By Dario Sala | GM of Jax Armada

With the World Cup just recently wrapping up, Fulham FC and D.C. United set to play at EverBank Field on July 26 and the Jacksonville Armada and the Real Madrid Foundation bringing player clinics to North Florida this summer, soccer is just beginning to take hold on the First Coast. Below are a few facts soccer fans need to know about the game, provided by Jacksonville Armada general manager and former professional goalkeeper, Dario Sala.


Fouls: If a team commits a foul inside its penalty area, its opponent gets a penalty kick. Serious or repeated fouls can earn a player a yellow card, while the worst receive a red card. Two yellows or one red in the same game equal ejection and a one-game suspension. Players can be suspended for getting two yellow cards across multiple matches.

Offside Rule: Players cannot hang around the opponent’s goal and wait for the ball. Picture a team’s last defender (the one closest to the goalkeeper) as an imaginary line. If an attacking player goes behind that line without the ball and before the ball has been kicked to him, he is offside, and the linesman will raise his flag.

Goal-Line Technology: For the first time, the World Cup used goal-line technology this year. The catalyst came in 2010, when referees failed to recognize an England goal during a Round of 16 loss to Germany. This time, each stadium was equipped with 14 high-speed cameras that notified officials within one second of the ball crossing the goal line. This technology is likely to crossover into other soccer leagues soon.

Advantage Rule: If there is a foul, the referee doesn’t necessarily have to stop play. If the team who committed the foul gained an advantage from the offense, the ref acknowledge the foul, but sometimes, it is penalizing the innocent team to stop play. An example of this could be when a defender deliberately handles the ball to bring it under control, but accidently deflects it to an opponent who is well placed for a shot at goal. To stop play at this moment would penalize the attacking team. In such a case, the referee would apply the so-called advantage rule and allow play to go on, thus giving advantage to the innocent team.

Tackle: This term, which many are probably accustomed to in American football, is used to describe a challenge by an opposing player who uses their feet to take the ball from an opponent. A tackle may be accompanied by a legitimate shoulder charge, but there must be no holding, pushing, tripping, elbowing or hip-checking during the challenge.


There is no need to wait four more years to enjoy “The Beautiful Game.” Pro soccer starts in Jacksonville in 2015 when Armada FC joins the North American Soccer League. Tickets are on sale now at or by calling 1.844.2.Armada.