Physics of Soccer

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The sport of soccer has played a huge part of my life since I could remember. Beginning at the age of 5, I began to play recreationally and loved it. Taking in that it was apart of my small town’s culture for everyone and their dog to play soccer, it was no question that I would begin at such a young age. However, as we grew older and players began to be weeded out or shift their focus to other sports and activities, I remained loyal to the game and played until I was 17 years old.

Being that this a sport that depends on the idea of kicking a ball into a net to get points, I wanted to dive a little deeper into the basics of how it is possible to even play this sport using concepts from physics.

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The game of soccer itself is a team sport with 11 players playing on the field for each team, making that 22 players playing at any point over the course of the game. The sport requires both mental and physical ability, as it requires skill, strategy, speed and strength. The overall purpose is to score as many points possible by kicking the ball into the opposing team’s goal, whoever has the most points by the end of the regulation time wins. Now, since Newton is known for his large part in contributing to our fundamental knowledge of physics, it makes sense that his laws would carry over into the basics of soccer.

Newton’s three laws are known as Newton’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd law. The 1st law says, an object that is free from all outside forces travels at a constant velocity, covering equal distances in equal times along a straight-line path (How Things Work). The 2nd is, an object’s acceleration is equal to the force exerted on that object divided by the object’s mass. The equality can be manipulated algebraically to state that the force on the object is equal to the product of the object’s mass times its acceleration (How). The 3rd states, For every force that one object exerts on a second object, there is an equal by oppositely directed force that the second object exerts on the first (How).

It is also vital to acknowledge that the concept of friction is a recurring element in these laws. Friction is, the force that resists relative motion between two surfaces in contact. Frictional forces are exerted parallel to the surfaces in the directions opposing their relative motion (How). As we see Newton’s 1st law applied in the sport, spectators can see that if no outside forces are applied to the ball,

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