While it is undisputed that the origins of modern soccer, or football, originated in Britain, there is a great deal of evidence that points to this beloved game as having an older history.

Where did the game of soccer really begin, and how old is it? To understand how many different varieties of “soccer” there are, you need to understand a bit about the older versions of the game and how they have evolved.

Below, you will find a list of the predominant cultures that had a variety of soccer, and learn how each one differs from what we play today. And no, they never used anything like Lotto shinguards back then either!

  • Chinese Soccer History redditsoccerstreeams
  • Japanese Soccer History
  • Egyptian Soccer History
  • Greek/Roman Soccer History
  • British Soccer History

Chinese Soccer History

To many, this is the oldest version of soccer to exist. However, there is quite a lot of controversy of whether or not this is the oldest, or Japan’s version is the elder. The Chinese version of the game, originally named “Tsu Chu”, involved players on a field that had to hit a leather ball stuffed with fur into a small hole. Like Soccer, no hands were permitted during the play of the game, and it was considered an honor to be a member of a team.

The Emperor of the Han Dynasty, when the game was developed, was an avid player and fan, and spread the popularity of this game all over China during his reign. This roughly dates back to 300 B.C., although there is controversy on the subject of dating, which could result in the origins of the game being as far back as 5000 B.C. Regardless, this version of Soccer is extremely old. Despite that, there is still a version of Tsu Chu played today. While the two games are similar, Tsu Chu has had no effect on the modern version of the game, as it was originally developed and created for play in Great Britain.

Japanese Soccer History

Kemari, the Japanese version of “Soccer”, is perhaps one of the most different forms of the sport, in comparison to modern soccer. Kemari was a game of “Keep it up”, much like modern hacky sacks, although used with a larger ball that was stuffed with saw dust. This version involves a “pitch”, or the field, designated by the selection of four trees, the cherry, maple, pine and willow. Many great houses in Japan would grow trees to have a permanent pitch, or field, established.

Kemari was normally played with two to twelve players. Established in roughly 1004 B.C., it vies for position of the oldest game with China’s Tsu Chu. In fact, China’s Tsu Chu players and Japan’s Kemari players were the first to have an “International” game of their versions of Soccer, which is dated to have occurred in roughly 50 B.C., although a definite date of 611 A.D. is known. Regardless, this game stands with China as a sister sport to Soccer, while it never affected the modern version of the game.

 

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