Jun
9
2009

Who invented Soccer

Soccer, which is also known as football in countries where it is the main team sport, is a game played with two teams of eleven players who kick or pass a round ball using only feet, shins, chests, and foreheads until they are able to score by getting the ball through the opposition’s goal posts. Soccer is the world’s most popular sport and generates billions of dollars of revenue from TV rights, merchandising, ticket sales, and product endorsements.

Kicking a ball around a pitch, with the aim of getting past the other team and score a goal is a common activity in most ancient societies, with the ball varying from filled animal bladders, to pig’s heads, even purpose made balls of leather stuffed with sawdust. The ancient Chinese are believed to have played football first around 2,500 years ago, a game they called cuju and which was also played in Japan and Korea.

history of soccer Who invented Soccer

Other indigenous peoples from Africa, the Americas, and even Australia, have had their own versions of football that may be as old as the Chinese game. Australian aboriginals were cut off from the rest of humanity for over 40,000 years, and since they had their own soccer game, historians now believe that soccer is perhaps the first truly instinctive and global game, that in fact nobody invented the first games since they are so common in almost every society.

The game of soccer as we know it today originated in the British Isles during the medieval ages, supposedly from an earlier Roman or Greek game, but the similarities are superficial. In England many attempts were made to regulate or ban soccer which was considered a disruptive and violent game. Tournaments between villages would see players kick a ball several miles through the countryside to score a single goal against the other village, the goal of the defensive players being to prevent the ball even reaching their village.

old leather soccer ball Who invented Soccer

By the mid 1500s soccer was being played in British schools, and the first known mention of the game, was published by William Horman in 1519, though it wasn’t until 1581 when the headmaster of Eton College, Richard Mulcaster, wrote about the rules of the game as it was played at Eton. By this time tackling and handling the ball other than with the feet were not permitted, but in other parts of Britain, for example in Scotland, soccer was still a hybrid game that allowed picking up the ball like in rugby or American Football.

The modern game of soccer really started in 1848 when a group of schools and universities in England joined together to write the Cambridge rules under the leadership of Henry de Winton and John Thring. These same rules were updated in 1857, and in 1862 John Thring wrote a simpler set of rules, a combination of his older and newer rules being adopted by the Football Association in 1863. So it seems the inventor of modern soccer is none other than John Thring.

Learn about the complete history of soccer.

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Peter is the founder of WhoGuides - The History Website. He's always happy to share his passion for history. Use the contact form if you want to get in touch with him.

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