December 13, 2011
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Soccer goes very far back several centuries, where similar unofficial games were played. Over time, soccer and other sports were created, and it is now the most popular sport in the world. Soccer history is fascinating, along with popular international tournaments and historic stadiums that changed sports and entertainment.
Soccer was created in England, and later transported to other countries. The basic rules of soccer are to move a soccer ball into the other team’s goal without using one’s hands. “Fermented within the social laboratories of the British public school system during the early decades of the nineteenth century, the divergent soccer had been exported to the United States.”(Andrews 1). Soccer was popular in schools throughout England. Even without much equipment, the sport became popular very quickly. “By the 1860’s, soccer had become a discernible feature within many East Coast preparation schools and universities.”(Andrews 1) Even though soccer isn’t that well liked in the United States, it’s been here for a long time. “Although Americans often think of soccer as a ‘foreign’ sport, its roots extend back to 1869, when the first organized soccer match in the United States was played between Rutgers and Princeton universities”(Bone 1). Although the first official soccer match was played in 1869, soccer has been played farther back than that in the US. “Soccer in early forms has been played in American Continent for more than three centuries”(Andrews 1) Soccer was popular in the US at first, but later, there was a dynamic change in popularity, especially in the youth. “The result has been an explosion in youth soccer participation rates that, at high school level, grew 127 percent for boys and 618 percent for girls. The United States is most evident at the youth level, as soccer leagues have become the fastest growing sport for boys and girls” (Andrews 2). Soccer has become a fast growing sport, and will continue to grow every year in the US.
Not only was soccer growing in the US, it was also growing in the rest of the world too, so an international soccer association began to organize international matches. “In 1904, Frenchman Jules Rimat assumed the presidency of the newly created world governing body of soccer, the Federation Internationale de Football Associations (FIFA), with the intention of creating an international soccer tournament”(Lyons 1).FIFA was successful in making international tournaments, but the most popular is the World Cup. “The world cup of football, or soccer as the game is called in the United States, is the most popular sporting event in the world” (Football 2). The World Cup is an international tournament that is held every four years between thirty two countries. Every cup, there is a new country chosen to be the host for it. “The first World Cup finals were held in Uruguay in 1930, with the host winning the cup” (Football 2).Soccer was especially popular in Europe, so a European soccer association was created. “The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) was formed in Switzerland after discussions between the French, Italian, and Belgium associations” (Andrews 3).Shortly after, a European soccer league commenced. “In the 1955-1956 season it began the European Champion Club Cup, which quickly established itself as the leading club competition in the world” (Football 3).This league is still one of the world’s most popular tournaments, now called the Champion’s League.

Although international tournaments are important, stadiums are as well. There are endless variations of stadiums, but few deserve to be called historic. Wembly Stadium is England’s most famous stadium. “Home to the final of the oldest cup competition in the world, the FA Cup; host for England’s sole World Cup triumph. The witnessing of George Best dancing round the Benifica defense to put Manchester United on its way to their European Cup victory in 1968 also occurred here, along with Barcelona’s first European Cup triumph twenty three years later and Germany coming to the home of football and taking the European Championship trophy home in 1996--the list goes on”(Wilson 3). Wembly really deserves to be called historic after all that has happened there. The Estadio Azteca is one of the largest stadiums in the world, with a capacity of 114,600 spectators, and is also where Mexico plays home. “If size really does matter, then Estadio Azteca sits atop any list of the world’s football cathedrals...Azteca is the only ground in history to played host to two World Cup finals”(Wilson 1).La Bombonera is home to the Argentinian team Boca Juniors, and has also hosted some matches in the 1978 World Cup. “The intimidating atmosphere, most in evidence when despised city rivals River Plate -- the upmarket sophisticates to Boca’s earthy working class heroes -- visit”(Wilson 1). The first World Cup was held in the Estadio Centenario, where Uruguay is home. “Built to host the first ever World Cup finals held in Uruguay in 1930, as well as to celebrate Uruguay’s 100 years of Independence”(Wilson1). Estadio do Maracana is located in Brazil and has had many events take place there, and like Wembly Stadium, also deserves the honor of being called historic. “It was at the Maracana that Pele made his debut for Brazil, then scored his 1,000th goal followed by a pitch invasion, and the Maracanazo( when Uruguay beat Brazil in the World Cup final), one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history”(Wilson3).Camp Nou is the biggest stadium in Europe, and also home to Barcelona, with a capacity of 115,000. “First opened in 1957, the idea to construct what is still the biggest football stadium in Europe was first voiced seven years earlier, when it became clear that the club, on emotive symbol for Catalan identity, had outgrown its former home of Les Courts, a 60,000 sellout every week”(Wilson 2). Barcelona is a top soccer club, and with such teams there are fans. But Barcelona could not hold everyone in every week, so they had to expand and make a new stadium.
Soccer history is fascinating, along with popular international tournaments and historic stadiums that changed and entertainment.
Soccer has affected millions of people all over the world, and it continues to be more and more popular. Soccer is not only a sport, it is a lifestyle. There is no other sport like it anywhere else. Although it isn’t that well known in some countries, it will be soon.

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