The contemporary rules of association football are based on mid-nineteenth-century efforts to standardize the vastly disparate versions of football played in England's public schools. Football has been played in England since at least the seventh century CE. It is believed that the first written reference to it is in the Anglian Chronicles of 767 when Prince Eadred of Wessex is said to have organized a game between his troops and those of Charlemagne.
The earliest version of what we now call soccer was probably derived from an English school sport called "football" or "kickball." This early form of the game may have had its origins in a military exercise called "football," which was used by soldiers training for battle with the sword. The word "soccer" first appeared in 1866 and has remained popular ever since.
In addition to the English school games, several other variants of football were being played across Europe in the mid-19th century. In France, a game known as "francique" was very similar to soccer. It was originally called "association football" because it was mainly played by students at French universities.
England Football's modern beginnings may be traced back to 1863 in England. Rugby football and association football, which were previously synonymous, split apart, and the Football Association was formed as the sport's first formal regulating organization. In an effort to standardize the game, the FA established rules that are still used today.
Football became popular throughout the United Kingdom, and in 1866 a British team competed for the first time at the international tournament now known as the World Cup. Over the next few decades, more clubs appeared across Britain, and by the end of the 19th century, football was widely played across the nation. The English game differed significantly from soccer in Europe at this time; it was played with two sides per team, there were no goals outside the penalty box, and instead of trying to score points, your goal was to prevent your opponents from doing so. These differences would later cause problems for the English when they attempted to promote their sport abroad.
In 1920, the Football Association declared rugby union to be responsible for organizing national teams, which led to a split within that code. This distinction is important because while both sports involve kicking and passing a ball, soccer is specifically American football minus any form of rugby.
Football's modern beginnings may be traced back to 1863 in England. In the United States, a new league called the American Football League began play in 1959.
From its early days, football has been a competitive sport where the aim is to score goals by kicking or punting a ball into the opposition's end zone. The number of goals that can be scored in a game varies from year to year based on several factors such as the size of the field and type of ball used but today's NFL games average about six per match.
In addition to winning or losing a game, coaches and players use the results of football matches to determine their personal standings within the context of the season. The winner of the season is usually declared at the end of the last published game of the season. If two teams are tied at the end of the season, a tiebreaker system is used to determine a winner. These methods include lots, head to head competition, cumulative point difference, and many others.
As football has become a worldwide sport, other countries have also developed their own local variations of the game.
Football codes today may be traced back to the standardization of these games in English public schools in the nineteenth century. The British Empire's development and cultural impact allowed these football regulations to extend to places of British influence outside the directly governed Empire. In Australia, India, New Zealand, and South Africa, football codes have evolved similar laws and practices.
In England, a form of ball game called "football" was widely played by boys in public schools from the 1820s to the 1870s. The origin of this game is unclear; some historians believe it may be related to a French game called "foot-ball." Others claim it came from an Indian game called "phutball" or "push-ball." No matter its origins, "football" became associated with other aspects of school life besides sport, such as good manners, self-discipline, and teamwork.
The first written reference to "football" in Britain was in Thomas Arnold's "Textbook on Rugby Football," which was published in 1829. Arnold was headmaster of Rugby School, and he originally called for his readers to take up a version of American football. But when many schools instead chose to play a more traditional form of rugby, Arnold revised his book to include that code instead. Over time, the terms "rugby football" and "rugger" were adopted to describe the game that had emerged across Britain.
Football as we know it today was invented in London in the early 1870s. For these reasons, England is regarded as the birthplace of football. The Football Association, the world's oldest football organization, is the regulatory body for football in England. It was founded on November 26, 1863.
The first known match between two English teams was played at Kennington Oval on May 28, 1872. The attendees were charged 1/6 admission price ($1.43 in 2007 dollars). The visitors were given a guard of honour by the Metropolitan Police. After the game, an angry crowd of 50 people attacked the visitors' bus, breaking several windows. No one was injured in this incident.
Two years later, in 1874, the rules of football were standardized by John Charles Clegg. He is usually called "the father of American football" because he was the first person to publish the rules of football that are still used today. These rules were published in the magazine he edited, called "The American Football."
American football as we know it today got its start when British players imported the game to America. The first American football game was played on November 6, 1873, at Columbia College in New York City. The students from Columbia University won this game 20-0.