History of Soccer | Football for Kids

Imagine standing on a vast field, stretching out before you like a sea of green. The sun casts its golden rays, warming the air around you. Excitement crackles in the air. Your heart races with anticipation as you step onto the grass.

With each stride, the ground beneath your feet feels soft and supportive. Your body tingles with energy. The game begins, and you gracefully move with purpose and skill. 

Your feet dance across the field. A black and white ball joins you as you pass and manipulate it with precision. A symphony of understanding passes between you and your teammates. No words are needed, for your actions speak louder than any words. You share a connection knowing where to be and when.

Onlookers watch in awe, their eyes wide with admiration. And then, in a thrilling moment, it happens. The ball comes to you, and you see an opportunity. You run forward, your heart pounding. With all your strength, you kick the ball toward the goal.

Time seems to slow down as you watch the ball soar through the air. The crowd holds its breath, their eyes locked on the spinning sphere. And then, with a thud, the ball finds the back of the net.

Cheers explode around you as your teammates rush to celebrate. You’re surrounded by hugs, high-fives, and smiles. You’ve scored a goal, a moment of triumph that fills your heart with joy.

This is soccer, also known as football in most countries outside of the United States. It’s easily the most popular sport in the world. It passes through borders and connects cultures. It is a sport that unites teammates and brings joy to millions of hearts around the globe. It’s a game that captures the essence of teamwork, perseverance, and the spirit of competition. 

Join us as we learn about the history of soccer…

A long time ago in the 12 century a simpler version of soccer called ‘Folk ball’ was played in English meadows. It was quite different from the soccer we know today. People used their fists to punch the ball and tackle each other. They played pretty rough and it was known to be a very violent game. It wasn’t until later that the British government made soccer a much safer sport by changing the rules. 

The game was played between English public schools, but each school had its own rules, some allowed you to carry the ball,  while others didn’t allow players to pick it up at all.

The different rules made it hard for schools to play each other. That is until 1848 when the Cambridge Rules were adopted. That’s when soccer and rugby became two separate sports and touching the ball with your hands became illegal. 

Have you ever heard of rugby? Unlike soccer, players in rugby can use their hands to pass the ball backward or kick it forward. The game is known to be pretty physical because players can tackle the other team to stop them from scoring.

For many years soccer was mostly played between local schools, but that was soon to change by the Industrial Revolution. 

The Industrial Revolution was a time in history when big changes happened in how things were made. Before, most things were made by hand, but during the Industrial Revolution, machines were invented to do the work faster and more efficiently.

These machines were powered by steam engines and later by electricity. Factories were built where these machines were used to make all sorts of things like clothes, tools, and even food. This meant that more things could be made in less time, and it changed the way people lived and worked.

When factories started popping up, their workers began playing soccer.  They formed teams based on their jobs and played the game after work as a social activity. Then something really important happened: railroads were introduced, which meant that teams could travel to other places and play against different teams. 

This is how the first soccer leagues were created. During this time, teams started paying the best players to join them and people started buying tickets to watch the star players in action. This changed soccer from just a fun game to a professional sport.

At the same time in England, the first amateur soccer club was born. 

The members of the cricket team wanted to stay active during the winter months, so they started playing friendly soccer matches during this time. Eventually, they formed an official soccer team called Sheffield FC, which was established in 1857. 

They made their own rules for the game, but after some time, they decided to follow the rules set by the Football Association (FA).

Soccer was becoming very popular all over England, and the leading clubs started playing against each other. In 1888, the English Football League was created, which made the game even more organized. Around the same time, soccer started gaining popularity in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. By 1890, all four countries in the United Kingdom had their own leagues and competed against each other.

After soccer became popular in England, it quickly spread to other countries around the world. In the late 19th century, only a few national football teams existed. England and Scotland played their first match against each other in the 1870s.

In 1903, a French journalist named Robert Guérin wanted to create an organization that would oversee international soccer. He gathered representatives from seven nations together in Paris. Their goal was to unite national soccer associations worldwide. 

These seven countries including Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, are now recognized as the founding members of the Federation Internationale de Football Association also known as FIFA.

Since it began in Paris, FIFA has grown into the world’s most popular sports organization. Every four years, FIFA hosts an incredible event called the World Cup, which brings together teams from all around the world, both men and women to prove who is the best soccer team in the world. The World Cup is incredibly popular and attracts millions of fans. It is the second most-watched international sporting event, right after the Olympic Games. 

When it comes to wins at the World Cup, one country stands out. This is the country of Brazil in South America. Brazil has an impressive record, having won the tournament FIVE times. Not only that, but Brazil has also participated in every single World Cup, showing their consistency and talent on the field.

As the years go by, the popularity of the World Cup continues to soar. In 2018, when the tournament was hosted by Russia, 3.5 billion people from all corners of the globe watched the matches. This number was even higher than the previous World Cup held in Brazil, showing the growing excitement and love for the game.

Although soccer can be a fun game that we play with our friends, for many people it is much more than just a casual activity. Soccer holds a special place in the hearts of millions around the world. It is a passion, a way of life, and a source of joy and excitement. 

From young children dreaming of becoming professional players to dedicated fans who cheer for their favorite teams, soccer has the power to ignite emotions, create lifelong bonds, and even create super athletes that we watch today. 

Two of the most famous soccer players are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi, born in Argentina, began his soccer journey at a young age. He joined Barcelona’s youth academy at 13 and quickly rose through the ranks. Messi’s incredible skills and scoring ability helped him win many titles with Barcelona, including La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. 

He left Barcelona in 2021 and joined Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Messi’s humble nature and millions of dollars of donations have also made him an admired figure off the field as well. Cristiano Ronaldo also showed exceptional talent from a young age. His journey started at Sporting CP before moving to Manchester United in 2003. 

Ronaldo’s remarkable skills, speed, and goal-scoring ability led him to great success. Off the field, Ronaldo has been involved in various charities, which means giving of his money, and is known for his dedication to fitness and professionalism. 

Messi and Ronaldo are just two soccer athletes who have influenced the game of soccer in their own unique ways. Their success stories reflect how soccer has the power to change lives. Both Messi and Ronaldo come from humble backgrounds and faced numerous challenges on their paths to stardom. Through hard work, perseverance, and their incredible talents, they have become role models and global icons.

Soccer is a sport that brings communities together, instills values of teamwork and perseverance. Whether played on dusty fields or crowded stadiums, soccer is able to capture the imagination and unite people from different backgrounds in a shared love for the beautiful game.