What Sport Is A Form Of Football Developed In England History of Soccer

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History of Soccer

As you probably know, soccer is the most played, watched, and televised sport in human history. According to FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) there are currently 270 million people who actively participate in football. (That’s about 4% of the world’s population) So why has this sport become such a big interest to me and people alike? What is the story behind this long-awaited event?

Referred to as “association football” on Wikipedia, soccer is a sport that has roots dating back to the 2nd and 3rd century. The oldest form is said to have originated in China; a game called “cuju”. FIFA, soccer’s governing body, officially declared China the birthplace of its game in 2004.

In recent decades, many other forms of the sport have been seen in other regions of the world, such as “Harpastum” (Roman), “Kemari” (Japan) and “Knattleikr”. (Iceland) Of course, these games were very different from what modern football is. It was not until the 19th century that various forms of football became an organized event played mainly by prestigious public schools in England. There were many improvements in the course of the sport when Thomas Arnold (head of the ‘Rugby School’) helped to establish the first standardized rules of Rugby.

In rugby, they allowed players to kick opponents’ legs below the knees (which was banned in later years), ball handling was also allowed. After this development, football and rugby separated in December 1863. Modern football was born in England with the formation of the FA (Football Association), which is the governing body of football in England. Ebenezer Cobb Morley was a founding member of the Football Association in which he stressed the importance of a governing body for football. After the FA was established, he established the “Laws of Soccer” which implemented the rules of the game played today. On January 9, 1864, the first exhibition game of football was played at Battersea Park. In just eight years, the FA had 50 member clubs and grew rapidly, allowing a competition to emerge in 1972. The FA Cup is the first football competition and is considered the most prestigious in England. The ‘Wanderers’ were the first team to win the cup, beating the ‘Royal Engineers’ 1-0.

Soccer slowly caught on in other countries with the help of British influence. It was not until 1889 that other countries (the Netherlands and Denmark) would embrace this wonderful game. Soccer began to grow rapidly with the following countries; New Zealand (1891), Argentina (1893), Chile, Switzerland, Belgium (1895), Italy (1898), Germany, Uruguay (1900) and Hungary (1901) adopted their own football associations.

In 1904, FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) was formed in Paris to regulate international matches and there were seven founding members (France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). The first international soccer competition was introduced at the 1908 London Summer Olympics with Great Britain winning gold, Denmark silver, and the Netherlands bronze. The rise of World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945) halted the growth of the sport, and it resumed years after the war. In 1950, FIFA had 51 member countries. Before the creation of the World Cup (the most prestigious soccer competition), FIFA organized a soccer competition within the Summer Olympic Games. In 1930, FIFA would administer its own tournament in Uruguay; the host nation to be the first football team to win the cup which would be the most watched of any professional tournament today.

Soccer today is a growing sport with 208 national teams recognized by FIFA, plus there are thousands of club teams competing against each other in various leagues and cups for world dominance. The sport has become an addiction for many people around the world, helping nations and individuals come together as they cheer on their team in the hope that one day their team will bring home a trophy. The future of soccer always has room for improvement and hopefully interest will pick up in the US as elsewhere. “Fair-play” is the name of the game.

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