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Home >> The History of Soccer



The history of soccer shows that so many ancient cultures played a sport similar to modern soccer that no one can say with any certainty when or where soccer began. But it is known that the earlier varieties of what later became soccer were played almost 3000 years ago.

History of Soccer China and Japan
One of the oldest forms of soccer in which players kicked a ball on a small field has been traced as far back as 1004 B.C. in Japan. the Munich Ethnological Museum in Germany has a Chinese text from approximately 50 B.C. that mentions games very similar to soccer that were played between teams from China and Japan. The Chinese kicked a leather ball (filled with hair) and it is known for sure that a soccer game was played in 611 A.D. in the ancient Japanese capital Kyoto.

History of Soccer Europe
The ancient Romans played a game that somewhat resembled modern soccer. The early Olympic games in ancient Rome featured twenty-seven men on a side who completed so vigorously that two-thirds of them had to be hospitalized after a fifty-minute game. While ancient historians kept records of such conspicuous events as wars and religious movements, they apparently had little interest in preserving the various origins of soccer or other sports, so no one can say how soccer seems to have spread from Asia to Europe.

History of Soccer England
But when the game finally did get to England, it had acquired a bad enough reputation among British royalty that the government sometimes passed laws against soccer. In King Edward's reign of England (1307-1327), laws were passed that threatened imprisonment to anyone caught playing soccer. King Edward's proclamation said: "For as much as there is a great noise in the city caused by hustling over large balls, from which many evils may arise, which God forbid, we command and forbid on behalf of the King, on pain of imprisonment, such game to be used in the city future." Evidently judged to be vulgar and indecent, soccer was at times suppressed by the English sheriffs who followed royal orders describing the game as a useless practice. King Henry IV and Henry VIII passed laws against the sport, and Queen Elizabeth I "had soccer players jailed for a week, with follow-up church penance" Laws, however, failed to stop the sport, which had earned official sanction in England by 1681. The game became so popular by 1800s that, in certain annual contests in northern and middle England, large groups roamed and raged throguh towns and villages. In 1829, an account of such match in Derbyshire spoke of "broken skins, broken heads, torn coats and lost hats."

The New History of Soccer
This past World cup, that took place in Korea and Japan was watched by an estimated 33 billion people around the world for almost 27 days. This makes soccer, the most watched single sports event in the world's history not surpassed even by the Olympics. This sport is bigger than baseball, football and basketball combined.

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  • Woman Soccer History - A major breakthrough for women's soccer came at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where women's soccer was included as a full medal sport for the first time. Crowds were very good; the level of play was, once again, very high, and several of the games were very exciting. Here you can read more about the birth of Woman Soccer.