Who Invented Soccer? A History Lesson in Soccer

Who Invented Soccer? A History Lesson in Soccer

Have you ever wondered, who invented soccer and how long has it been around? Luckily for you, the soccer geeks at SoccerNovo have your answer!

Soccer, or football as it’s known in many parts of the world, is the most popular sport on the planet. It’s played by millions of people in every country, from small villages to the biggest cities. But, the origin is sometimes unclear.

Who Invented Soccer

There are several theories about the history of soccer, but it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly who invented the game.

Some historians believe that soccer can be traced back to ancient China, where a game called cuju was played as early as the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE).

Others claim that the game originated in ancient Greece and Rome, where soldiers would kick around a ball made of animal bladders as a form of exercise. Others say, that Lionel Messi invented it.

One of the most widely accepted theories is that soccer was invented in England during the Middle Ages. The game was played by villagers who would kick a ball made of rags or animal bladders from one end of the village to the other. Over time, the game evolved and became more organized, with rules and regulations being established. In 1863, the Football Association was founded in England, which standardized the rules of the game and helped to spread it around the world.

Let’s dive in…

Origins of Soccer (or Football)

Ancient Times

The history of soccer dates back to ancient times, where various cultures played ball games that involved kicking a ball with their feet.

The Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese all appear to have partaken in games involving a ball and feet. Most of these games included the use of hands, feet, and even sticks to control a ball.

The Chinese were the first to get their kicks by kicking balls into nets for sport in the third century B.C.

The Aztecs may have invented the earliest version of the game. The Aztec soccer game was known as ‘Tchatali,’ where the aim was to get the ball through a stone hoop…without using your hands.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, soccer-like games were played in Europe, particularly in England. The games were often played between rival villages or towns and involved a large number of players.

The rules of the game varied from place to place, and there were often no clear boundaries or goals. Players would often kick the ball between two trees or posts to score a goal. The game was often violent and dangerous, with players using their hands and feet to control the ball.

In the 19th century, soccer was formalized in England, and the first soccer clubs were formed. The rules of the game were standardized, and the first soccer association was formed in 1863. This is why many say that soccer was invented in England.

The game of soccer quickly spread to other parts of the world, and today, it is one of the most popular sports played in countries around the globe.

Influential People in Soccer’s Invention

Ebenezer Cobb Morley

Ebenezer Cobb Morley is considered one of the founding fathers of modern soccer. He was the first secretary of the Football Association (FA), which was established in 1863. Morley played a significant role in the development of the Laws of the Game, which are still used today. He was instrumental in standardizing the rules of soccer and making it a more organized sport.

Morley was also responsible for establishing the first soccer club, the Barnes Football Club, in 1862. He was the club’s first captain and played an active role in promoting the sport in his local community.

Morley’s contributions to the sport of soccer were recognized in 2008 when he was posthumously inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame 👏

Charles W Alcock

Charles W Alcock was the secretary of the FA for over 25 years and played a crucial role in promoting the sport both nationally and internationally.

Alcock was responsible for organizing the first international soccer match between England and Scotland in 1872, which helped to popularize the sport around the world.

In addition to his work with the FA, Alcock was also a successful soccer player and manager. He played for the Wanderers Football Club, which won the first FA Cup in 1872. Alcock also managed the Surrey County Cricket Club and was a prominent figure in the world of sports journalism.

Both Morley and Alcock played pivotal roles in the early development of soccer. Their contributions helped to establish the sport as we know it today and laid the foundation for its future growth and success.

Modern Soccer

The game’s modern form was shaped by the establishment of standardized rules and the formation of football associations.

Codification of Rules

In 1848, the Cambridge Rules were introduced, which were the first set of standardized rules for soccer. These rules were adopted by various schools and clubs in England, leading to a more consistent style of play across the country.

However, there were still many variations of the game being played, which led to confusion and disputes.

In 1863, representatives from various soccer clubs and schools in England met in London to establish a unified set of rules for the game. This led to the formation of the Football Association (FA), which is still the governing body of soccer in England today.

Formation of Football Association

The FA was founded on October 26, 1863, with the goal of standardizing the rules of soccer and promoting the game’s growth. The first set of standardized rules were published in 1863, and the FA Cup, the oldest soccer competition in the world, was established in 1871.

The formation of the FA had a significant impact on the development of soccer. The standardized rules helped to create a more consistent style of play, which made the game easier to understand and more enjoyable to watch in Europe. The FA Cup also helped to popularize the game, as it provided a platform for clubs from across the country to compete against each other.

All the English rules and structure leaked into the American game and other parts of the world. Today, soccer is truly a global sport where many of the established historical rules apply from country to country and league to league.

First Soccer Game

The origins of soccer can be traced back to ancient China, where a game called cuju was played. However, the first recorded soccer game took place in England in the mid-19th century. The game was played between two teams of 25 players each, and the objective was to kick the ball into the opposing team’s goal.

First International Soccer Game

The first international soccer game was played between Scotland and England in 1872. The game was played in Glasgow, Scotland, and ended in a 0-0 tie. The game was significant because it marked the beginning of international soccer competition.

First Major League Soccer (MLS) Game

The first Major League Soccer (MLS) game was played on April 6, 1996, between the San Jose Clash and D.C. United. The game was played at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California, and ended in a 1-0 victory for San Jose. The game was significant because it marked the beginning of professional soccer in the United States. Since then, the MLS has risen in popularity and NOW Messi is part of the evolving professional soccer league.

Soccer’s Global Spread

Soccer, also known as football, is played in nearly every country and is often called the world’s favorite game.

The game’s official history spans over 100 years, but people have enjoyed the sport for much longer than that. The origins of soccer can be traced back to ancient times when people played similar games using balls made of animal bladders or other materials.

The sport’s popularity can be attributed to a number of factors, including its simplicity, affordability, and accessibility.

Today, soccer is played at all levels, from youth leagues to professional teams, and is enjoyed by millions of people around the world. The sport’s global appeal has also led to the creation of numerous international competitions, including the FIFA World Cup, which is held every four years and is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world.

If you are lucky enough to be a player, parent of a player, or simply a fan of the game,


In conclusion, the origins of soccer are still a matter of debate. While the British Football Association is credited with codifying the game and creating the modern rules, the sport has a much longer history that dates back to ancient China and Mesoamerica.

There are several theories about how the game evolved over time, and it is likely that different cultures played variations of the sport that eventually merged into what we know as soccer today.

Despite the lack of a definitive answer, it is clear that soccer has become one of the most popular sports in the world. Millions of people play the game at all levels, from young kids to professionals, and it has a rich cultural history that spans continents and centuries.

Overall, the question of who invented soccer may never be fully answered, but the sport’s enduring popularity is a testament to its universal appeal and the passion it inspires in players and fans.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of soccer?

Soccer, also known as football, has a long and complex history. The origins of the sport can be traced back to ancient times, with some historians claiming that versions of the game were played in China and Mesoamerica over 5,000 years ago. However, the modern game as we know it today began to take shape in England in the 19th century, where it quickly became a popular pastime.

Where Was Soccer Invented?

There is much debate about where soccer was invented. While the sport as we know it today was developed in England, some historians believe that similar games were played in other parts of the world long before that.

When was soccer first played?

The first official soccer game was played on December 19th, 1863, between two teams in England: Barnes Football Club and Richmond Football Club. This game is considered a seminal moment in the history of soccer, as it marked the beginning of the sport’s international recognition.

Who is credited with inventing soccer?

The question of who invented soccer is still unclear. Some historians credit the ancient Greeks and Romans with inventing a game called harpastum, while others point to games played in China and Mesoamerica as the true origins of soccer. Ultimately, the question of who invented soccer is one that may never be fully resolved. However, the sport as we know it today was developed in England, it is likely that similar games were played in other parts of the world long before that.

Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created soccernovo.com to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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