Soccer is one of the most popular and oldest games played all around the world. The following article lets you know the rich history of a football game, its expansion, and various phases of development to this day.
Furthermore, it sheds light on important equipment with a brief introduction of each that you need to play soccer.
Football (Soccer) History
Over 3000 years ago, in central American (Mesoamerican) cultures, people (often teams), used to play a game with a rocky ball.
As per available records, that rocky ball symbolized the sun, and whoever (team) lost, the leader of the team would lose his life as a result of post-match sacrifice to the gods.
In the third and second centuries BC, in China, there emerged the first ball-kicking game named Cuju. It was played on a square field with a round ball. It later flourished in Japan and acquired certain ceremonial forms.
Ancient Greece is also considered to be the evolutionary place for this game. At that time, the ball was created with pieces of leather joined together and hair filled inside it.
While in Ancient Rome, certain ball games occurred significantly in military-related exercises. It was, in some noncredible stories, the Roman culture that brought football to Britain.
Certain versions of the ball games were in vogue in different countries at different times. However, the current version of it emerged during the medieval period in England, in the twelfth century.
In this century, games resembling football were played on vast meadows, streets, and roads in England.
Surprisingly, in addition to kicks, football included the use of punches of the ball with the hands.
In its early stages, football was also quite haphazard, chaotic, and rather ruthless than the modern manners of playing because it featured an un-calculated number of players going berserk over vast areas in towns (a parallel of it, known as Calcio, was in fashion in 16th century Florence, Italy).
This storm of rampant players played havoc with the forthcoming homes, buildings, and shops of the towns and even resulted in innocent deaths.
To avoid these untoward events, the then, the violence-filled game was prohibited for several centuries.
Moreover, it took football a fair amount of time to emerge as an independent sport having defined set rules and regulations of modern-day play because, back then, football and rugby were considered the same and there wasn’t any officially determined distinction between them.
However, there were visible differences between them in terms of shape and size of the balls and fields, number of players involved, and lastly, the duration of the match.
This game, with varied features, was usually played among various schools of that time. Of which, there were two significant and predominant schools, namely Eton and Rugby.
At Eton, this game (known there as the dribbling game) was played exclusively with lower limbs, chiefly; the feet, thereby paving a clear way for the growth of modern-day football.
On the other hand, Rugby this game (known as the running game) was played with the help of the upper limbs, mainly; the hands, thus separating it from football.
Note: The game that most of us know as rugby emerged from here.
The game continued with the same rules until a meeting, at Cambridge, in 1848 was held to decide distinctive rules and clear all ambiguity concerning them.
However, the first football association was made in 1863. The formation of the “football association” led to the division of association football and rugby in terms of the size and weight of the balls being used.
Nevertheless, there was still a dire need to form other rules of the game, such as; how many players a team should have, different uniforms for different teams so as to recognize the players, and headshot was yet to be introduced since players normally wore caps during matches, so on and so forth.
At that time, there was another worth noting factor (English approach vs. Scottish approach) that too was to be addressed.
In the exercise of these approaches, English teams preferred running (in a rugby fashion) with the ball to passing it, whereas the Scottish teams relied on passing the ball among their players and leading it towards the goalposts.
It was, probably, the Scottish approach of passing the ball between players that became significant in later years of football and is, nowadays, in wide application during the match.
Read more about the history of soccer.
Spread of Soccer to the Rest of World
Industrialization in England caused rapid economic growth, and an urge for entertainment, improvement in infrastructure helped different clubs to play in different cities.
As for as football clubs are concerned, they have existed without official status since the 15th century. According to some historians, the first football club was formed in Edinburgh in 1824.
Some notable clubs were; Notts County (1862) considered the oldest professional club, Stoke City (1863), Gent (1864), Nottingham Forest (1865), Sheffield Wednesday (1867), etc.
As the sport became organized and grew popular, every rank and file started playing and watching it. In the later part of the 19th century, an exceptional number of spectators, roughly 30000, would gather to witness the match.
Keeping into consideration the ever-growing fame and expansion of football, an international football governing body was founded in Paris, France, in 1904 under the name “The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)”.
The charter of this foundation was signed by France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. However, England, as well as some other British countries, being originators of the game, did not join FIFA in 1904, but they did join it the next year.
Even being part of FIFA, these countries decided not to participate in football World Cups until 1950. The inaugural football world cup was organized in 1930, hosted by Uruguay.
So far, 21 world cups have been played and won by 8 different times. Brazil was the most successful with 5 victories, Italy and Germany with 4 wins each, Uruguay, Argentina, and France with 2 wins each.
While England and Spain with 1 victory each. In total 32 teams could qualify for the world cup among 211 eligible teams.
There are a number of other football tournaments enthusiastically played and loved all across the globe, such as; the UEFA Champions League, UEFA European Championship, Copa America, Copa Libertadores, and UEFA Europa League, Africa Cup of Nations, FA Cup, Confederations Cup, etc.
Objectives of Soccer
The object of football, similar to other games, is to beat your opponent’s team by scoring more than it in a given period of time.
In football, points or score is known as goals. A goal is scored when an opponent player makes the ball enter in a well-guarded goalpost fixed at the end of each side of the field.
Note: The match is declared as a “draw” if both the teams have scored the same after the time is over.
Equipment You Needed to Play Football
A player has to be well equipped with the necessary stuff of the concerned game so as play it with complete spirit and simultaneously be on the safe side.
Unlike other sports, football is a very challenging, competitive, and toilsome game entailing stamina, proper care, and confidence to be on the field.
Your confidence will not hold ground until you have befitting equipment to guard yourself against brutal kicks, punches, and fists of your opponents.
Let’s have a glance at much-needed equipment for football.
1. Football Ball
The soccer ball is the first important piece of equipment in a football game. It’s manufactured with leather, filled with air, and has a round shape.
As per FIFA standards, the ball used by professional players must weigh 14 to 16 ounces with 27 or 28 inches in circumference. However, you may find it in various sizes as per the requirement of age level:
- Size 3 (23-24 inches circumference) ball is used by 8 years old kids.
- Size 4 (25-26 inches circumference) ball is used by 8-12 years old kids.
2. Uniform & Kit
The outfit for football players normally consists of a jersey and shorts. Players of the same team, except the goalkeeper, wear one colored jersey containing a specific name as well as a number of the players on the back side of it.
While goalkeepers of both teams have to wear a unique jersey with a unique color so as to look quite apparent on the field, thus making it convenient for both; the players and referee to recognize them.
A player is said to be in kit only when he is wearing almost everything necessary for the game, such as; a jersey, shorts, socks, shoes, shin guards, and gloves (for goalkeepers only).
3. Shin Guards
As an important component of a football kit, shin guards or pads provide your legs with proper protection against the kicks of your opponents.
These protective guards are worn on your legs and fixed inside your socks. Goalkeepers and forwards usually wear lighter shin guards, while defenders, midfielders, and strikers wear sturdy and heavier shin guards.
Remember! You should wear shin guards for your safety and comfort. They must not, in any case, bother you from running with utter ease.
Football, as its name signifies, is the game of continuous collision between your feet and the ball. This risky collision might cause great damage to your feet at any stage.
Thus, to reduce this risk, you must be in want of an enduring, strong, light, and grippy pair of shoes.
5. Gloves For Goalkeeper
The goalkeeper has the responsibility to guard goalposts by preventing the entry of the ball from being hit by opponent players. He is vulnerable and faces frequent attacks by players of the rival team.
Therefore, he ought to be well equipped with all the necessary components of his kit to cope with any aggression.