Away from the lights of football's large professional stadiums there are children in every country in the world that get their introduction to the beautiful game in their own yard. But playing with friends is not exactly similar to what you would see on television and there are a set of rules that apply to playing football as a kid; rules that apply almost worldwide and "laws" of the game almost every kid growing up playing the game will likely remember.
#1 - No Referee
It's hard enough to get some kids to volunteer to play in goal so a referee is definitely out of the question. The players are also the refs!
#2 - Whoever owns the football can decide who plays
If the kid who brought the football to the yard doesn't like you, it is very likely that you will not be able to play. Some say that's cruel, I say it's my football and I don't care!
#3 - If nobody has a football other objects will do
When you really want to play a proper football is not always necessary as other objects such as empty plastic bottles, a beer can or even a pinecone will do the trick.
#4 - The fat kid is always the goalkeeper
Perhaps it's the fact that overweight kids don't like to run, but I also remember a friend of mine say that the fat kid should play keeper because he would cover more of the goal...genius! Whatever may be the case, kids' minds work in mysterious ways, but this is pretty much a standard rule unless one of the skinny ones volunteers to go in goal.
#5 - If you are picked last, you have no hope in life
That's right, being picked last is the most devastating blow in a child's life. If you are not one of the first to be picked for a team with your friends in it, what chances do you really have of making your dreams a reality and becoming a Real Madrid player in the future.
#6 - Football stuck under a car is the worst thing ever
When the ball rolls onto the street or the parking lot and gets stuck under a car the day takes on a new shape, because retrieving it is by far the most scientific process in a child's life. First of course we got to use our short hands and legs and if we were lucky enough we would get it. If not, large sticks would sometimes be involved and in the worst case scenarios we would knock on apartment doors asking who's car it was so they could gently move it while we got our ball back.
#7 - Penalties are only awarded to a kid that swears a lot
Because there are no referees penalties are rarely awarded as the team that committed the infraction will never admit to the foul or handball in "the box". Usually a PK will be awarded to a kid that swears a lot because it then seems like he really believes he was fouled.
#8 - The match ends when players are tired (or rule #10)
There is no game clock when it comes to yard football. In most cases the match will end once everyone is absolutely exhausted. Some of you may remember the game ending once your mom called you in from the window to come eat supper, but the fact is that most of the time the game went on without you, so that doesn't count.
#9 - No matter the score "next goal" always wins
It wouldn't matter if you're leading by a score of six to one or fourteen to thirteen, once pretty much every kid agrees that their exhaustion levels are pretty high, the two teams will announce that the next goal will win the whole game; a rule that is sacred, because even if you were getting your ass handed to you the entire game, you can brag about winning even if that "next goal" went into your opponents goal by accident.
#10 - If the owner of the football gets pissed-off, it's game over
The kid that owns the football has many advantages in the yard. Aside from being able to dictate who will or will not play, everyone in the game is always very careful not to make the owner of the ball angry. If the kid who brought the football gets pissed-off it usually meant him grabbing the ball and walking out on the game with everyone else staring at each other and slowly realizing that the game will have to go on with that empty plastic bottle that's been laying on the road for the past few days.