History of Soccer

A Brief History Of Soccer

Some historians suggest that the game of soccer is rooted in Japan circa 1004 BCE. At that time there were games played with people who would kick and chase a ball around a large field.

Photo: Woman Using Laptop

Photo: an old leather soccer ball

There is also evidence asserting that a game very much like soccer was played in China during the second and third centuries CE.  During the time period of the Han Dynasty, there were people that used leather balls for game play and kicked them or dribbled them on the field.  In fact, there is a Chinese-based text located in the Munich Ethnological Museum that is dated to circa 50 BCE that documents a soccer-like game played between teams in China and Japan.  In the game, a hair-filled leather ball was used to kick around.  There is also evidence that a game similar to soccer was played in Kyoto Japan as early as 611 CE.

The games that the ancient Romans played hold the most resemblance to what one would identify as contemporary soccer.  How soccer spread from the Asian continent to Rome remains in question to this day as there are no records that have been discovered that might explain the spread of soccer playing ideas.  However, there are early references pertaining to the Olympics, when played by Grecian and Roman soccer teams, and how vigorous the game was played.

Soccer soon became associated with violence and noise however, leaving the game not so popular among some individuals.  During the Medieval era, the game became quite violent where players might be found gouging other players, biting them, punching them, and kicking them.  In some instances, observing masses would go wild lending to even more violence.  For more information visit http://www.athleticscholarships.net/history-of-soccer.htm.

Soccer's Brutal Beginnings

During King Edward’s rule in England, there were regulations put into effect that banned anyone from playing soccer.  If anyone was caught doing so they risked imprisonment.  According to King Edward the game was far too violent and noisy and it caused too much chaos.  The game was deemed indecent and vulgar.  Many of the sheriffs in England at the time ensured the suppression of the game, and later kings and queens also considered the game indecent.  Both King Henry the IV and the VIII put laws into effect that disallowed the violent sport.  Later, Queen Elizabeth would threaten to put any player of the game in prison for a week’s time and force them to follow up such action with penance through the church.

Nevertheless, soccer remained a game that people loved to play.  In the early 1680s the sport was officially sanctioned in England.  By the 1800s the game grew in popularity so much that there were yearly contests held in middle and northern England.  What’s more, the allowance of such gaming did nothing to diminish the violence of the sport.  A game held in Derbyshire in the late 1820s revealed that there were lost hats, torn coats, broken heads, and broken skin among players.

In 1815 the Eton College devised official rules for the game.  The rules became known as the Cambridge Rules; the regulations were devised and were adopted by colleges throughout England.  As the game grew in popularity, it quickly spread throughout the world.  In the 1860s, what would become understood as modern soccer evolved. Eleven people from various schools and clubs in London hosted a meeting held at the Freemason’s Tavern in order to create a new set of rules for controlling soccer matches.  This meeting ultimately resulted in the development of the Football Association.  This organization was operational by 1869.  It is responsible for banning any handling of the soccer ball during game play. 

The World Game

Today, soccer is one of the most popular sporting pursuits in the world.  The game has been sometimes identified as “The World Game: suggesting the games popularity,” “The Beautiful Game:” suggestive of the game strategies and the attractive fields the games are played on; footie or footy, football, and most commonly, soccer.  Presently, both men and women play this game and there are separate competitions for each.

Soccer is governed by the FIFA or the International Federation of Association of Football.  This organization is the agency that created the first World Cup competition.  The agency supports and regulates a wide variety of competitions for both men and women too, including the men and women’s World Cup championships.  For more information visit http://www.fifa.com/classicfootball/history/index.html.