History of Soccer
Soccer is a world-wide sport today. It is played with a round ball. Only a player's feet and head can make contact with the ball. The ball must be knocked into the opposing team's goal to score a point. Players run back and forth up and down a field to the goal. There are eleven players on each team. A referee is present to see that the rules are followed.
Soccer's ancient origins can be traced back to China, Egypt and Rome. Balls made of animal intestines, linen or skin have been found in Egyptian tombs. Drawings show that the Egyptians rolled a ball around the ground to celebrate the richness of the earth. Two thousand years later, a different kind of game was played in China. It was called cuju. Players stuffed feathers inside a leather ball and kicked it through a goal which was made of a piece of cloth hanging between two sticks. Cuju players organized matches and tournaments. Referees were used. The Chinese military played the game often.
Soccer in ancient Rome was a very rough sport because it had no rules. Many people were injured. 27 players were on each team. Their purpose was to get the ball to their opponent's goal any way they could. Children also kicked a ball around the streets of Rome.
In France, in the Middle Ages, a violent form of the game was called 'la choule.' It was banned. In the mid 1300's, soccer continued in a game called mob football in England. They played their games on streets, and anyone could play. Sometimes the games turned into riots. Although rulers tried to ban the sport, by the end of the 1300's, soccer was there to stay. Schools in England did forbid soccer because it was too rough because there were no rules.
In the 1800's, football clubs in England decided that they needed organized rules. However, each club had different rules. They formed the Football Association in 1863 which would be the governing body and set up the rules for the sport. The sport spread to Sweden, France, the Netherlands and Spain. It became known as various forms of the word fussball. However, in the United States it is called soccer.
The English distinguished between two games of football, rugby and assoccer. Rugby was called 'rugger.' In rugby, the ball is carried with the hands. Assoccer came to be called 'soccer.' Soccer became much more popular in England than rugby. Now, when the English say football, they mean soccer. Americans developed a different kind of football. Therefore, in the United States, the English type of football is called 'soccer.' The rest of the world calls the game football.
In WWI, the French and Germans were fighting on the border between Germany and France. On Christmas Eve, 1915, both sides called a truce so that they could have a soccer game on the field. Then they went back to war. In 1872, a game was played between England and Scotland, the first international match.
Soccer is governed around the world by FIFA, Federation Internationale de Football Association. Rules are published by the International Football Association Board. In the U.S., the governing board is the USSF, United States Soccer Federation, recognized by the FIFA. Every four years, a competition called the FIFA World Cup is held. Every country which has a soccer/football team which is recognized by FIFA participates in matches to determine the best team in the world. The USSF is divided into many sub-groups which have their own rules. Some are the NCAA, National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the National Association of High School Federations.
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