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The Origin of Soccer
Although it may be impossible to say exactly when and where the game of football originated, history has shown us a glimpse of a game similar to our version today which has been played for over 3000 years.
Around the 2nd or 3rd century BC, it was recorded that the Chinese army during the Han Dynasty played a game involving kicking a ball into a small net.
A game similar to football was played by the ancient Greeks and Romans but their game could include up to 27 players on one side compared to the modern game of 11 players per side.
Football became one of the most popular sports of the masses due to its popularity as a game of war. A game of “football”, as the British called it, was played in the east of England during the 8th Century where the head of a Danish prince was used as the ball.
During the middle ages, villages and towns were pitted against each other in game battles that could last all day. There were no structured rules to adhere to and kicking, biting, gouging and punching turned the game into a virtual battle for survival. These games became so violent that the English authorities made several attempts to ban football.
King Edward III of England passed laws in 1331 to abolish the game and Queen Elizabeth I passed a law that gave anyone caught playing football a week in prison.
Despite these efforts, the football game became so popular in England over the next few centuries that it developed as the most popular sport of its time.
At this point, the sport’s only flaw was its lack of rules or standards. In 1815, Eton College, a famous English school, established a set of rules to be implemented by other schools, colleges and universities.
A standard version of these rules was later adopted in 1848 by most English colleges and universities known as the Cambridge Rules.
Unfortunately, at this time, two different sets of rules were still in use. Some colleges favored the Rugby Rules which allowed carrying the ball with your hands, tripping and kicking to the shins. which was against the Cambridge Rules.
In 1863, the Football Association was created by eleven football clubs and schools in England to establish one set of rules to be enforced when playing against each other.
Supporters of the Rugby School rules opposed the changes and the two groups split. The Football Association later changed the rules in 1869 where they banned the use of hands, except by the goalkeeper, which led us to the game of football as we know it today.
The English still called it a game of “football” because the ball was mainly played with the feet but at the end of the 18th century, the word, “football”, was used for the first time by a student from Oxford University called Charles Wreford Brown. The students at Oxford were known for using slang where they added “er” to the end of words they deliberately shortened. The game of Rugby was called “rugywr”. Brown shortened the word “society” and added “er” and the term “football” was born.
Since the 19th Century the game has evolved to where it is today. The World Game is played by more people than any other sport and is widely recognized as the most popular game in sports history.
The World Cup held every four years to crown the World Champion attracts millions of viewers to the 32 games played and is watched by billions of fans from all over the world thanks to modern satellite TV technology.
The popularity of soccer continues to grow as organized youth soccer programs attract a young fan base at a young age that will fuel its growth for years to come.
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