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Football in the Ardisphere

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Football (soccer) is the most widely played and watched sport in the Ardisphere. Despite this, the country has never been much of a force in international competition - thus most talented Ardispherian players tend to emigrate to play for professional teams in other countries and leagues. Nevertheless, the Ardisphere has won the Archanta Cup twice in recent times and has popular national professional and amateur leagues, under the umbrella of La Asociación Futbolista Ardesférica (AFA).

Top-level professional play is divided into 4 leagues. The highest level is called Liga Premiera, the second Liga Nacional, the next level is called Liga de Regiones, and the lowest is called Liga de Municipios (although these names aren't always an accurate description). Each season teams can be re-legated up or down based on performance.

Amateur play is focused on the 3 concurrent league systems of high-school, university and union (sindacato) divisions. There are inter-league championships each year for each of these categories that are quite popular for broadcast and attendance.

History

Football was traditionally played as an ad-hoc game by villagers or workers. There was no fixed numbers of players, referees or many rules other than no use of the hands (which also meant no goalkeepers). In 1899 a group of brick workers in Cerro y Casa decided to form a more formalised game and persuaded several other factories to form 11-a-side teams to play against each other. This was on a strictly amateur basis without referees or jerseys and the matches took place every Saturday in parks, using whatever size of more-or-less level ground the teams could occupy, with bamboo sticks for goalposts. The rivalry between factories meant that the games soon became popular amongst both prospective players and drew crowds of other workers. Naturally the civic authorities were concerned about the large crowds and rough-and-tumble nature of the matches, so the workers sent a deputation to the borough council asking them to recognise the league and allow them use of some land. Surprisingly, the delegacione not only agreed, but petitioned the mayor of the city to construct a proper football pitch. It was felt amongst the authorities that the workers were better off being occupied with sports than union politics.

By 1906 the first 'proper' team, FC Villa, had been established and set up a league with six other sides in the capital area. The main difference between this set-up and the workers' teams was the greater level of organisation - the sides all chose a colour to play in, the pitches were of regulation size and had proper goals. Five years later there were eighteen teams in the league, which hailed from all parts of the country, and the year also saw the birth of the AFA. The expansion of the railway system is a significant factor in the growth in the game; both teams and fans were now able to travel to away fixtures. It is worth noting, however, that at this time almost all players had other jobs during the week.

In 1920 the first instance of professional teams occurred, and at the same time the league system was divided into three tiers with promotion and relegation. At first only one team would move up or down at the end of a season, but in 1926 it was decided to change this to three teams in order to make the games more competitive. By this time nearly every major settlement in the country contained at least one team playing professional football, as well as the continuation of the workers' teams from the first days. It was established that professional fixtures would be played on a Saturday, and amateurs on a Sunday in order that the non-professionals could go to the big games. Already the dominant teams were FC Villa, Club Bosque, Pureland Sports Club and South Coast.

In 1954 the professional leagues were reorganised into the four-tier system that exists to the present day. The amateur leagues were divided into a separate organisation. The first overseas player in the country, Tomi Hiikanen from Karolia, was in 1955.

In the 1970s the steady exodus of Ardispheric players to overseas teams began. The restrictions on wages were a factor, but also there was a feeling that the domestic league had begun to stagnate, with the top four teams unassailable and games lacking in pace and spectacle. There was also a perceived problem with hooliganism, which was exaggerated in the media but put many people off the sport. During the 1986-1987 season, things got particularly bad and many matches were played with no spectators in response to riots and fights between groups known as 'gankos' (the word is clearly a Gohangukuan corruption of gang but it is unclear if this was coined by the trouble-makers themselves or by the media), most notably the night of 23rd September 1986 in which hooligans caused considerable damage to a suburb of Phoenix, Mecyna during and after an Archanta Champions' League match. This earned the entire country a year-long ban on supporters travelling abroad to matches, although it did not stop large numbers of Karolian fans from buying up the spare tickets and travelling to watch games that featured several of the same players they saw playing in their own league every weekend. In addition, the national team had hit an all-time low, failing to qualify for tournaments and with few star players actually located in the country. Due to this, in response to the ban on travelling to foreign fixtures, fans would simply chant 'Es demasiado tarde - todos hemos ya ido ('It's too late - we've all gone already').

A subsequent concerted effort to create a more family-friendly image has had some success and Ardispheric football has been able to lose some of its stigma since then. Better enforcement against known troublemakers and promotion of university and womens' leagues has given a different image to the game which has in turn created a new generation of fans. In recent times fortunes have also improved somewhat for the national team. Although they have only progressed from the group stages once the World Cup, they did win the Archanta Cup twice, the first time in somewhat controversial circumstances. However, trouble relating to hooliganism has occasionally reared its head, most notably when a ganko attached to Club Bosque caused extensive fire damage to Estación Calle 123 after a heavy defeat. Although charges were brought against fifteen individuals, police could only positively identify around a third of the gang involved due to fear of coming forward amongst witnesses. It is thought that the ganko culture is today part of a large criminal empire related to the drugs trade within and beyond the capital.

Governing body

The Asociación Futbolista Ardesférica (AFA) oversees all organised football in the country. The Divisione Professionale runs professional leagues whilst the Divisione Sportif organises amateur and university/school leagues.

International

The Federation fields both men's and women's teams in international matches, but have not made much of an impact in their history, tending to get through qualifying reasonably easily and then fail to progress in the finals.

Men's Team

The first Ardispheric national team was fielded in 1912 for a match against Karolia. This team was actually made up entirely of Karolian descendants from around El Cabo for the match and was not intended to exist as an ongoing squad, but created the Squadra Nacionale as an idea. The country next fielded a more 'official' team for the Geolympiad in 1914 and it was on this occasion that the white colour of the home jersey was established. The men's team have qualified for the OGFIFA World Cup every time it has been held apart from 1954, 1978 and 1990 but have never finished better than the fourth place of 1934. They have however won the Archanta Cup twice in recent times in 1988 and 2004. The first occasion was highly controversial, as the team only progressed from the group stages due to goal difference from a last-minute goal which was scored after the indicated amount of stoppage time had already been played. They then won the final on penalties after their opponents, Ismikk, were denied a sudden-death goal in extra time after the ball bounced off the bottom of the crossbar too fast for the referee to see it had gone in and been punched out by their keeper, clearly shown in the subsequent video replay. In 2004 the team won in a less dramatic but more convincing style after appointing an

Competitive record

Year Tournament Finished Notes
1934 World Cup Fourth place
1938 World Cup Second round (3rd in group)
1942 World Cup First round
1946 World Cup Second round (4th in group)
1950 World Cup Second round
1954 World Cup Did not qualify
1958 World Cup First round
1962 World Cup First round
1966 World Cup First round
1970 World Cup Second round
1974 World Cup First round
1978 World Cup Did not qualify
1982 World Cup First round
1986 World Cup Second round (round of 16) This was the first year 32 teams started the finals
1990 World Cup Did not qualify
1994 World Cup First round
1998 World Cup First round
2002 World Cup Second round
2006 World Cup First round
2010 World Cup First round
2014 World Cup First round

Men's National Squad

Name Number Position Club
Paulo Mendoza 1 GK Vasantan Template:Karolia
Santinos 2 DF FC Villa Luciano Flag FA.png Ardisphere
Gwynwn 3 DF
Jong-Sin Hu 4 DF Säntjana Linna Template:Karolia
La Santos 5 DF
Damián Armoni 6 DF Athletic Morros Template:Balonis
Castellos 7 MF Club Bosque Luciano Flag FA.png Ardisphere
Santa Rosa 8 MF
Suan Jiantong 9 FW
Herro Vitara 10 FW
Chi do Chang 11 FW
Dyffid Ynis 12 MF
Tanga 13 GK
Torrielles 14 MF
Jiang 15 DF
Zaiqaf 16 MF
del Angelos 17 FW
Riccardo del Suo 18 DF Nacional Template:Brasonia
Juan Cantallara (C) 19 MF FC Olimpia Template:Brasonia
Santjana 20 DF
Patriciya 21 DF
Han Wu 22 FW
Wynn 23 GK

Women's Team

The Squadra Nacionale del Donnas was formed in 1984 as part of a growing interest in women's football in the country. Given the shorter period of existence, the women's team can be said to have been more successful than the mens, reaching the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup three times and the semis once. One difference which is often cited as a reason for the better track record is that the majority of players compete in domestic teams rather than overseas.

Competitive record

Year Tournament Finished Notes
Women's World Cup Group stages

Women's National Squad

Name Number Position Club
Sal Parmenidesa 1 GK
Rebecca di Cabanos 2 DF
Xi Shan Qo 3 DF
Qabal'lija 4 MF
Pauletta Hernandez (C) 5 DF
Lagos 6 DF
Ingles 7 MF
da Carolia 8 MF
Caballa 9 FW
Santamaria 10 FW
Shangi 11 FW
Shi-Zhe Yang 12 GK
Torres 13 MF
Lywellyan 14 DF
Tai 15 DF
Yushang 16 MF
Boruqawahi 17 DF
Keski 18 MF
Torung 19 FW
Castelliana 20 DF
Almedea 21 DF
22 FW
23 GK

Colours

The national teams play in a home strip of white shirt and shorts with green detailing and green socks, and away strip of green with white shorts and detailing and green socks. If a third kit is required it is usually gold. Fans are often seen wearing green and white striped scarves.

Hall of Fame

Professional Leagues

Liga Premiera

There are currently 16 teams in the highest level of play in the Ardisphere.

Template:Incomplete list

Rank Logo Name City Stadium (map) Sponsor Notes
1 logo Club Bosque (los "Verde Killers") Villa Constitución, DF Estadio Bosque Occidental (map) PetroSphere
2 logo Hill & House Boys Isla Huidobro, DO (Cerro y Casa) Estadio de la Isla (map) fifu.fa
3 logo FC Villa Villa Constitución, DF Estadio Nacional (map) [[]]
4 logo Deportivo Riograndense Villa Constitución, DF Estadio Riograndense (map) [[]]
5 logo Pureland Sports Club Jeongto-si, CC 퓨를랜드 스포츠 클럽 (map) [[]]
6 logo Parnaso Suburbano Estadio Suburbano, DC Estadio Suburbano (map) [[]]
7 logo South Coast El Cabo, DS South Coast Football Stadium (map) [[]]
8 logo Atlético Parameño Comala, DP Estadio Cañones ([ map]) [[]]
9 logo FC Gojangú (Tiger Boys) Goyang-si, CC (Jeongto) 후랑이경기장 (map) [[]]
10 logo Universidad Ortólica Palmeras Grises, DS Estadio Universitario (map) [[]]
11 logo Cowboy Club Albañiles, DO Estadio Club (map) [[]]
12 logo Strangers FC Ynys Dieithriad, GC Stadiwm o Ddieithriaid (map) [[]]
13 logo Greensea Junior Playa Concreta, DB (Capital Boreal) Estadio Marverde (map) [[]]
14 logo Cartógrafos Ciudad Cartográfica, DL (Dos Lagos) Estadio Marverde Sur ([ map]) [[]]
15 logo Atlético Peligro Volquete Volquete, DC Estadio de Universidad Volquete (map) Licores Don Tañan
16 logo FC Torre de Ladrillo Torre de Ladrillo, DC Estadio de Ladrillo (map) [[]]

Liga Nacional

There are currently 14 teams in the second-highest level of play in the Ardisphere.

Template:Incomplete list

Rank Logo Name City Stadium (map) Sponsor Notes
1 logo El Tanque Maquinópolis, DL Estadio Trabajadores ([ map]) [[]]
2 logo Swamp Thing Caracol, DS Estadio Nacional del Fangal (map) [[]]
3 logo FC Apofénicos Ciudad Apofénica, DC Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
4 logo FC Capitalinos Villa Constitución, DF Estadio Abelorio Newton (map) [[]]
5 logo FC Lagartópolis تَمسا (Lagartópolis), DP استاديُ مَسِگ(Estadio Municipal) (map) [[]]
6 logo Deportivo Americano (Beach Boys) Playa Americana, DS Estadio de la Playa (map) [[]]
7 logo Deportivo Gavilanes Ocho Fuegos, DC Estadio de Macondo y Ocho Fuegos (map) Cola Zum! team mascot is the Ardispherian Gavilán de cintoverde
8 logo FC Huambara Huambara, DS Estadio FC Huambara (map) [[]]
9 logo Crimson Athletic (홍색아틀레틱) Hongcheon-si, CC 홍천시립경기장 (map) [[]]
10 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
11 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
12 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
13 logo Universidad Graves García Capital Boreal, DB Estadio Universitario (map) [[]]
14 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]

Liga de Regiones

There are currently 16 teams in the third-highest level of play in the Ardisphere.

Template:Incomplete list

Rank Logo Name City Stadium (map) Sponsor Notes
1 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
2 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
3 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
4 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
5 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
6 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
7 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
8 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
9 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
10 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
11 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
12 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
13 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
14 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
15 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
16 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]

Liga de Municipios

Twenty teams form the fourth division of football in the country.

Template:Incomplete list

Rank Logo Name City Stadium (map) Sponsor Notes
1 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
2 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
3 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
4 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
5 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
6 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
7 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
8 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
9 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
10 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
11 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
12 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
13 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
14 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
15 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
16 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]

Amateur Leagues

División Universitaria

This consists of two divisions and is open to all universities and similar institutions in the country. Players must be currently enrolled in a course of study at the instituion.

Template:Incomplete list

Rank Logo Name City Stadium (map) Sponsor Notes
1 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
2 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
3 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
4 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
5 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
6 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
7 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
8 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
9 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
10 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
11 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
12 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
13 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
14 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
15 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]
16 logo [[|]] , FS (, FS) Estadio X ([ map]) [[]]

División de Liceos

This is a three-tier league for high-school teams. See main article for listings.

División Sindicalista

This is a four-tier division for adult amateurs. It is in many ways the 'original' Ardispheric league due to the workers' team origins of organised football in the country.

See Also