just as important as practising technical skills. Managing fitness levels and building stamina can provide an edge during competitive matches. 

HIIT and Endurance training are the best ways to improve stamina in soccer. These practices can be done either individually or as a team, and they improve cardiovascular circulation, which provides more oxygen to the muscles, keeping them going for long periods. 

However, it is important to try and make these training routines fun. Often, the training you do without the ball can be the most boring.

Whether you are training by yourself, with partners, or with teammates, try adding some entertainment to your stamina training.

Who knows, if you are not already you may start to enjoy the sprints and long-running sessions over time!

What Is a Nutmeg in Soccer

What is a Nutmeg in Soccer

Like many soccer terms, the nutmeg can cause some confusion among soccer fans or beginner players who are learning the sport.

In this article, we explain what a nutmeg is and explore the origin of the term. We also highlight some of the greatest Nutmeggers in world soccer. 

What is a Nutmeg?

A nutmeg in soccer is when a player intentionally kicks the ball through another players legs. 

There are many situations when a nutmeg happens in soccer. For instance, a striker could shoot through a goalkeeper’s legs into the goal, or a midfield player could play a pass to their teammate through an opponent’s legs.

However, the most common situation for a nutmeg is when an attacker takes on a defender in an advanced position. Usually, the attacker will kick the ball through the defender’s legs, run around them and receive the ball again. 

Nutmeg Is Fun

There are a lot of ways a player can gain confidence in soccer. They can score a goal, save a shot or play a great pass. But no act builds the confidence quite like a nutmeg.

On the other hand, if a player is on the receiving end of nutmeg, it can be comical.

Even as an experienced soccer player and coach, I have given and receive a few nutmegs during matches and training, and even your teammates (in a friendly way) will make fun when it happens.

Just be prepared to take a few laughs if you get nutmegged!

Why is it called a nutmeg in soccer?

There have been several explanations as to where the term nutmeg came from in soccer.

However, the most reliable comes from Victorian slang, as listed in the Oxford English dictionary that explains that the nutmeg means ‘to be tricked or deceived’ or an act that makes someone ‘look foolish.' 

The origin of the term nutmeg has been verified by etymologist Peter Seddon, who explains how the word has roots in the nutmeg trade between England and America in the 1800s.

Seddon explains how traders would steal the valuable nutmeg when transporting it. They would take the nutmeg and replace it with wood, which would 'dupe' the recipients when they opened their goods at the other end of the trade. 

Over time, different variations of the word nutmeg have emerged in world soccer. Among them are the English ‘megs’, ‘nuts’, ‘tunnel’ or the South American, ‘Panna’. 

Who is the best Nutmegger in the World?

Nutmegs are a difficult skill in any level of soccer. To do it regularly at the elite level against some of the toughest defenders is no mean feat.

Often, you will see an attacking player with flair pull off a nutmeg in elite-level soccer. 

In the 2020/21 season, soccer statistics providers FBref compiled a list of the players who completed the most nutmegs in Europe’s top five leagues. 

1. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) – 21

2. Neymar (Paris St Germain) – 18

3. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) – 16

4. Kylian Mbappe (Paris St Geramin) – 15

5. Piotr Zielinski (Napoli) – 13

How to Nutmeg

Pulling off the nutmeg takes hours and hours of practice to perfect. The best place to start is at a slow pace, passing the ball through cones placed at a narrow width. This helps with the accuracy and weight of the pass. 

Once this skill is mastered, speeding up the process comes next. Some of the best nutmeggers can execute the skill at full pace, so running with the ball with speed, then trying to pass through the cones is important.

The next step is to try and nutmeg an opponent. Again, try working at a slower pace, to begin with, then try to speed up the process as you become more confident. 

After time and practice with speed and accuracy, you can try to pull off different kinds of nutmegs.

Street footballers often toy with their opponent before slipping the ball between their victim's legs. But these players have practised the skills hundreds of times before perfecting them. 

Panna: The Nutmeg Soccer Game

Although nutmeg has been a part of soccer for centuries, it has gained more mainstream popularity in recent years. So much so that there is a tournament dedicated to all things nutmeg. 

Panna is a 1v1 or 2v2 soccer match where players score by passing the ball through an opponents legs and into a goal. Players or teams score points by either scoring more goals or by nutmegging the opponent. If a player is nutmegged, the match is over. 

Panna is played on a small pitch, or on the street in some cases, with a referee throwing the ball in to begin the play and keep score. 

Panna began in Surinam in 2007, and the game has spread across the globe. It is now most popular in the Netherlands, where multiple Panna tournaments are played each year.

Nutmeg In a nutshell

A nutmeg in soccer is when one player puts the ball through another players legs. The nutmeg is a great skill that contrasts the joy of one player at the cost of humiliation for the receiving players.

The nutmeg is more than just a piece of skill, however. It is a source of great entertainment for fans, and it gets spectators off their feet in applause.

In modern soccer, the nutmeg has grown in popularity. The nutmeg is now so popular that entire games and tournaments are dedicated to the art of the nutmeg. 

Ultimately, it is a skill that any soccer player can perfect. Taking slow steps and committing time and effort into pulling off the nutmeg is key to pulling it off. 

What Is a Set Piece in Soccer

what is a set piece in soccer

Your Guide

Alex Waite   Alex Waite

Set pieces in soccer are a big part of the game, and all aspects of set pieces require skills and execution. Attacking, defending, technique, timing and physicality are all needed for a successful set play.

They also represent opportunities for the attacking team to get further up the pitch and to potentially score.

When I played soccer my team repeated set-piece routines in training over and over. It was monotonous and almost regimental. Players were almost like chess pieces, given direct instructions on where to be and what to do.

However, the more you play the sport, the more you realise that preparation is vital to a successful set-piece. There is nothing worse than defending a set play, seeing the ball crossed in and going into your team’s net.

The different types of set play and when they occur can be confusing, as there are a few. We will look at the different dead balls situations and explain why they are called set-pieces.

What is a Set Piece in Soccer?

A set-piece in soccer refers to a situation where the ball is returned to play. This follows the ball going off the pitch for either a goal kick, throw-in or corner or when open play is stopped for a foul leading to a free kick or penalty.

Set pieces are also referred to as dead-ball situations or set plays.

Below are the five different types of set-pieces, along with an explanation about when they occur. Set pieces are referred to under Law 16 in the official FIFA Laws of the Game. 

1) Set Piece Starting From A Goal Kick

When the ball comes off an attacking team player and goes behind the goal. Play is restarted when the goalkeeper, or any player, kicks the ball from the edge of the six-yard area.

2) Set Piece From a Corner

If the ball comes off a defending team player and goes behind the goal, the attacking team gets a corner.

Corners are taken, as the name suggests, from the corner of the football pitch. They must be taken inside or on the edge of a quarter circle at each corner of the field.

Sometimes, teams will take short corners to slow the pace of a match. Alternatively, if they want to score, a cross will be whipped in from the corner spot.

3) Set piece from a Throw In

A throw-in is given when the ball goes off the side of the pitch. Throw-ins must be taken from where the ball went out of play.

Players can be punished for encroaching further than where the ball went out. Some teams practise long throws as they would corner routines.

In the late 2000s, Stoke City was renowned for its long-throw set pieces, delivered by the brute arm of midfielder Rory Delap, often leading to havoc in the penalty area.

4)Set Piece From A Free Kick

If a team is in possession and one of their players is fouled, they are given a free kick. Referees give free-kicks anywhere on the pitch, except in the defending team’s penalty area.

Often, players choose to shoot when a free kick is 30 yards or less from the goal line. Anything longer usually results in a long ball delivered into the penalty area.

5) Set Piece From A Penalty

A penalty is given when an attacking team player is fouled inside the defending team’s penalty area.

One player from the attacking team will restart play by shooting from the penalty spot, marked 12 yards from the goal line.

Penalties are a one on one situation where a player from the attacking team will take a one-off shot against the goalkeeper from the defending team.

Why is it called a Set Piece?

These situations are called set-pieces because players take up pre-planned positions on the pitch.

For example, a team may rehearse a routine for a corner kick where their tallest players line up on the edge of the box. From here, they will try to get a run on the defenders and try to jump highest and header towards goal.

As a corner is usually taken from the same distance, they can be practised more easily in training.

The same applies to penalties and even goal kick routines. Although, some teams now even practise where players will line up during penalties or rehearse where to stand during goal kicks.

Professional teams are becoming more inventive with corner kick routines. In the past, some players would simply apply a hit and hope approach, aiming the ball towards tall players in a bid for them to score a header.

Now, teams are more innovative and use clever tricks to catch out defending teams, as seen through Bundesliga 2 club Bochum and their well-rehearsed corner routine against Dynamo Dresden in 2016.

Best Set Piece takers in Soccer

Many young soccer players idolise great set-piece takers. The technique and the beauty of a well-struck free-kick goal is something to admire in any soccer match.

When I grew up in England in the 1990s, and early 2000s, my friends and I would try to recreate the free-kicks scored by David Beckham, Thierry Henry or Gianfranco Zola, who played in the Premier League at the time.

Any player at any level wants to try and score a free-kick at some stage in their career.

Being an expert set-piece means scoring from free-kicks regularly. Delivery and setting up teammates from dead ball situations elevate the best set-piece takers in the game.

You may hear stories of professional players staying behind at training to practice their free kicks, corners and penalties. All this additional effort certainly paid off for these set-piece greats.

  1. Juninho Pernambucano (Brazil) – 77 free kicks scored

  2. Pele (Brazil) – 70 free kicks scored

  3. Víctor Legrotaglie (Argentina) – 66 free kicks scored

  4. Ronaldinho (Brazil) – 66 free kicks scored

  5. David Beckham (England) – 65 free kicks scored

Conclusion

Set-pieces in soccer refer to several parts of the game; free-kicks, corners, penalties, throw-ins and goal kicks.  All set pieces are linked by one common feature. They all occur after the ball has gone out of play or after a player is fouled and mark the restart of play.

While there are some similarities, different set-pieces are very different. Varying lengths and situations have led soccer teams to practice more and more for potential threats or scoring opportunities from set pieces.

They are now seen as a central part of the game, just as keeping possession, attacking and defending are in open play.

However, one set piece captures the hearts and awe of soccer fans worldwide – the free-kick.

Seeing the ball nestle into the net after a beautifully struck free-kick is a marvel for any soccer fan, and they are moments we all remember, whether we are seasoned soccer enthusiasts or beginners.

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