Sports and Soccer
The most interesting tidbit in the pages of soccer history is the origin of the word “soccer.” Since the word “association football” was too long, college students began calling it “assoc.” As days passed, the word “assoc” became “soc” and finally became soccer, a name that has stuck. Although the name and official rules of this game are quite modern, the game itself is centuries old.
Early Forms of Soccer
Different varieties of soccer were played in ancient Asia nearly 30 centuries back. Although the rules of ancient soccer are different from those of modern soccer, the two variants strongly resemble each other.
The earliest variant of soccer is believed to have been played in China. Called Cuju by Chinese players, it could be played by anywhere between two and ten players, who were not allowed to touch the ball with their hands. The ball had to be shot into a hole to score a goal, and if the players made mistakes, their points would be deducted. The team that got the largest number of points in the course of a match was declared the winner.
Soccer was also played in South America, Rome, and Greece. Greek and Roman players, however, had 27 players on each team.
The game was brought into Europe in 1000 AD, and once it entered Europe, its rules changed to resemble the rules we have at present.
Hostility toward Soccer
Although soccer is an interesting game, it is extremely rough and results in a number of injuries, owing to which the elite classes of society disliked the game. King Edward, who ruled between 1307 and 1327, banned the game. During his reign, anybody seen playing the game was imprisoned; however, this did not kill people’s fascination for soccer.
A number of successors of King Edward banned the game, imprisoned players, and also punished people for playing the sport, but still, the game flourished.
Modern Soccer Born
Soccer soon became so popular that English schools began taking an interest in it. Outside academic institutions, soccer began to be played in the form of tournaments. Unfortunately, it was difficult to participate in tournaments because the rules of soccer were not yet defined.
In 1863, Ebenezer Cobb Morley, the founder of the Barnes Club, convened a meeting of existing soccer clubs to establish formal rules for the game. Although the rules were modified in future, Morley continues to be called the “founder of modern soccer.” Thanks to Morley’s efforts, soccer is today a game of international fame.
The first international soccer match was played in 1904 between Belgium and France, a historic event that led to the launch of FIFA, an international organization that promotes soccer, on May 22 that year.
The first FIFA World Cup, also known as World Cup, was played in 1930 in Uruguay. Currently, it is played once in four years.
Soccer has also been included into the Olympics, with the first Olympics soccer match played in 1900. However, Olympics soccer is not as popular as the World Cup.