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Although soccer may not draw in as much national attention in the United States as it does in other countries, it still has a lively scene. What it lacks in numbers, its American fan base makes up for in passion. Even though soccer may never live up to the same hype as American football in the nation, it still has a rich history that has brought it to where it is today.

Many people may be surprised to find out that soccer, more widely known as football in other countries, traces all the way back to 300 B.C. However, it is not hard to imagine when you consider that individuals in this age needed ways to entertain themselves, as they had no form of technology giving them a reason to stay indoors. FIFA recognizes the Chinese sport of Cuju as the earliest origins of soccer, as the gameplay had a very close resemblance to the popular sport. The Japanese, ancient Greeks and Romans all additionally had ball games played with feet that strike some resemblance to current soccer.

There are additional reports of similar ball games played by groups in Greenland, by Native Americans and by Indigenous Australians throughout the 1500s to 1800s. Europe experimented with some medieval sports in these years. As one can imagine, these could get gruesome at some points, as the medieval period has a history of. However, in later years, European nations began integrating this sport into school systems.

As the sport began to gain popularity throughout Europe, it began to capture the eyes of those wanting to create unified laws to the game and turn it into a more serious hobby. In 1863, English football formed the world’s first Football Association, the FA. From here on, nations began founding teams and football clubs, leading up to the first football tournament, the Youdan Cup. In the years that followed, national tournaments and games began being organized and played professionally. Rather than only being a leisure activity, football/soccer transformed into a tactical team sport. A few decades later, in 1904, FIFA was founded, and Europe joined the organization two years into its existence. 

In the century since, football has seen many improvements and has continued its infiltration into other nations. Between being introduced to the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup becoming a big deal and some major milestones being made in tournaments, soccer has seen its fair share of growth. Although it is not as prominent in the United States as other countries around the world, its rich heritage and historical roots make it one of the world’s most treasured sports.