Soccer or football as we know it, has been played since ancient times by the Greeks, Romans, Italians, Chinese, Japanese, Persians etc., both as a sport and to sharpen their warrior instincts. English king Edward III and the Scottish king James I passed laws to suppress the game. Queen Elizabeth of England passed a law which imprisoned football players for a week and made them do penance. The first rules of the game were framed by Eton College, London, in 1815 and then were standardized by Cambridge in 1848. Football was now officially divided two camps ï¿½ the Rugby School, which allowed shin ï¿½ kicking, tripping and carrying of the ball, while the Cambridge rules forbade hand use.
The game as we know it took shape in England in 1863 with the formation of the first London Football Association, when the rugby and football associations decided to go their separate ways on 8th December, 1863. In 1869, the Football Association forbade the use of hands in the game and that is how the game is played today. The twelve founding clubs of football were Aston Villa, Accrington (Old Reds), Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston North End, Stoke City, West Bromwich, Albion, Wolverhampton and the Wanderers. The first legue match was held on 8th September, 1888 Within the nest twenty years the Association had formulated the rules of the game and soon it was being played all over Europe with great enthusiasm.
By 1871, the Football Association had fifty member clubs and the FA cup began. The league championships followed seventeen years later. In the 1880s, Charles Wreford Brown coined the term ‘soccer’ for the game. Initially, a sport meant for the elite, the game slowly evolved as the favorite past time of the common people. The first international match between England and Scotland was held in 1872. The growing interest of the people, players and the countries resulted in a change in the character of the game, making it more competitive and brought in an element of professionalism. The popularity of the game grew and it was played at the Olympics in 1900.
The Federation of International de Football Association of FIFA as it is more commonly known was formed in 1904 and the first ever world cup was played in 1930. The first football association in the United States called the U.S. Soccer Federation was formed in 1913. The whole of America watched American football until in 1975, a Brazilian by the name of Pele joined the New York Cosmos team. He brought about a revolution in the game and made it even more popular. He was the greatest ever soccer player and after his retirement in 1977, soccer took a backseat and the North American Soccer league was finally dissolved in 1985.
Major League Soccer, founded in 1993, played its first season in 1996 with ten teams and thirty ï¿½ two regular games. The women were not far behind and the first ever women’s team played in 1991.