Football is the most popular sport in the world right now. It enjoys a worldwide audience numbering over 3 billion, and football clubs from all over the world are brimming with new recruits of all ages. But, did you know that the game’s history can be traced back all the way to the Ancient era? If you are a fan of football, as well as a fan of history and trivia, you might enjoy this article, where we are going to go over some fun facts about the world’s favorite game.
Football’s Roots Are Quite Long
The game as we know it today was officially created in the 19th century, in England. It was the document known as the Cambridge Rules that many historians cite as the starting point of the sport proper. However, the roots of football date back much further. In fact, if we were to follow them, they would take us back all the way to Ancient China, where the game cuju was being played as far back as the 200s BCE.
In Ancient Greece, kick ball games like episkyros were very popular, and in many ways resembled the game that we all love today. Certain historians have even suggested that placing bets on these games was not uncommon. Today, most punters prefer to bet on sports online, as it is much easier to access a website when you are on the go, or in the comfort of your own home. However, back in the ancient world, the process would have to have been done live, as the game was being played.
“Soccer” Comes from the UK
We already established that the modern iteration of the game was created in England. However, many people nowadays believe that the United States created the term “soccer” to refer to the game. This belief is a misconception. The term “soccer” to describe the game which Europeans refer to as football, was actually coined in the United Kingdom.
In the 1870s, Oxford students would use shortened forms of words, adding the suffix –er to them. So, rugby became rugger, football became footer, and association football became…that’s right, soccer. That term took off in some parts of England, and soon was adopted by the United States…However, it isn’t just the USA that calls it soccer.
Who Calls It Soccer?
There are quite a few more countries that call football, soccer. The United States and Canada are two of the most prominent examples. However, they are far from the only ones. In Ireland, New Zealand and Australia, the words football and soccer are often used interchangeably. The same is true for quite a few African countries, most notably Nigeria. In South Africa and in the Kingdom of Lesotho the term has remained soccer since the game’s introduction. Pakistan is also fond of calling it soccer. The game is also called soccer in a few USA-affiliated countries, such as American Samoa and the USA Virgin Islands.