HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Friday is the home opener for Huntsville City Football Club (HCFC) marking the first time professional soccer will be played in the area, and with the debut comes a lot of questions about the sport of soccer.

What is Soccer?

The sport began in the United States in 1820, according to the U.S. Soccer, and has been played around the world for centuries. The game is played between two teams of 11 with 10 on the field and a goalie in each goal.

How long is a soccer match?

The 11 vs 11 action goes on for 90 minutes, which is broken into two 45-minute halves with a break for halftime in between.

During these 90 minutes, play is continuous, and the clock is only stopped for a serious injury. However, at the end of each half, time is added on for minor fouls called stoppage time.

What is a foul?

Fouls in soccer are similar to basketball. Players are called for a foul if they trip or push another player.

Serious fouls are marked by a yellow card being shown by the referee and ejections occur when a player is shown a red card. A red card occurs when a player is shown two yellows in one match or if a foul is serious enough to be deemed a direct red.

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What is a handball?

A handball is when a player that is not the goalie touches the ball with their hand.

What is a free kick/corner kick?

A free kick occurs after a foul or handball. The team that the penalty occurred against takes a free kick from the spot where the violation occurred.

A corner kick happens when the ball goes across the goal line and was last touched by a defending player. The team on offense then gets to take a kick from the corner of the field into the box.

What is a penalty kick?

A penalty kick happens when a foul or handball is committed by the defending team. A player from the offense gets to take a 1v1 shot against the goalie from the penalty mark which is 12 yards away.

What is the MLS Next Pro?

MLS Next Pro is a soccer league that was launched in 2022. The league is affiliated with Major League Soccer and HCFC is affiliated with Nashville SC. League officials say the league is committed to driving a new era of North American soccer by offering fresh opportunities to players, coaches, referees and sports business professionals.

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HCFC’s home opener is May 19, at Joe Davis Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Tickets for Friday’s game can be purchased here.

If you can’t make Friday’s game the entire team’s schedule can be found here.