UNITED STATES—Soccer and basketball are very popular in the United States, especially in schools and colleges. These sports gather huge numbers of viewers in front of TV screens (read more about TV broadcasts on Telecomasia.net). They are also team sports, played with a round ball. The winner is the one who scores more, and there are penalties for rule violations. Here the similarities between these sports end. There are many more differences, and you will learn about the main ones in this article.

Game Basics

The differences begin with the sports equipment. In soccer, the most commonly used rubber ball consists of black and white pentagons. Now the color of the ball can be any color, but we are talking about the classic version. A basketball is always orange in color, with thin symmetrical stripes around its perimeter.

Soccer is played on artificial or natural turf with special markings. In this case, the matches are usually held on the street. Basketball is played on the floor, in the gym or a special room. Moreover, the size of the field is much smaller than a soccer field.

Soccer is played by two teams of 11 people each, who try to score the ball into a fairly large goal on the ground. In this case, only the goalkeeper can use his hands. Field players use only feet or head. A basketball game is played by two teams of 5 people each, who must throw the ball into a hoop fixed on a high rack. The game is played with your hands, but you cannot kick the sports equipment with your feet.


In soccer, every goal scored is worth one point. It doesn’t matter how or from what distance it was sent into the goal, from a penalty kick, from a corner, from the penalty line, or a play. In basketball, it’s more complicated than that. There are three-point shots made from long-range, two-point shots, which are made closer to the basket, and free throws, which are scored by one point. The latter are scored while standing in place, 15 feet from the ring. Time is stopped.

Thus, in soccer, teams gain an average of 2 to 4 points per ball, while in basketball their number can be more than 150 or 200. That is why customers of bookmakers (rating of the best online operators for betting you can find on Meta.reviews) so love to bet on the total in basketball games.

Rules of the Game

A soccer match lasts 90 minutes. A soccer match is divided into two halves of 45 minutes each. The referee may decide to allow extra time (e.g. if substitutions are used or if the game is interrupted frequently). In basketball, the match is divided into 4 quarters of 10 (in European leagues) or 12 minutes (in the NBA and Chinese championships). If the teams are tied, an extra quarter (5 minutes) is usually played, called overtime. In some important soccer tournaments, there may also be overtimes (two halves of 15 minutes) and a penalty shoot-out if the teams are unable to decide the winner in regulation time.


Soccer players usually wear shirts with short (in the warm season) or long (in winter) sleeves, shorts, socks and boots with spikes, which allow players to avoid slipping on the lawn, providing better grip on the surface. Shields give additional protection. They are placed in the socks and protect the feet from the spikes on the opponent’s boots. The goalkeeper wears special rugged gloves on his hands to protect the palms of his hands from the blows of the ball flying at high speed.

Basketball players wear shorts, sleeveless jerseys, socks and trainers. No additional protection is provided.

Breakthroughs vs. Offsides

In basketball, a great opportunity to put the ball into the basket is to pass to an attacking player when he breaks forward, outruns the opposing defenders, receives the ball and scores. This is strictly prohibited in soccer. Such a position, when passing the attacker is closer to the goal than the opponent’s defender, is called offside. The linesman records this violation and the referee awards a free-kick.

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