The World's Most Beloved Sport - The History of Soccer
While it is undisputed that the origins of modern soccer, or football, originated in Britain, there is a great deal of evidence that points to this beloved game as having an older history.
Where did the game of soccer really begin, and how old is it? To understand how many different varieties of "soccer" there are, you need to understand a bit about the older versions of the game and how they have evolved.
To many, this is the oldest version of soccer to exist. However, there is quite a lot of controversy of whether or not this is the oldest, or Japan's version is the elder. The Chinese version of the game, originally named "Tsu Chu", involved players on a field that had to hit a leather ball stuffed with fur into a small hole. Like Soccer, no hands were permitted during the play of the game, and it was considered an honor to be a member of a team.
The Emperor of the Han Dynasty, when the game was developed, was an avid player and fan, and spread the popularity of this game all over China during his reign. This roughly dates back to 300 B.C., although there is controversy on the subject of dating, which could result in the origins of the game being as far back as 5000 B.C. Regardless, this version of Soccer is extremely old. Despite that, there is still a version of Tsu Chu played today. While the two games are similar, Tsu Chu has had no effect on the modern version of the game, as it was originally developed and created for play in Great Britain.
Japanese Soccer History
Kemari, the Japanese version of "Soccer", is perhaps one of the most different forms of the sport, in comparison to modern soccer. Kemari was a game of "Keep it up", much like modern hacky sacks, although used with a larger ball that was stuffed with saw dust. This version involves a "pitch", or the field, designated by the selection of four trees, the cherry, maple, pine and willow. Many great houses in Japan would grow trees to have a permanent pitch, or field, established.
Kemari was normally played with two to twelve players. Established in roughly 1004 B.C., it vies for position of the oldest game with China's Tsu Chu. In fact, China's Tsu Chu players and Japan's Kemari players were the first to have an "International" game of their versions of Soccer, which is dated to have occurred in roughly 50 B.C., although a definite date of 611 A.D. is known. Regardless, this game stands with China as a sister sport to Soccer, while it never affected the modern version of the game.
Egyptian Soccer History
While not much is known about Egyptian Soccer, or other ball games, it is thought there was a version of a type of ball game played by young women during the age of Baqet III. On his tomb, images of this sport were depicted, although no one is certain how the game was played or whether or not it truly affected the outcome of modern soccer. Recordings of this game date as far back as 2500 B.C., although not much more is known asides the fact that it was played with a ball. The lack of information on the sport and how it was played has eliminated it from runnings as the first evidence of a game similar to soccer.
Greek/Roman Soccer History
Perhaps the closest relative to modern soccer are the games that were formed by the Greeks during the prime of their culture. They had numerous varieties of football style games, some of which required hands, some of which forbade hands. In the end, after the Roman conquering of Greece, the game Harpastum is what modern soccer would be based from. This game, probably a modified version of the Greek's "Harpaston", which translates roughly to handball. While grossly misnamed, this game is what is considered to be one of the precursors to modern soccer.
British Soccer History
In Britain during the 8th century, soccer was created, not as a recreational sport, but as a war game. One of the stories of the original roots of the sport comes from when a Danish Prince was beheaded, and his head was used as a ball and was kicked around. Ever since this 'legendary' tale, villages and other communities would play a game where they would have to kick a ball to a specific goal. It was a violent game, where injury and death were not uncommon, but it was popular nevertheless. In fact, it was so violent, that in 1331, King Edward the III passed laws to try to stop the playing of the game. It did not work, however, and the sport continued on.
There are even stories of soccer games that involved hundreds upon hundreds of players. In these games, there were many deaths, some resulting in the hundreds. It wasn't until 1815 when Eton College set up a series of rules for the game that it became less violent and more of a true sport. At this time, other colleges and universities took up the banner and began to play under similar rules. Later, the rules were evaluated and judged, and the Cambridge rules were created as a result in 1848. In the Cambridge rules, shin-kicking, carrying the ball and tripping were all forbidden. Rugby rules allowed these aspects, and the two varieties of soccer, or football, split to form their own followings.
On October 26, 1863, London schools and sports club sent representatives to the Freemason's Tavern, where the Football Association was formed. Rugby supporters left this association to form the Rugby Association. This is where the birth of modern soccer began. In 1969, the Football Association finalized the modern game of soccer by forbidding the use of hands in the game.
The term "Soccer" was coined when someone was asked if he was a Rugger, which is a Rugby player. The -er signified that the person participated in a a particular sport. The individual, Charles Wreford Brown, replied with "Soccer!", taking the phrase from Association, SOC, and adding the -er. The term stuck. While British individuals still call the game Football, Americans and other countries call it Soccer, especially if they have heavy support in American Football present. Ever since the foundation of the Association, "Football" has risen in popularity, becoming one of the best love games in the history of Earth. Now, hundreds of thousands play the sport, although it lacks the initial violence present at its creation.
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Soccer is one of the most popular sports, if not the most popular sport or hobby in the world. The soccer World Cup, which is the world soccer tournament that goes occurs every four years, gets more viewers than any other sporting event in the world. Soccer is such a big deal in some countries that it has caused political tensions between nations when their teams have played against each other in the World Cup. So why is soccer such a great hobby for everyone? For one thing, it does not require much equipment to play soccer, you just need a soccer ball to kick around and a couple friends, and some sort of goal that you can use to kick the ball into. The rules are rather simple and obvious, you just kick the soccer ball around and try to kick it into the other team's goal to score, and you can't touch the soccer ball with your hands.
Kicking a soccer ball around is something that can be addicting and you can spend hours and hours doing it without getting bored. You can do different tricks with your like dribbling and or seeing how many times you can kick the soccer ball without letting it hit the ground. You can practice tricks like the bicycle where you jump and kick it sideways or kick it in the air while falling onto your back. You can do that one trick where you roll the ball with one foot onto the back of your other leg and then use that other leg to kick it forward, from behind, over your head; that's one of my favorites. It makes people think I am a good soccer player when I do that one, even though I am not.
One nice thing about soccer or a soccer hobby is that it definitely keeps you in shape with all of that running you have to do, and you have to be in pretty good shape to do well at soccer. Playing soccer is not like a light jog where you can just take it easy the whole time. You are at a full, dead sprint over and over. It's fun too, so it doesn't feel like you are just working out, you are playing a game instead. The last soccer team I played on was an indoor soccer team. I thought I was in shape, but then I could only last for a couple minutes before I had to take a breather, each time I went in.
One of my earliest memories of playing soccer was when I was on a little league soccer team as a kid. I was playing defense and all I did was kick the ball as hard as I could to the other end of the field every time it came to me. I also remember afterwards, I ate a piece of chocolate candy with the wrapper still on it. I didn't swallow it, but it made me sick and had to quit dribbling my soccer ball on the way home from the soccer game, while I puked because the feeling in my mouth was so disgusting. I think my body was worked up from the sprinting in the soccer game as well and my stomach was tight. It still makes me sick to think about that experience all of these years later. But I sure had fun as a kid playing on my soccer team and had a lot of good experiences. I also still have a lot of good memories from my soccer days as a kid. It was fun being the center of attention as I kicked the ball around each time it came to me. I wasn't that good though, and I played defense, so I usually just gave the soccer ball a nice boot to the other side of the field each time it came to me.
There are a lot of drills you can do with a soccer balls, just on your own to become a better soccer player. You can just practice dribbling, as mentioned above, where you just kick the soccer ball back and forth between your legs as you run. Once you get good at dribbling the soccer ball, you can show it off when you play games, but dribbling the soccer ball and cutting past people. Or, you can practice kicking and aiming the soccer ball at a certain point on a wall or practice kicking it into the goal or passing with the side of you foot, so you can get your aim better and score more goals when you play. You can dribble the soccer ball with your feet while weaving through cones. You can practice heading the soccer ball and aiming with your head. For some reason soccer player's favorite thing to do is hit the soccer ball with their heads.
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Player highlight: Megan Rapinoe
History of the women's match would never be complete without mentioning her name as truly one of the players that are really unbelievable to have graced the sport.
Rapinoe's exact cross to Abby Wambach equalizing goal in the 122nd minute against Brazil in the 2011 FIFA World Cup (a goal that holds the record for latest goal ever scored in a World Cup match) stays one of the very most astonishing moments in football.
Her two goals against Australia was the first time the side would record a player with two goals in a match since Abby Wambach effort against Norway at the 2007 event.
European soccer fans would surely remember her time with Lyon in the 2013-2014 season as the team acquired the French title, where she played an important role and for the very first time reached the UEFA Women's Champions league.
Before her entrance, two years ago, Seattle Reign FC had problems finding the net which made the club leaders to seek solutions to that issue and as you'd expect, the formula comprised drafting in Rapinoe, who would not only score a lot of goals, would also lift the team emotionally, given her prominence.
The 2015 World Cup was enormous not only for the player but for the whole of the U.S team, improvement of the past few years meant the team's domination was under threat.
Aside from defending champs Japan, countries like Sweden, Australia and France who always had a say in the tournaments, countries like England, Nigeria and Cameroun were keen to establish themselves on the biggest stage.
Rapinoe was one of the players' manager Jill Ellis knew if her team were to have any chance of grabbing the coveted trophy from the hands of the Japanese, she could rely on.
Through the entire tournament, her power, dedication and skill was of the peak order and I vividly recall an American supporter saying "seeing Rapinoe play makes me forget about all the atrocities happening in the world, ISIS, Boko Haram, Civil war in Syria along with the Iran nuclear threat" he said.