How was football invented

Who invented soccer?

Football is one of the most popular sports in the world. Almost everywhere there is a game of football. But since when? And where first? Erik, 7 years old, wants to know who invented football.

Football excited people hundreds of years ago. This illustration shows a football game in Dresden at the end of the 19th century. Source: pd

Nobody can tell the exact place where the game of soccer was invented. One thing is certain: people all over the world have been kicking round objects and balls for 2,000 to 3,000 years. Sure - football didn't look like it does today. Equipment and rules had to develop. The principle that two teams competed against each other did not exist from the start.

The first soccer-like game was probably played in China 2,500 years ago. We know this from images on paintings and vases that have been preserved. The game was called Cuju, which means something like "kick your foot against a ball". There wasn't a big pitch like today at Cuju, but the goal was to score goals. Players first juggled the ball with their feet and then had to shoot it through a hole in a net suspended between bamboo poles.

The Japanese Kemari was not about goals, but rather about ball and body control. This sport was played by aristocrats at Japanese courts around 1500 years ago. At Kemari, four to eight players face each other on a small playing field and try to pass balls to each other with their feet.

In Central America, too, balls were hunted down early on, perhaps even earlier than in China, namely 3,000 years ago. Peoples like the Olmecs in Mexico, but also later the Mayans and Aztecs, drove a rubber ball with their hands and feet, which had to be pushed through a hole in a stone. Winning was vital here because the losers were sometimes sacrificed at the end of the game.

The motherland of football in Europe is England. Football was already here in the Middle Ages, but was banned by King Edward in 1314 because the players were always seriously injured. That was because there were hardly any rules and whole villages competed against each other. The landscape between the settlements served as a playing field, the city gates as gates. The football ban was lifted again in 1618, and binding rules were drawn up 200 years later.

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