Former school students frequently founded early clubs, and the first of these types was created in Sheffield in 1855. The English team Notts County, founded in 1862 and still in existence today, is the oldest among professional football clubs.
The game then spread to other countries including America, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, North Korea, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
It is believed that the first official international match was played on November 12, 1872 between England and Scotland. The match was called off after 40 minutes due to rain showers, and no further games were played for several years until more suitable weather conditions could be found.
The first World Cup was held in 1930 in Uruguay. The most recent edition was held in 2014 in Brazil.
Professional soccer has become a huge industry, with many top players being paid millions of dollars per year. There are also a number of foreign teams who travel to countries such as England and Italy to play in special tournaments known as Championships. These tours help promote the sport and its players abroad while giving smaller nations an opportunity to compete against the best ones internationally.
According to the Football Association, the world's oldest club is non-league Sheffield F.C., formed on October 24, 1857, while the oldest league team is Notts County, founded in November 1862. Both teams now play in the English Premier League.
Sheffield FC played its first match against local side Hallam F.C. at Hillsborough Stadium, then known as The New Ground. The game ended in a 2-2 draw with both teams sharing the trophy called the Sheff Weddle Cup. A few months later, they met again in another prize giving ceremony where this time the trophy was given permanent name - the Challenge Cup. That same year, they also became the first team to represent England in international soccer when they lost 1-4 to Scotland at Edinburgh Cricket Field.
Notts County was originally named Nottingham Rangers and was one of the first teams to compete in the Midland Counties League. They left that league after only one season and moved up to the North Division of the Football Alliance where they have remained ever since. The club was accepted into membership of the FA on March 20, 1866.
In the summer of 1867, both teams merged to form a single-division football club called The Blades.
The Professional Football League, which consisted of 12 association football clubs, six of which were from Northern England, was created in 1888, and this may have motivated northern rugby authorities to form their own professional league. The inaugural season began on Saturday, 5 March 1889 and ended on Saturday, 24 April 1889.
They played their home games at Newcastle's St James' Park stadium. The champions were awarded the Newcastle Silver Jubilee Cup. This is now given to the winner of the National Rugby League competition. The original league champions were Rochdale Hornets who beat Wigan Warriors 8-0 in the final.
Interest in the sport grew rapidly and by 1892 there were two rival leagues operating in Britain: the RFU's league and the PFAL's league. In 1895 both leagues agreed to merge to form what is now known as the "Premier League".
In Australia, rugby league has always been a parallel sport to rugby union. However, during World War I many Australian soldiers based in Europe saw rugby league matches played between local teams with some involvement from British players. These games helped spread awareness of the sport in Australia and elsewhere.
After the war there was talk of forming a national rugby league but it never happened so rugby league remained a parallel sport in Australia until after World War II when it started to become more popular.
The Edinburgh Football Club was the first to play any form of organized football. Cambridge Rules were established in 1848. In Cheltenham in 1849, there were two referees on the field and one in the tribune for the first time in a football match. This is why it can be said that football was born.
Nowadays, the world knows football by its more popular name - soccer. But in the early days, it was called "association football". It is based on rules invented in England about 150 years ago by two men named James Blaikie and William Armstrong. These are the same people who invented basketball several years before.
There are no records of any football matches being played in Europe before the mid-1850s. The English game was so different from what had gone before that many people thought it was a new sport that had appeared very recently.
But the idea of using your hands to kick a ball has long been familiar to Europeans. It is possible that some European teams may have been playing a similar game as England's during this time. For example, reports have come down to us of a French team called Les Voltigeurs (the Hunters) who played an unknown number of opponents including British teams in Paris between 1851 and 1853. However, since there are no records of any Dutch or German teams, these games must have taken place somewhere else in Europe.