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Soccer: Geometry of Goal-Scoring

The adult soccer goal is 24 feet long by 8 feet high, and the penalty shot, which is the shot I will be using in order to keep a constant spot, is 12 yards away from the back of the goal. The independent factors of the experiment are the different angles of the shot. Dependent factors would be the number of goals scored. The controls of the experiment are the size of the goal, soccer ball type, soccer ball size and weight, temp in the gym, kicking surface, and the method of measurement. Variables that will affect the experiment are force, speed, velocity, and most importantly, experience.

Soccer is played in over 200 countries over the world, making it the most popular sport. Over one billion fans watch the World Cup Soccer on television, which is played every four years. Soccer players run an average of six miles during every game. The United States and Canada are the only two countries that call it soccer. The first soccer games may have originated in China. The U.S has more official soccer players than any other nation in the world, almost 18 million. The first women’s soccer team, called the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA), made its first debut in 2001.

Soccer is a game that is played a lot on angles and measurements. Most wouldn’t think that angles come into play when playing soccer, they just kick it into the goal wherever they can. To make a good, precise shot, you must take into account where you are in relation to the goal, and decide what angle would be the best to aim and kick for. Where the kicker is standing in correlation to the goal plays a major factor on the difficulty of the shot. Also, if the kicker is a left or right footed kicker and what side of the goal they are on also plays an important factor.

When kicking from a side spot, compared to the goal, the desired shot area closes down the closer it is to you. The more skilled player will try to aim for a 90 kick. This is the type of kick that is referred to among soccer players as the spot where the crossbar meets the upright bar, where it makes a 90° angle, because it is much more challenging for the goalie to stop it. This kick is an important shot when determining angles and measurements.

A lot of players, depending on where they are positioned on the field, will keep their ball low and fast, and away from the goalie. Playing straight on at the goalie, in the center of the field like a penalty shot, has its advantages and also has several downsides. Playing straight on reduces the amount of angles that must be taken in, due to the fact that it is a forward shot. It also has many downsides. The goalie can now split the goal, and where the player is positioned. The kicker has much more to aim at when straight on, so therefore this is the easiest kick. As you move one way or the other, the probability of making the shot goes down. Standing facing the front of the goal is a 130° shot, so by walking towards the right would decrease the angle, making it a more difficult shot.

What part of the foot the kicker also makes a big difference. Most players that have experience with soccer will use the top of their foot, where the laces are, to direct and power the ball in. People that do not have any prior knowledge of the game will use their toes to kick it, where it is much harder to aim and keep the shot under control. The kickers in my experiment know the proper way to kick, and will kick the same way throughout.

Kicking on the laces of your foot, as most soccer players would call it, is a much more controllable and powerful type of kick. A lot of amateur soccer players will tend to kick with the tip of their shoe, by the toes, and they are much less accurate, and can only kick half the speed that others can. Also, when kicking with the laces of your foot, you can control how hard you kick the ball, and keep a handle on the speed it travels. So when doing my experiment, I will be using the laces of my foot for every shot.

When the soccer ball travels across the ground, there is a type of force working against it called frictional force. Frictional forces are always tangent to the surface. The force is opposite the direction that the ball is traveling. Physics uses the equation f=µF? for objects that slide against one another. In the equation, the frictional force (f) is equal to the normal force (F?) multiplied by the coefficient of friction (µ). The more friction there is between the ball and the field, the slower the ball will move across the field. The soccer ball receives a spin when it is struck off-center. When the ball comes into contact with a surface that has friction, the balls direction of spin is changed and a torque is applied to the ball by the off-center force.

Soccer is a game played off of skill and intelligence. I will be using measurements of distance, height, and most importantly, angles. The main thing I will be looking for in my experiment is how much angles play a role in goal scoring and where they come into play the most. Using all of the information I have found about how to kick, the proper distance away from the goal when kicking a foul shot, and the correct dimensions of the goal, I will conduct an experiment with results that are as close to a real soccer game as possible. I will not be using defenders that way I can get a better measurement of the angles I am kicking from.

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