Soccer Football Facts
In each of our camps you can play soccer (we have facilities for it) …. So, have you ever wondered why we love it or when it was invented?
It is commonly accepted that soccer football as we know it was invented in England back in 1848 (although the documents with the rulebook are now lost and all that’s left is a rulebook from 1856). However, in the 14th century there was already a ball game, carnival soccer, which King Edward III forbade for two reasons: Firstly it was too violent and secondly, soldiers would rather play it than train with the sling and arrows.
According to scholars, this ball game could well be a version of a French sport called soule, which was played on an open field and consisted of carrying a ball back to a certain place. Rules usually changed from one game to another (fans of comic strips should know that this game was not unlike the Calvinball from Calvin & Hobbes) and, funnily enough, was also forbidden by a king since it could cause irreparable damage to crops.
Calcio florentino was much less violent, at least in the eyes of the authorities. It was played during the 16th century and its origins are a source of disagreement among historians: some say it was simply an evolution of carnival soccer, which had somehow gotten to all the way to Florence (Italy) from England, others say are it was every inch an Italian invention. Calcio was played in a specially designed field and its rules were permanent (they were written in 1580). One of them called for each team to have 27 players, 5 of which had to be goalkeepers. With so many people involved we can imagine how exciting it was… especially for the referee.
Games that remind us of soccer were also played in other, faraway countries. Even though they had no relation to the ones mentioned above. For instance, in China, during the Han dynasty (we are talking about the 1st and 2nd centuries BC here), tsu chu was a popular activity. It was a game where players would have to use their feet to put a ball inside of a net. There was a variation which allowed the players to dribble past others. Japan had something similar called kermari, but that was a very ceremonial game in which the ball could not touch the ground. This was further complicated by extremely baggy and well adorned uniforms
Pok-ta-pok was just a ceremonial Mayan ball game which might well be 3,000 years old. You may have heard about it on account of the old legend where the loser’s heads were severed. Of which, by the way, there is no evidence. Similarly, there’s no evidence connecting current soccer with Native North American Indians, Pasuckuakohowog – “those who gather to play a ball game with their feet” according to their name.
As you can see, the human race has been fascinated by soccer for centuries (going through all of its variations would take several pages). It’s no surprise that it’s considered the king of sports in Spain.
To read this article in Spanish click here.