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A Brief History of Soccer: Soccer's Origins

Curious about the history of soccer?

The history of soccer is as colorful as the game itself. While Europe can claim to be the birthplace of the modern game, soccer`s roots can actually be traced much farther back in time to East Asia. While it's difficult to tell for certain, a game closely resembling soccer was played in China as far back as the third century BC.

The Romans also played a similar style game throughout their empire, even introducing the sport to Britain. Despite the rules being far different then what is in use now, these competitions laid the ground work for what eventually became the modern game.

Modern Soccer

History of Soccer Timeline

When many ask about the history of soccer, they are in fact referring to the modern game. While it's nearly impossible to answer the question "Who invented soccer?", the English are credited with laying out the groundwork for the game in their establishment of The Football Association in 1863.

The rules were strange in some respects however, as the game shared many of the characteristics of modern day rugby.

Eventually though, rugby and football as it became known split, once handling the ball became no longer permitted and the modern game of association football, or soccer, was born.

The argument over the naming conventions began shortly after. Should this sport be called Soccer or Football?

Modern soccer's history truly began here. As the original rules were eventually established, the dimensions of the field were outlined as well as procedures for starting the game, and defining terms like throw in, offside and goal.

They even created rules for the ball! I'll bet you didn't even know there was such a thing as soccer ball history.

With this standardization saw the beginning of modern soccer, as well as its spread throughout the world. The increase in popularity resulted in an explosion in international play, as well as the establishment of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA, for short) in 1904.

FIFA History is as important as the game itself, as this organization was almost singlehandedly responsible for spreading soccer's influence across the world.

International Competition Begins...

International Competition truly began in 1908 at the Summer Olympics in London, where soccer was first made into an Olympic event. However, it was not until the 1920 event that FIFA recognized the Olympics as a competition for amateur athletes, leading to the first intercontinental soccer tournament in the history of soccer at the games in Belgium.

While these tournaments were all interesting in their own right, the stage was now set for FIFA to create its own tournament. Making its debut in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1930, the World Cup was born.

While there was a slight break in competition during the Second World War, the World Cup has been held continuously since 1950, becoming one of the world's largest sporting events. Check out some amazing World Cup facts and impress your friends!

Since that first competition, teams from around the world gather every four years to compete for one of the most famous crowns in sports: The World Cup Trophy.

The FIFA governing body has continuously expanded since, now boasting 208 members...more than The United Nations!

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