You could essentially travel to any country in the world and find a mass of soccer fans. This should come as no surprise considering the sport has been accumulating fans around the world for practically hundreds of years. But how did this beloved sport come to be?
While the modern game of soccer, or football as many countries refer to it, began in England in 1863, early iterations can be traced back centuries ago. Here are a few interesting facts about soccer’s history and evolution:
Almost ancient: One of the oldest records of a similar game came from the Greek rhetorician and grammarian Athenaus of Naucratis. His work referenced a Roman ball game called Harpatsum as far back as 228 AD. Though at that time the game involved using their hands as well as violence, it still bears resemblance to both soccer and rugby.
The game we’re now accustomed to is based more on mid-19th century efforts meant to standardize the varying forms of the game and soccer training performed by England public schools.
The first organization: On October 26, 1863, the first formal soccer organization was formed, known as The Football Association (The FA). Here is where the rules of the game taught in soccer camps and soccer training programs were set as we now know them.
It involves 11 players on each team, using their legs, head, and torso to pass the ball down the field, or pitch as it’s known in England, in order to score goals. This organization would later extend into the commonly known Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in Paris in 1904.
Bringing Peace: To put into perspective how ingrained in world culture it is and how passionate fans are, the game actually played a pivotal role in resolving political issues. The Côte d’Ivoire national football team actually helped secure a truce during France’s civil war there just in 2006. How?
A match between the national government team and rebel forces in the rebel capital of Bouake reduced tensions and brought together both armies peacefully for the very first time.
When not resolving wars, soccer still plays a consistently important role in communities and nations alike. Between 250 million playing in urban soccer leagues and beginners starting their first soccer training programs across more than 200 countries, it may be the most common interest around the globe.