The Real Story of How Soccer Was Invented

Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, with billions of fans and players across the globe. But how did this global phenomenon come to be? Here’s a glimpse into the true story of how soccer came to be.

Early Ancestral Games

Evidence suggests that many countries enjoyed playing ball games. In China, a game called “cuju” involved kicking a leather ball filled with feathers and hair through a net. Similarly, ancient Greece had games like “epikyros” where players used their hands and feet to maneuver a ball.

Medieval Europe

Rough and tumble games involving kicking a ball across a field or village square emerged throughout medieval Europe. These games, often chaotic and violent, involved large numbers of participants and few set rules.

The Codifying Force

While various forms of football existed globally, 19th-century England played a pivotal role in standardizing the sport. Public schools in England developed their own versions of football, and eventually, efforts arose to unify the rules.

The Birth of Association Football

In 1863, the Football Association in England formalized a set of rules specifically prohibiting players from handling the ball while running (except for the goalkeeper). 

The Global Embrace

With standardized rules, soccer’s popularity soared beyond England’s borders. British sailors, merchants, and missionaries introduced the sport to new corners of the world.

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