The domestic association football season in countries that association football is played around the world varies in length and time of year contested. Most employ a single period in which the main league competition is contested alongside any cup competitions, although many Latin American leagues have two competitions contested in one season under the Apertura and Clausura system.
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.
The Apertura[apeɾˈtuɾa] and Clausura[klawˈsuɾa] tournaments is a split season format for sports leagues. It is a relatively recent innovation for many Latin American football leagues in which the traditional association football season from August to May is divided in two sections per season, each with its own champion. Apertura and Clausura are the Spanish words for "opening" and "closing". In French-speaking Haiti, these are known as the Ouverture and the Fermeture, while in English-speaking Belize, they are respectively the Opening and Closing seasons. The North American Soccer League (NASL) adopted a split season in 2013; the season is divided into a Spring Championship and Fall Championship.
As a rule, the period of the domestic football season is ultimately dictated by the weather, with most football games played on natural grass pitches which are vulnerable to freezing or becoming water-logged, although advances in artificial turf and pitch drainage/heating systems have improved pitch availability in many leagues.
Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degree to which it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the lowest level of the atmosphere, the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate is the term for the averaging of atmospheric conditions over longer periods of time. When used without qualification, "weather" is generally understood to mean the weather of Earth.
Ice is water frozen into a solid state. Depending on the presence of impurities such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it can appear transparent or a more or less opaque bluish-white color.
Artificial turf is a surface of synthetic fibers made to look like natural grass. It is most often used in arenas for sports that were originally or are normally played on grass. However, it is now being used on residential lawns and commercial applications as well. The main reason is maintenance—artificial turf stands up to heavy use, such as in sports, and requires no irrigation or trimming. Domed, covered, and partially covered stadiums may require artificial turf because of the difficulty of getting grass enough sunlight to stay healthy. Artificial turf does have its downside, however: limited life, periodic cleaning requirements, petroleum use, toxic chemicals from infill, and heightened health and safety concerns.
In countries where association football competes with other football codes that are locally more popular, the season cycle can also be dictated by the scheduling of competing codes. Major League Soccer (MLS), which began in the United States and has since expanded into Canada, has had to compete with American football from its inception, and now competes with Canadian football as well. When MLS began, most of its teams had to play in large American football stadiums that were used by teams in the NFL or college football. This led to scheduling the season to begin in spring and end in fall (autumn), which put the bulk of the season outside that of American football. Stadium conflict has now been reduced with the advent of soccer-specific stadiums. In Australia, the two most popular football codes are Australian rules football and rugby league, both of which are traditionally played in the Southern Hemisphere winter. Because all of the stadiums used by the A-League are also used for one or both of these two codes, that league chose to operate on a spring-to-autumn cycle, which placed most of its season outside those of Australian rules and rugby league.
Major League Soccer (MLS) is a men's professional soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation which represents the sport's highest level in the United States. The league comprises 24 teams—21 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada and constitutes one of the major professional sports leagues in both countries. The regular season runs from March to October, with each team playing 34 games; the team with the best record is awarded the Supporters' Shield. Fourteen teams compete in the postseason MLS Cup Playoffs through October and November, culminating in the championship game, the MLS Cup. MLS teams also play in domestic competitions against teams from other divisions in the U.S. Open Cup and in the Canadian Championship. MLS teams also compete against continental rivals in the CONCACAF Champions League.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.
The domestic season is preceded by a pre-season, in which clubs will require players to report back to the club by a set date to begin pre-season training, and will arrange pre-season friendly games toward the start of the season to improve fitness and test team formations and tactics, particularly if new playing staff have joined a club.
An exhibition game is a sporting event whose prize money and impact on the player's or the team's rankings is either zero or otherwise greatly reduced. In team sports, matches of this type are often used to help coaches and managers select and condition players for the competitive matches of a league season or tournament. If the players usually play in different teams in other leagues, exhibition games offer an opportunity for the players to learn to work with each other. The games can be held between separate teams or between parts of the same team.
In association football, the formation describes how the players in a team generally position themselves on the pitch. Association football is a fluid and fast-moving game, and a player's position in a formation does not define their role as rigidly as for, for instance, a rugby player, nor are there episodes in play where players must expressly line up in formation. Nevertheless, a player's position in a formation generally defines whether a player has a mostly defensive or attacking role, and whether they tend to play towards one side of the pitch or centrally.
There are various individual skills and team tactics needed to play effective football. Football is in theory a very simple game, as illustrated by Kevin Keegan's famous assertion that his tactics for winning a match were to "score more goals than the opposition". However, well-organised and well-prepared teams are often seen beating teams with supposedly more skillful players, even over time. Coaching manuals and books generally cover not only individual skills but tactics as well.
In many leagues, the dates of the domestic season dictate the opening and closing of a transfer window, the periods when players can be transferred.
The transfer window is the period during the year in which a football club can transfer players from other playing staff into their playing staff. Such a transfer is completed by registering the player into the new club through FIFA. "Transfer window" is the unofficial term commonly used by the media for the concept of "registration period" as described in the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Player. According to the rules, each national football association decides on the time of the 'window' but it may not exceed 12 weeks. The second registration period occurs during the season and may not exceed four weeks.
The timing of a domestic season must be coordinated with international football competitions, which can see national teams with different domestic seasons playing each other at different times in their domestic season, although this can be less significant for certain countries where their best players, and hence the bulk of their national team, do not play in their international team's domestic league programme.
The world football governing body, FIFA, which governs club as well as national football, mandates an international football calendar, whereby certain weeks in the year are reserved for national friendly and competitive matches, as well as regional club competitions. For dates which fall within a country's domestic season, league clubs are required to release any called up player for their international team a set number of days before a fixture. The date of the worldwide national team competition the FIFA World Cup is always in June/July, with the exception of the 2022 Qatar World Cup which will be played in November/December.
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association is an organization which describes itself as an international governing body of association football, fútsal, beach soccer, and eFootball. FIFA is responsible for the organization of football's major international tournaments, notably the World Cup which commenced in 1930 and the Women's World Cup which commenced in 1991.
The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.
When not specified, winter breaks are around the Christmas and New Year weeks.
Gonzalo Pineda Reyes is a Mexican retired footballer. He last played as a defensive midfielder for Seattle Sounders FC in Major League Soccer (MLS) and became assistant coach of the Sounders beginning with the 2017 MLS season.
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Club de Fútbol Pachuca is a Mexican professional football team based in Pachuca, Hidalgo, that competes in Liga MX. Founded by Cornish miners in 1901, it is one of the oldest football clubs in the Americas. After decades of mediocre or poor performances between the 1st and 2nd division, Pachuca was promoted once again to the Primera División in 1998. Since then, it has been one of the most successful clubs in Mexico, winning six national championships, four CONCACAF Champions' Cups, the 2007 SuperLiga, and one Copa Sudamericana. In 2006, Pachuca became the first CONCACAF team to win a CONMEBOL tournament. Pachuca was one of the founding members of the Mexican Primera División.
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