Football, or ‘soccer’ as it is known in some parts of the world, including the USA, Canada, Southern Africa, Australia, as well as several parts of Asia, is the most widely played sport in the world. Unlike many other sports, where people are only introduced to it at school or college, football is played by boys and girls from as young as two or three years of age. The game is played in the streets of big cities, in housing estates and ghettos, in small villages and remote regions, and everywhere in between.
Football is the most instinctive of all sports, making it easily accessible, to predict on at online sites and sportsbooks, and of course easy to learn by just about anyone. The basic principle is quite simple, form a team and work together to get the ball across the field of play and into your opponent’s net to score a goal. The team with the most goals at the end of the allotted time, wins!
Apart from this, football is more than just a sport. It teaches children and young adults to work together towards a common goal, something that can be used in every aspect of the individual’s life inside and outside of the game. It teaches discipline and camaraderie. It helps to keep kids that may be growing up in tough or poor neighbourhoods from turning to a life of crime or violence. Football keeps both the mind and body fit and sharp and helps develop problem solving skills and a certain amount of initiative too.
The game of football has never waned in popularity through the ages which in itself is quite remarkable. The game remains the game of the people and was once referred to as “the beautiful game” by a man named Edson Arantes do Nascimento. While that name is admittedly quite a mouthful, you may perhaps better know him as Pelé, considered by football writers, players and fans to be the greatest footballer of all time. A living legend, Pelé played as a forward for his home country of Brazil and combined power in kicking, with accuracy and an uncanny ability to predict what other players on the field would do, scoring a jaw dropping 1281 goals during his career, more than anyone else in history.
Where Does the Word ‘Soccer’ Come From?
Since the majority of fans call the game ‘football’, one has to wonder where the word ‘soccer’ comes from that some nations use to refer to the same game. Interestingly, the word is an abbreviation which is derived from the words “Association Football”. During the 19th century in England, a number of ball-related sports were becoming popular at upper class English schools. Most of these games shared the same basic principles, involving two opposing teams both attempting to get some sort of ball, either round or oval, across the opposing teams half of the field and into some sort of scoring area. However, the rules concerning how this was achieved varied considerably. Two of the most popular of these games eventually made their way to the North America, where one version was adopted in favour of the other.
This version became known as American Football, while the other version, officially adopted by English players, became known as Association Football. Americans began to call their version simply as ‘football’ and to distinguish it from the other game, which was played predominantly with the feet and used a round ball as ‘soccer’, the ‘soc’ being extracted from the word ‘association’. After some time, the England team began to refer to their version as football, which is still used today.
A Dozen Interesting Football Facts You May Not Have Known About
Football is a fascinating game, with a long and colourful history, filled with all sorts of interesting facts, astounding events and larger than life legends. If you are just discovering the beautiful game, perhaps the following dozen facts, foibles and crazy real-life events may interest you and may even inspire you to go out and make your own interesting and crazy football legends and facts.
- Football is by far the most watched sport in the world, with millions watching weekly games all over the globe. During a World Cup, well over a billion fans will watch live coverage of daily matches.
- The game of football can trace its origins back to Ancient China, were a version of the game was played in around 476 B.C.
- The most goals ever scored in a single game was 16, which were all scored by a single player named Stephan Stanis who played for French team Racing Club de Lens, December 1942.
- The first football club to come into existence was formed in Sheffield, England in 1857. The club, called the English Sheffield Football Club was formed by two British Army officers, Major William Priest and Colonel Nathaniel Cresswick.
- Goalkeepers in football games always wear a different shirt or color to their teammates. However, they did not have to start doing this until 1913.
- With the exception of 1930 and 1950, European football teams have managed to advance to the final stage of every World Cup.
- A famous footballer named Luigi Riva once broke a spectator’s arm with one of his powerful football shots.
- The first black footballer to ever play the game was a man named Arthur Wharton, who played in the 1800’s.
- The most red cards ever handed out during a match was 20, issued during a game between two Paraguayan teams, Sportive Ameliano and General Caballero.
- The largest football tournament in the world took place in Bangkok in 1999. The Bangkok League Seven a Side Competition saw over 5098 teams competing.
- During an average football match, some players will run an average of 9.70 km in total.
- The very first live coverage of a football match ever recorded took pace in 1937 at Highbury Stadium, where English team Arsenal were participating in a friendly practice match.