The journey of soccer, or association football, is from a crude sporting event that it was a few hundred years ago to one of the most-watched sport in the world today. Soccer has gained tremendous popularity across the globe. In fact, it is the most-watched sport in the Americas as well. Although it’s difficult to pinpoint the person who invented soccer, or trace its origin, it’s possible to trace the development of this game from a crude version to a polished one.
The history of soccer, one of the most-watched sports in the world, is as interesting as the sport itself. Many countries claim that its roots can be traced to their culture, which is true to a large extent, as sports resembling modern-day soccer were played in several countries in the past.
Ancient Sports Resembling Soccer
An ancient text on display at the Munich Ethnological Museum in Germany, refers to a sport resembling soccer being played in China and Japan in 50 BC. Documented ancient texts also mention about a similar sport, known as the Cuju, being played in China somewhere between 476 – 221 BC. The hair filled ball used in this sport was made from leather.
In the 14th century, King Edward of England passed a law threatening to imprison any person who played the soccer-like sport that was slowly gaining prominence in the country. The king’s proclamation stated the following …
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.
The sport received similar treatment from the successors of King Edward. However, it was this prohibition in Europe that paved the way for its spread to other continents, including Asia and the Americas.
Invention of Modern Soccer
Modern-day soccer was invented in England in 1860s. Soccer, known as football by the Europeans, became a popular sport in schools and colleges, with various institutes playing each other for prestige. Initially, it was only played by the elite class in various clubs of England.
Owing to its inexpensiveness, it didn’t take much time for soccer to eradicate the class barrier and become a sport of the masses. The problem cropped up when each team came up with their own set of rules. In 1863, the Football Association (FA) was formed to tackle this problem.
The Association came up with a set of rules, which were framed by mutual agreement among all the clubs. This development brought soccer out of schools and colleges. Now, even the working class started taking keen interest in it.
The year 1871 marked the introduction of the Football Association Cup (FA Cup). The competition gained vast popularity in England, which led to more clubs joining the Association and adoption of new rules, thus forming the basis of soccer or football as it is being played today.