There is no clear documentation stating the date and place of
origination of today's most popular sport - world football. However,
most historians agree that some type of a ball game has been played for
at least over 3000 years. The origins of the game can be seen in games
played in China, Japan, Egypt, Greece before our modern game developed
Here is a brief outline of some of the events that have shaped the game
of soccer throughout history...
||There is evidence in China that military forces around 2nd and 3rd century B.C. (Han Dynasty) played a game, originally named "Tsu Chu", that involved kicking a leather ball stuffed with fur into a small hole. Like Soccer, no hands were permitted during the play of the game.
One early form of soccer was an ancient Chinese game called "cuju". This
game was played with 2 to 10 players. The players were allowed to touch
the ball with any part of the body except the hands. They would shoot a
ball at a minuscule hole to score. points were also deducted for fouls
(the worse the foul the more points deducted). In the end, the team with
the most points won. An elaborate game of tsu chu was played on the
emperor’s birthday. Teams would attempt to kick a feather-filled ball
through a small goal that consisted of a net attached to bamboo poles.
The stakes were high. Legends say the winners were treated to a feast
while the losers were sometimes beheaded.
|| There was possibly a version of a type of ball game played by young women in Egypt during the age of Baqet III, as images of this sport were depicted on his tomb, though there is not much known of this sport except that it was played with a ball.
||The Japanese version of 'soccer' is was called
Kemari, a game much like modern
hacky sacks, played with two to twelve players, and played a larger ball stuffed with sawdust. There was also a field designated by four trees (cherry, maple, pine and willow).
Asia, however, was not the only continent throughout the history of
soccer to play sports that resembled soccer in those days. Kemari was
played in Japan dating back to the seventh century. In this circular
game, players had to pass the ball to each other without letting it
touch the ground, similar in some ways to what we call hacky sack or
||In ancient Greece, they played a game called "Episkyros", in which two equally numbered teams would try to throw the ball over the heads of the other team. There was a white line between the teams and another white line behind each team. Teams would change the ball often until one of the team is forced behind the line at their end.
Also, the Greeks and Romans were said to have a game that was very
similar to soccer. It was played with 27 players on each team. It is not
an established fact that they had the game, but some believe it to be
||China's Tsu Chu players and Japan's Kemari players were the first to have an "International" game of their versions of soccer, believed to have occurred roughly 50 B.C.. There is a definite date of such a game occurring in 611 A.D.
|600 - 1600 A.D.
|| In Mexico & Central America the rubber ball was created, and used in a game on a recessed court 40-50 feet long shaped like a capital "I". In the middle of each wall, was a mounted stone or wooden ring and the object was to project the hard rubber ball through the ring.
||The first Football games played in Britain was played by the locals of east of England, starting after a 'legendary' game that involved kicking around the severed head of a Danish prince that they have defeated in a war. These games were violent, where injury and death were not uncommon
||Despite the violence of these games, they were still popular. This led
King Edward III of England to pass laws in 1331 to stop the game.
Soccer was banned in England during the reign of King Edward
(1307-1327). Anyone who was caught playing soccer at this time was
thrown into prison. This did not stop people from playing soccer.
Soccer continued to grow, though it was banned by many other kings and
queens of England who came into power after King Edward. Many players
were imprisoned and otherwise punished for playing the sport throughout
the history of soccer.
||King James I of Scotland also passed a law banning the game
|| In Italy they played a game called "calcio" with teams of 27+ people. The game involved kicking, carrying or passing a ball across a goal line. In 1580, Giovanni Bardi published a set of rules of the game of calcio.
||Queen Elizabeth I of England, enacted laws that could sentence a football player to jail for a week followed by penance in a church.
||In Alaska and Canada the native Eskimos played a game called aqsaqtuk on ice, using balls stuffed with grass, caribou hair, and moss. One legend tells of two villages playing against each other with goals 10 miles apart.
|| Football became legal again in England
|| In North America, native American Indians in the original Jamestown settlement played a game called
"pasuckuakohowog", meaning "they gather to play ball with the foot". It was a rough game, played
at the beach, the field a half-mile wide with goals 1 mile apart, with as many as 1000 players at a time.
||Eton College of England established a set of rules for the games.
||A School Boy’s Game...
In the 1820s, modern soccer began to take shape in the public schools of
England. Schoolmasters recognized that the game promoted health and
strength and could be “civilized.” So schools including Eton, Harrow,
Rugby and Westminster began playing recreational games with a “ball”
that was flat on both top and bottom. Each school developed their own
rules and defined their own field of play. Before these schools began to
organize the sport, matches were played in open spaces without
||In the USA, football was played among the Northeastern universities and colleges of
Harvard, Princeton, Amherst and Brown.
||The rules were further standardized and a new version was adopted by all the schools, college and universities, known as the
|| Laying Down the Law...
Graduates of English schools wanted to continue to play ball-and-goal
games so they began to form clubs. In 1862 some of the grads drew up the
Cambridge Code—10 rules that allowed the ball to be handled only to stop
it in the air and place it back on the ground.
|| The first soccer club formed anywhere outside of England was the
Oneida Football Club,
|| October 26 of 1863, the Football Association was formed when
eleven London schools and clubs came together at the Freemason's Tavern to establish a single set
of rules to administer any football match that were to be played among them.
On December 8 1863, Association Football and Rugby Football finally split onto two different organizations.
Later in the year, the first ever soccer match was played on Barnes common at Mortlake,
London on 19th December 1863 between Barnes Football Club and Richmond Football Club. The game ended in a 0-0 draw.
On October 26, 1863, representatives from 11 schools and clubs met at the Freemasons Tavern to hash out official rules of the game.
One club, Blackheath, eventually withdrew from the debates after the group voted not to allow running with the ball or hacking an opponent.
When that decision was made, the break between the games that would become soccer and rugby became official.
The remaining 10 representatives formed the Football Association and published the original 14 Laws of the Game in December 1863.
||The Football Association rules were further amended to exclude any handling of the ball.
||The first official international football match was played, between the national teams of Scotland and England, played in Glasgow Scotland. The game was played on 30 November 1872, and finished with a 0-0 draw.
||The four British associations agreed on a uniform code and formed the International Football Association Board.
|| The first international match played by teams outside of Great Britain was between
USA and Canada, played in Newark and ended with Canada winning 1-0.
||Introduction of the penalty kick.
||Remarkably, these first laws contained no mention of fouls, penalties
or referees. Despite its violent heritage, soccer at this time was
considered a gentlemen’s sport. No gentlemen, it was thought, would
attempt to foul to gain an advantage. Early matches were officiated by
two umpires, one provided by each team. In the 1880s, a referee was
added to keep time and settle disputes. When a disagreement arose,
umpires would refer to this official—hence the name “referee.” By 1891,
the referee had been moved on to the field of play and the umpires had
become linesmen. Today, linesmen are called assistant referees.
|| Establishment of FIFA by delegates from France, Belgium, Denmark,
the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland at a meeting in Paris on the 21st of May.
In 1904, football associations from seven countries met in Paris and founded the
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
The original members of FIFA were Belgium, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Germany joined the federation immediately. Surprisingly, England originally snubbed FIFA,
feeling that soccer was an English game and should be governed by the English Football Association.
England joined FIFA in 1906 and an Englishman, Daniel Burley Woolfall became FIFA President. Today, FIFA has 205 member associations.
||Soccer played the Olympic Games for the first time
||A League of Their Own...
Frescos from third century China show women playing a soccer-type game.
By the 17th century, women were playing organized soccer matches. In the
town of Inveresk Scotland, records show that the married women beat the
unmarried women in a football game.
Development of the women’s game was hampered somewhat by their attire.
Women were originally required to wear bloomers and to keep their hair
under caps. Fortunately this changed during the World War I. During the
War, women’s teams attracted large crowds as they played exhibition
games, sometimes against men.
The first women’s international match was played in 1920.
An English team composed primarily of members of the famous Dick Kerrs
Ladies beat Scotland 22-0. In 1921, an English women’s soccer match
attracted 53,000 spectators. Unfortunately, the Football Association
decided that women’s soccer was “distasteful” and banned women’s games
from association pitches. Women formed their own association and began
playing on rugby fields. The Football Associations ban against women was
not lifted until 1971.
|| In 1930, The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) held soccer's first World Cup tournament in Montevideo, Uruguay, with 13 teams.
||Soccer was taken off the program for the Olympic games in Los Angeles, due to a controversy between FIFA and the IOC over the definition of amateur and the reluctance of many strong soccer countries to travel the US because of the expense involved.
||The inaugural Women's World Cup in 1991
in China was won by the United States
|| The American women's team won the first-ever women's soccer event at the Olympics.