National Soccer Day is annually celebrated on July 28. It honors and celebrates soccer — one of the world’s most competitive and popular sports. Every year, more than 17 million (around 5%) Americans watch soccer matches during the National Football League (N.F.L.).
History of National Soccer Day
The irresistible urge to kick a rock lying by our feet is something we all have in common, and a soccer ball is just a bigger but less heavy version of a round stone. So, following that logic, every civilization has had its version of soccer from time immemorial. People in ancient China played a type of soccer known as ‘cuju’ using a ball made of leather and feathers. Cuju later spread to Japan, where it was known as ‘kemari.’ Similarly, the Aztecs played a ritualistic game called ‘ollama,’ in which the ball was considered a symbol of the sun, and the captain of the losing team was sometimes sacrificed to the gods. Later, the Mesoamericans used rubber balls — which were absent in other cultures — to play a similar game.
In its modern form, soccer can be traced back to London. It was played in two styles: rugby and Eton. In the beginning, the game rules were liberal, and there weren’t many restraints, so many people participated in the sport. However, the lack of rules often led to heated matches and fatal injuries. Eventually, the game’s violent nature and serious injury toll led to a country-wide ban. Yet, the game was so popular that restrictions were lifted instantly.
A few centuries later, in 1863, the first football association was formed in London. The association standardized and established the first version of soccer rules. They also banned the use of hands in the game and created standards for the size and weight of the ball used in the game. The new set of rules and standards divided the game into two classes: football and rugby. Rugby allows players to hold the ball in their hands and run, but soccer does not. Over time, the game’s popularity spread from England into its colonies, such as what is now known as the U.S.
National Soccer Day timeline
Edward II bans soccer because it is dangerous and occasionally fatal to the participants.
The Notts County Football Club is established in England.
Twelve football clubs get together and form the Football Association (F.A.) in London on October 26.
The ‘Fédération Internationale de Football Association’ (FIFA) decides to hold the first edition of the FIFA World Cup.
National Soccer Day FAQs
Who is the most famous soccer referee?
Pierluigi Collina, an Italian former football referee, was named FIFA’s ‘Best Referee of the Year’ six consecutive times. He is widely considered to be the best soccer referee of all time.
Which country has the highest number of soccer fans?
China has the highest number of soccer fans at 187 million.
Is soccer popular in the U.S.?
Yes. In terms of participation, soccer is the fourth-most popular sport in the U.S.
National Soccer Day Activities
It’s National Soccer Day. If you’re a soccer fan, playing soccer is the most important activity of the day. Grab a soccer ball, collect your friends, and play on a soccer field.
Watch a soccer match
Flip to a sports channel or open Youtube and watch your favorite soccer players compete against each other. You could even watch matches all day if you want!
Buy your favorite soccer player’s jersey
Soccer is never complete without the home or away jerseys of the players. Every fan identifies their team with these jerseys. Buy your favorite soccer player’s jersey on National Soccer Day.
5 Interesting Facts About Soccer
A banned game
Soccer has been banned several times throughout history due to its violent nature.
The first Black British player
Andrew Watson was the first Black British soccer player; he played in the Scottish club known as Queen’s Park in the 1880s.
The first women’s World Cup
China hosted the first World Cup for women in 1991.
The largest soccer fanbase
As the country with the world’s largest population, China has the highest number of soccer fans worldwide.
The first referee
FIFA started using referees in matches from 1881 onwards.
Why We Love National Soccer Day
It is popular
Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world. It is played by over 250 million people from more than 200 countries.
It is good for fitness
Soccer requires quick movements and concentration. It is a game that forces the player to be on the move, exercising the whole body.
It has a long history
Soccer is one of the world's oldest (still played) games. It has been over 2,000 years since the first soccer ball was kicked across the Earth.
National Soccer Day dates