When did Soccer Become a Sport ? Which Country Invented Soccer? A Look Back at Football’s Early History

When did soccer become a sport ? Soccer is the most passionate game on the planet. I still remember the overwhelming joy I felt when my beloved Barcelona overcame PSG 6-1 in the Champions League second leg in 2017 at the last minute.

According to the World Atlas, soccer is the most popular sport, with a 3.5 billion audience with a widespread passion for soccer. How did it all begin?

How Was Soccer Invented?

Modern soccer was invented in England around the 1860s when rugby was detached from soccer. However, the earliest forms of soccer are recorded in the second century B.C. in China during the Han Dynasty, where an ancient form of soccer, Tsu Chu was played.

Soccer is almost as old as human civilization, surviving and evolving through the ages and eras. Many schools of thought clash with how soccer was invented.

We’ll be exploring the exciting transformation of soccer from the Far East to when it became merged and modernized in England before it would later spread through Europe and the world.

when did soccer become a sport

When Was Soccer Invented?

The earliest proven history of soccer was in China around 255–206 B.C. in the era of the Han Dynasty. Soccer was a military ball game called Tsu Chu. The word Tsu Chu means kicking the ball.

In this game, they stuffed a leather ball with hair and feather. The players would have to show tremendous skill in controlling the ball with their legs, with the use of hands prohibited.

This game, however primitive, was as exciting as it was daring–as the game didn’t have the modern protective laws of today’s soccer.

The First Soccer Ball

The ball in this Tsu Chu early variant of soccer was about 35 cm wide. The game centered on players playing the ball into a net made from extended bamboo canes.

The net was one of the most prominent differences between modern soccer and Tsu Chu. In Tsu’ Chu, they elevated the net about 30 feet from the ground.

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Some five centuries later, Tsu Chu penetrated the Japanese sporting culture with soccer called the Japanese Kemari becoming prevalent.

While still being observed today, players in the Japanese Kemari form a ring and pass the ball among them without the ball dropping to the ground.

Doing this in a confined space, as in the Japanese Kemari, required exquisite skill and ball control.

Ancient Greek Soccer

While these ancient histories of soccer are the documented precursors of today’s soccer, there are yet stories of soccer being played in 2500 B.C. in Greece in the form of the Greek Episkyros.

For this intriguing game, players moved the ball over the boundary marks of their opponents. They achieved this with substantial dribbling, perseverance, and speed.

Other reports of soccer being played in ancient Mesoamerica about 3200 B.C. Here, the ball was symbolic of the sun. and the team captain who loses the game would be sacrificed to the gods!

The English And European Soccer Beginnings

As we know it today, Soccer persevered through the medieval era and shot to prominence in England in the early nineteenth century.

Before now, in the ninth century, soccer had already menacingly manifested in England. Here, a pig’s bladder was played across locations.

This game, which was more nuisance than entertainment, was prohibited in some areas of old Britain.

Soccer was reinvented in the 19th century in England. By this time, soccer was still a mash of rugby procedures and typical soccer procedures. Players could still handle the ball and grapple.

While high tackles were penalized, and the goalkeepers were already in place at both ends, the post had no bars.

This form of soccer was played in British public schools. There was no defined ball size, the soccer match’s duration, and no limit on the number of players each team could feature.

Elton and Rugby were the schools leading the soccer evolution in Britain through the 1800s.

The Early Mix Of Soccer & Rugby

While at Rugby, players could maneuver the ball with their hands and their feet, the games at Elton rules were to move the ball with feet alone, involving technique with the leg.

While they referred to the game at Elton as ‘the dribbling game’, the games at Rugby were called ‘the running game’. Therefore the Elton variant was the closest relative of modern football.

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This mix between rugby and soccer continued until a revolutionary meeting in Cambridge in 1848 to stipulate the game’s laws.

Rugby Transitioned To Soccer

The FA restricted the carrying of the ball with hands in open play, while tripping and shin-kicking were also outlawed from soccer. The size of the ball was decided as well as the weight.

The Blackheath club preferred to retain the physicality (or violence) inherent in rugby; hence they left, and eleven clubs agreed to remain with the football association and formally abide by the newly formed gameplay rules.

The resultant effect was the formal separation between soccer and rugby as we have them today.

The First Soccer Clubs

While soccer has been famous in England since the fifteenth century, it lacked the organization and formality we see in the game today. Small communities and teams of players existed.

These teams had no official status, so that they couldn’t be official clubs.

Formal soccer clubs began in Edinburgh far back in 1824. Before now, they played soccer between school teams.

The oldest soccer club today is Notts County, which formed in 1862, in Nottingham, England.

The industrial revolution of the mid-18th century in Europe, which was rampant in England, contributed to improved logistics for soccer as multitudes could move across (with emerging comprehensive networks of railways) to watch matches.

Bigger stadiums were built, and publicity was on the upsurge for soccer.

The First Professional Players

This enhanced the commercial nature of soccer, with tickets now being sold to games and clubs paying soccer players to become professional athletes.

The first professional football league season had twelve participating clubs. The number shot up quickly, and by 1871, many professional clubs in England were contesting for the Football Association Challenge Cup (otherwise known as the F.A. Cup).

Which country invented soccer?

The early days of the sport take us to China, where “Tsu’ Chu” – pronounced tsoo-joo – was coined as a form of kickball, according to FIFA. This happened during the Han Dynasty from 206 BC to 220 AD. The ball was made of leather and stuffed with feathers and hair, with the goal being a small net attached to long bamboo canes.

Other early forms of the game include the Japanese “Kemari”, which started around 500-600 years after Tsu’ Chu, Greece’s “Episkyros” and the Roman “Harpastum”.

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Kemari is a form of players not letting the ball touch the ground as they all stand in a circle, which is still played today. There’s not many details on Episkyros, but Harpastum took some inspiration from it.

Harpastum’s main objective, which featured two teams and a small ball similar to the size of a softball, was for a team to keep the ball on their side of the field for as long as possible.

Tackling, wrestling and fighting appeared to have been permitted, but concrete details are not known, according to FIFA and History of Soccer.

Did England invent soccer?

England is typically credited for inventing the modernized version of the sport beginning in 1863 with the founding of the Football Association, which differs from China’s origins.

The sport was played in England in smaller ways before the Football Association was founded, but having an official governing body helped establish rules that are still developing to this day.

When did the first ever international soccer game take place?

National teams from Scotland and England collided on Nov. 30, 1872, in what FIFA recognizes today as soccer’s first international match. The 0-0 draw between the two countries took place in front of a crowd of 4,000 people who packed into the see fledgling sport be played on the cricket grounds at Hamilton Crescent in Glasgow, Scotland.

when did soccer become a sport

Why do English fans say ‘It’s Coming Home’?

England’s national football team nickname is the Three Lions. In a song by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds titled “Three Lions” released in 1996, the lyrics “It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming, football’s coming home” are what English fans started singing when the UEFA Euro 1996 tournament was held in England.

The slogan for the tournament was “Football Comes Home” as a way to refer to the sport’s history and the hope that England would finally win a major international trophy after having a drought that has lasted since 1966, when it won the World Cup.

England finished the 1996 tournament as semifinalists and still have not won a major title since, but came close when it was runner-ups to Italy in the UEFA Euro 2020 competition that was held in 2021 due to COVID-19.

With England in Group B with the U.S., Wales and Iran in Qatar in 2022, keep a lookout for fans chanting and social media users saying “It’s coming home” as a nod to the Three Lions’ football program – one that is hoping to end a 56-year international title drought.

Above is information when did soccer become a sport.  Hopefully, through the above content, you have a more detailed understanding of when did soccer become a sport .Thank you for reading our post.

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