Soccer became an Olympic sport in 1900, when men's soccer was first featured in the Summer Olympic Games. The only Olympic games that did not include soccer were those held in 1932. Women's soccer was added to the program in 2004.
In 2012, there will be a men's Olympic tournament and a women's Olympic tournament. Each country can enter a team in each tournament. Winners from each tournament will then advance to a final match for the gold medal. In 1920 and 1924, a single final match was played for the gold medal. In 1996, the semifinals were used as qualification rounds for the final match. In 2000, the best two teams at the end of group play qualified for the knockout stage. Since 2004, every year the most successful nations at the World Cup compete at the Olympics. They are given places according to their ranking at the Olympic tournament. Places are awarded to the nation who finishes highest among its continent's participants.
There is no limit on the number of countries that can participate in the Olympics. As long as they meet the IOC requirements, they can enter a team in any sport. Even though many countries might not have much money or professional players, they can still compete against more developed nations through youth tournaments or independent events called "Olympic Qualifiers". These competitions allow almost any country to qualify for the main event.
Soccer, or football as it is known in many countries, is one of the most popular Olympic sports. It is held during the summer Olympics and includes both men's and women's contests. Men's soccer debuted at the Olympics in 1900 in Paris, but women's soccer did not debut until 1996. Today, there are several categories in which athletes can compete including a solo event for people with physical disabilities and a team event for individuals countrywide or worldwide.
At the Summer Olympics, only two events are contested: men's soccer and women's beach soccer. Men's soccer is played between May 25 and August 21 with a quarterfinal round being played each day beginning at 13:00 (local time). The last match of the tournament is usually scheduled for 17:00 (local time), so you can expect some games to go into late nights on the final day. Women's soccer takes place over a shorter period of time (August 6 to 21) with a single quarterfinal being played on each day at 15:00 (local time). Like men's soccer, the last game of the tournament goes into late evenings on the final day. Beach soccer is played on sand courts located along the shoreline; it is similar to field hockey but uses a soccer ball instead. There is no official record of how many people participate in beach soccer, but it is believed to be growing in popularity.
1900 Football was debuted as an exhibition sport in 1900 and 1904, and it was the first team sport to be featured in the Olympic Games. With the exception of the 1932 Los Angeles Games, the sport has been contested in every Olympic Games since 1908.
Football was one of several sports that were not included in the Paris Games because France didn't want to share her athletes with other countries. The United States took part in these games as the American Olympic Association had not yet been founded. This is why you will see some players labeled as French or British instead of American.
In 1920, the size of the field was reduced from 60 yards by 100 yards to 50 yards by 75 yards. In 1992, the size of the field was further reduced to 40 yards by 80 yards. These changes were made to make the game more attractive to television viewers. Before this change, the entire event could not be shown due to lack of space on the screen.
The final match of the 1904 Olympics was also the last time that football was played at the Olympics. It is likely that the sport will never be revived because the IOC believes that there are already enough international men's tournaments available in the calendar year. However, women's football began as an exhibition sport at the 1988 Seoul Games and so it is possible that we might see it added to the program permanently in future editions.