I was surprised to find out that there is evidence of soccer being played, as a game, dating back as far back as the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC in China. It was during the Han dynasty that people started dribbling balls of hand-stitched leather by kicking them into a small net. And evidence proves that the early Greeks and Romans played a type of football, as well. Most experts agree that the rise of modern soccer began in England. One rather odd fact suggests that the first ball used, was actually the head of some Danish brigand, or gang member. During Medieval times, many bad practices were allow; biting, kicking, punching, and gouging. (Very bad sportsmanship, don't you think?) During the matches, competition grew so fierce that violence often broke out...seems not much has changed in that area, unfortunately.
King Edward III banned football in 1365 because of the intense violence that always seemed to erupt. In 1424, King James of Scotland also passed a law banning the sport.
To date soccer has been played, nearly continuously, for at least 3000 years!
In 1815 soccer began to gain popularity in universities and schools throughout Great Britain. The English School and Eton College came up with, essentially, the first set of written rules for playing football. They were called the Cambridge Rules. But the beginning of true modern-day soccer started in 1863 with the formation of the Football Association and a set of standard rules for playing the game that all teams were to follow. By 1869, the Football Association had strictly banned any kind of handling of the ball. Soccer's popularity grew worldwide when British sailors introduced the game to their ports of call around the globe. FIFA (Federation of International Football Association) was established in 1904. By the 1930's different leagues were operating in various countries. FIFA is credited with organizing the first soccer World Cup games in Uruguay. And the rest is history, as they say.
I enjoy being active and I know I'll enjoy my lessons this weekend. If, for no other reason, then having a better understanding of the game next time I watch a match on the telly. Get ready Rio, here I come! (Not really, but the frog likes to dream.)
See you all back here on Monday. Happy Weekend.