The Beautiful Game: A History of Soccer

Table of Content

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in Europe and the Americas. It has an interesting history in the world of sports. Early evidence of soccer being played as a sport finds occurrence in China during the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. In China, it was during the Han dynasty that people dribbled leather balls by kicking it into a small net. Recorded facts also support the fact that Romans and Greeks used to play ball for fun and frolic. Some facts point to Kyoto in Japan where kicking the ball was a popular sport. They say that early growth of the modern soccer started in England.

Some amusing facts even mention that the first ball used was the head of some Danish brigand. It is said that during medieval times, the old form of soccer used to allow many practices like kicking, punching, biting. The main aim was to carry the ball to a target spot. People grew learned to love the game that they would play all day long. Sometimes the competition grew fierce and got so wild that there were frequent incidents of violence during the game. It is also said that soldiers admired the game so much that they missed archery practice to watch it.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

King Edward III banned soccer in 1365 owing to the growing incidents of violence and military errors in the sport. In 1424 King James I of Scotland also proclaimed in the Parliament No man shall play football When and where exactly did soccer start is a question that has no precise answer to it. You can easily say that this popular game has been played for more than three thousand years. The nativity of modern-day soccer must be credited to Britain. It was also known as the association football, with Scotland and England being the co-founders of the systematic game of soccer.

Modern History of Soccer: 18th Century onwards In 1815, a major development took place that made soccer popular in Universities, Colleges and Schools. The popular English School and Eton College came forth with a set of rules, known as the Cambridge Rules. Football was segregated into two groups; some colleges and schools opted for Rugby rules that allowed tripping, shin kicking and also carrying the ball. These rules were exclusively prohibited as per the Cambridge rules. The history of modern-day soccer was established in 1863. In October 1863, leven representatives from London clubs met to set up common fundamental rules to control the matches amongst themselves. The outcome of this meeting was the formation of the Football Association. In December 1863, the Rugby Football and Association football finally split as the supporters of the Rugby School rules walked out. Firmly establishing the foundation of soccer in 1869, the Football Association strictly banned any kind of handling of the ball. Soccer’s popularity spread rapidly during the 1800s as British sailors, traders and soldiers introduced the sport to different parts of the globe.

Italians, Austrians and Germans drew to Europe, while Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil adopted the sport in South America. FIFA was established in the year 1904 and by early 1930s; different leagues were operating from various countries. FIFA is credited with organizing the first world cup in Uruguay. The history of soccer is rich with events, development and its growing craze all over the world. You will find yourself amazed as you learn about different times of this wonderful sport that has held our awe and admiration for over 3000 years.

The very first world cup did not even include qualifying rounds. Teams from Europe included France, Belgium, Yugoslavia & Romania. Other European teams complained about the distance to Uruguay and refused to travel so far. The original gold trophy had the name of Jules Rimet’s carved on the trophy and it was contested three times in the 1930s. There were a total of 13 teams in the first world cup. The remaining countries besides the host Uruguay were Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Mexico and the United States. The competition had a 12 year delay because of World War 2.

The first world cup soccer match started on July 13th, 1930. France defeated Mexico in a game of 4 to 1, paving way for a glorious world cup beginning. After the war, the FIFA World Cup gained worldwide recognition as the sole sporting event of the new world. The World cup has been held since 1958 in Europe and the Americas. The World Cup Executive Committee’s decision in May 1996 made a major decision of selecting Korea and Japan as co-hosts for the 2002 edition. A largely male-dominated sport, women soccer has also seen some changes. The first women’s World Cup was held in China in 1991.

The US won the championship the first time ever in the history of women soccer The first few decades of the 20th century saw women soccer being restricted to casual gym classes, games and college competitions. Unlike men’s soccer history, most women soccer had its prime growth at the college and university level. In 1951, the first women’s league was established and things changed from then on. The Craig Club Girls Soccer League had four teams and played complete schedules for two seasons. This is considered as the changing point in the history of women soccer.

Although, it took around a decade before the soccer was included as a serious game in colleges. The beginning of 20th century saw US women soccer gain high popularity and international acclaim. The sport made a late start-up in the US compared to Europe, which had women leagues way back in 1930s. Serious and organized form of soccer in the US started in 1970s, a trigger produced by Title IX Legislation of 1972 that made gender equality mandatory in education. The game widely spread during early 1980s through Varsity College teams.

However, it is interesting to note that the first national women’s league was established very recently in 1995. And even more interesting is the fact that the first professional woman’s started a few years back in 2001. The 1920s are popularly known as the golden era in the history of American soccer. The establishment of American Soccer League in 1921 was a mark as there was now a league that could compete with European players. In 1930, the US participated in the first World Cup in Uruguay, and the teams from Atlantic Coast league subjugated the roster.

The roster by now had added famous players like Bert Patenaude and Billy Gonsalves who performed well both in the World Cup and all through the 1930’s. In 1950s, the US National team returned to the World Cup with a victory over England with a goal by Joe Gaetjens. The 1970s saw soccer being flocked with participation from the youth and 1980s saw a downfall for soccer in the US. With the decline of the NASL in 1984, and the abrupt end of the United Soccer League in 1985, only the Western Soccer League, which had just finished its first season, remained playing outdoor soccer, with four surviving teams.

The 1994 World Cup is considered the biggest moment in the history of American soccer. In conclusion soccer is the most popular sport played in the world. Kids from as young as 4 years old begin to play the magnificent game of soccer and they grow to love the sport. Many people say that soccer is an easy sport to play but in all honesty it can be the most difficult sport to play if you don’t like it. You have to learn how to play the game in order to love it.

Cite this page

The Beautiful Game: A History of Soccer. (2017, Feb 10). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront