Each and every society had its own pastime that helped them unwind after the rigorous events of the day. Some of these pastimes evolved to be today some of the most popular games around the world whereas some dissipated, never again to be remembered by generations to come. Football was one of the pastimes that have stood the test of time and has attracted huge followings around the globe. Football arguably is the most entertaining game to watch in modern day and age.
The earliest form of what is presently called football was traced its roots back to the Romans and Greeks. Greeks played a version of football known as harpatson, whose concepts have close similarities to modern football. Scoring a goal by kicking the ball past the goal line, running with the ball past the goal line or throwing the ball to another player who is across the line is the aim of the game. The modern version of the game is however believed to have originated from England in the twelfth century where it took the country by the storm to the extent that the monarchs at the time such as Edward II banned the game as it was drawing the peoples attention away from traditional games such as archery. The game underwent various modifications. Rugby came to be when a schoolboy tucked the ball under his arm and dashed right across their opponents goal. From there versions of football that played the kicking game as well as the ball-carrying game came into existence.
In 1863, a number of clubs aligned to the kicking game assembled in London and formed London Football Association and came up with the uniform code. This version later came to be known as soccer. The groups aligned to the ball carrying game met in 1871 and formed the rugby football union, which later came to be known as rugby football. The two associations still exist to date, each overseeing the operations of its respective game. In the United States, the first known form of football was played in the colony of Virginia in 1609 using a pressurized bladder. Scholars at the New Jersey college currently the Princeton University played a soccer game known as ballown in 1820, in which they advanced the ball towards their opponents goal line by punching it with their fists; marking the beginning of soccer in American institutions. The first intercollegiate competitions officially kicked off in 1869 where Rutgers and Princeton faced off. The game was, however, more similar to soccer than the modern day American football.
The three football versions today have elaborate governance systems that regulate the games and make them uniform throughout the world. The Rugby Union is in charge of formalizing the operations of rugby, FIFA in charge of soccer affairs whereas the NFL is in charge of football in America. Each version of the game is dominant in some countries, though the other versions are still played, only that they are overshadowed by the dominant ones. Rugby, for instance, is the most popular version of football in New Zeeland, the United States is famed for football whereas soccer is most popular in South American countries such as Argentina and Brazil. Nations such as England have an almost equal balance in terms of popularity of rugby and soccer. Rugby in America is popularly known as football, whereas in other countries football is deemed to be the kicking game and not the ball-carrying the game. To distinguish between the two, soccer is used to refer to the kicking version of football and not the ball carrying version.
A soccer match is played by two teams, each comprising of eleven players. A soccer match lasts for 90 minutes with a break after 45 minutes. All players can only use their feet, head or chest to advance the ball. The goal keeper is the only player who is allowed to handle the ball and only within their designated goal area. The purpose of football is to score a goal by kicking or heading the ball past the opponents goal line. The game is controlled by a central referee assisted by two lines men. Free kicks and penalties are awarded every time a player violates the rules of the game. If the ball crosses the boundary line of the field, it is thrown back by the team that was not the last to touch or kick the ball.
Rugby and American football are considered physical sports because they involve hitting and require mental and physical toughness. The games are similar though they differ in the use of equipment, rules and players. Football players put on helmets and pads to absorb the shock when hit and prevent injuries. In rugby, there is no use of pads. In footballs point system, a score, also known as a touchdown, is worth six points. Rugby score is known as a try and is worth five points. A rugby team is allowed to make a provisional squad of 22 players, but only 15 players can play on the field at any given match. In football, however, a provisional squad of up to 53 players is allowed, but only 11 players can play in a match at any given time.
Football one of the most exciting games to watch and it has attracted huge followings across the globe. Huge investments have been pumped to advance the game, and it has grown celebrity superstars in each version of the game. The game has evolved over time to be what it has come to be today.
Heatley, Michael. 2004. A History Of Football. Stroud: Sutton.
Helmer, Diana Star, and Tom Owens. 2000. The History Of Football. New York: PowerKids Press.
Murray, Colin. 2010. A Random History Of Football. London: Orion.
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