Football as we know it now began in the nineteenth century in the United Kingdom. Though "folk football" had been played with varied rules since medieval times, the game began to be codified when it was adopted as a winter sport at public schools. The first written reference to "football" comes from 1823 in which Charles Dickens describes watching his friend Henry Longhurst play this new sport.
The early codifications were all variations on a theme devised by Dr. Thomas Hocken, head of Chatham College in Chatham, New York. A former player who taught the game at his school, he proposed that each player wear a number on their chest and that there be eleven men on a side. His ideas became the basis for most modern versions of football.
Football as we know it today is a product of several factors including its adoption by universities, its growth in popularity, and the development of innovative playing styles. It was originally called "gridiron football" because the fields upon which it was played had markings in the shape of a gridiron, which at the time were used as firing ranges by military personnel. These ranges were 100 feet by 75 feet and were made of blacktop or gravel. They would be cut into squares and then arranged in a grid pattern on which bullets could be shot at target trees or buildings.
Football as we know it now began in England in the mid-nineteenth century. Alternative forms of the game, however, existed far earlier and are documented in football history. For example, a form of handball called "footbal" was played by Roman soldiers stationed in Britain during the time of Julius Caesar and later by English soldiers during their downtime from fighting France's ongoing wars with Spain and Portugal.
The first reference to "football" in print comes from 1845 when Charles Alcock, then Bishop of London, wrote of a game played by "the youths of St. Paul's school" which was "quite new" to him. The rules of this new game were written down by Dr. Thomas Hughes (1741-1831), Headmaster of Rugby School, who originally called it "rugby". Football as we know it today emerged in its current form in 1863 when James Clephan published an article on "Foot-Ball: How to Play It" in Temple Bar Magazine. In this article, he described a game that was similar to modern soccer but used the ball could not be lifted its feet must touch the ground.
Cleaning up the game after hours of play resulted in many injuries and deaths. As a result, meetings were held in October 1864 and April 1865 to discuss ways to improve the game.
The football contest takes shape. The most widely accepted legend has it that the game was invented in England in the 12th century. Football-like sports were played in English fields and roadways throughout the twentieth century. Aside from kicks, the game also included fist blows to the ball. These practices may have inspired someone to add a new rule to prevent serious injury to players.
Modern rules of football were developed by Walter Camp in 1872. He divided the field into 11 parts, called lines, and gave each player two goals or points to score. These are the guidelines still used today by coaches and referees to measure success in football games.
There are many variations of football. Other common names include soccer, footbal, futbol, futebol, footballus sive soccerum, and Weltkugelball. American football is a more specific name for an sport similar to rugby union or league. A football game involves two teams of eleven players on the field at once. During the course of the game, players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands; they can punch it, but only with their arms and shoulders. Players are allowed to use their feet to kick the ball (a free kick), shoot at goal from distance (a penalty kick), or throw (a try).
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. A group of English public schools in London started the ball game that is now known as soccer.
Soccer has been popular throughout most of its history in Europe and North America, but it became widely known as football during the 19th century. The terms are used interchangeably today, although "football" usually refers to the game as played by men on a field with an oval-shaped ball. Women play a different version called "fútbol" or "soccer." Men also play a version called "rugby football" or simply "rugby."
The word "football" comes from the Latin term fúbalus, which in turn comes from the Greek kíplakton, meaning "ball". The Romans originally called the game líppus, but this name is now used for the ball itself. The modern term "soccer ball" is not used by athletes or coaches; they say "football" or "fúboll" instead.
The first official rules of football were published in 1848 by Charles Alcock, who was then captain of the Cambridge University team.