Soccer – A History
Soccer is a worldwide phenomenon. Soccer teams are national celebrities in Europe and millions of people tuned in for the most recent Soccer World Cup. Just where did this sport come from, and why has it taken the world by storm?
The earliest recorded soccer game took place in the 2nd and 3rd years BC in China. A military manual details a training game which involved kicking a leather ball into a net. Players had to withstand their opponents and were forbidden from using their hands.
The Romans played Harpastum, where players strived to kick a ball past the opposing team. It was quite different from modern soccer, but spectators loved it and relished cheering on their team and keeping score.
Soccer-or football-has been popular in Great Britain since the 8th century AD. Regional contests were intense and played between different villages and towns.
Players kicked their opponents as often as they kicked the ball in these competitions! The games had unlimited numbers of players and were played in the streets and town squares. The ball was made of anything available, from a pig’s bladder to a leather ball stuffed with straw. Games could be so violent that they were at one time banned by the King of England!
England was the birthplace of modern soccer when more civilized versions of soccer became popular in English schools in the 1820s. Each school came up with its own rules and met with other schools for competitions.
The Football Association was created in 1863 and provided rules and regulations for the popular game. The laws of the game were drawn up by Cobb Morley and have been the standard ever since, modified only slightly to meet modern needs. The laws are preserved and modified by the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
Since then, the popularity of soccer has spread around the globe and it is now loved and watched by several billion people. National soccer leagues appeared at the turn of the 20th century and became members of the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA).
The World Cup premiered in the 1930s, a competition between the best soccer teams in the world that’s held by FIFA every four years.
Soccer is a great form of exercise, competition, and national pride. Nearly every country has a soccer team and enjoys a healthy rivalry with other parts of the world. So far, 17 world cup trophies have been awarded in men’s competitions, and 4 in women’s competitions.