Soccer in America has been coming into its own in recent years. Not only is America taking more of an interest in playing soccer, but now soccer in England, soccer in Italy, soccer in Brazil, and really soccer all over the world is capturing a wider and wider audience in the United States. As America develops its soccer culture and its interest in international soccer, it’s worth learning a bit of trivia about the world’s most beloved sport:
Where Did Soccer Come From?
A lot of countries claim to be the original origin of soccer, and games with some similarity to modern soccer were played in ancient cultures from China, Greece, Rome, and parts of Central America. But modern football (the name for the sport everywhere but in America) as we know it today comes from England. Organized soccer has been played there since 1848, when Cambridge University drew up the first official rules of the game. The English were the first to forbid players from touching the ball with the hands or tripping other players. The first World Cup was played in 1930, and is now played every four years.
Where Does the Soccer Ball Come From?
The distinctive modern soccer ball is made up of 32 panels, one for each country in Europe. The earliest balls were animal bladders covered in leather, and they didn’t last all that long. Also, each ball was a different size and shape, which made for very unpredictable shots. It wasn’t until 1836 that Charles Goodyear, from America, patented vulcanized rubber and made the first modern football for a game played on Boston Common.
How Popular is Soccer, Really?
Outside of America, it’s the most popular sport in the world. Every year around the globe, 25 million children play the game. The nation of Sweden has 45 national stadiums, and 240,000 licensed players, 56,000 of whom are women. The most successful South American team is Costa Rica, which played its first game in 1921 and has gone to four World Cups since then. Even towns with fewer than 200 people in Costa Rica and Guatemala still have their own soccer fields.
What is the State of Soccer in America?
Once hardly known, soccer interest has been steadily increasing, both in terms of fan base and actual players. In the 2014/15 season, more than 800,000 American children played soccer, and the total number of soccer players in America was up to 15 million in 2015. Although the national men’s soccer team has struggled, the women’s team from America is considered one of the world’s best, with three World Cups, four Olympic golds, and 10 Algarve Cups to their credit. The two biggest regional teams in America are the LA Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders.
Can You Give Me One More Interesting Fact?
Sure! In the game of soccer, a “hat trick” is when one player scores three points in a single game. The very first hat trick ever scored in a World Cup game was by American Bert Patenaude in a game against Paraguay in 1930.
Football is hugely popular wherever in the world you go. In fact, nearly 27% of all trips that people took in 2012 were solely to see a sporting event, international soccer tours among them, and 90% of trips involve a sports event in some way. That’s a huge amount of travel just to see a great game, but a real soccer enthusiast knows just why it’s like this.