Soccer is a worldwide played sport, but it has not always been that way. Going way back to the 9th Century of Britain and England, now known as the United Kingdom, was played as a mob with undefined teams, a large number of people playing, no rules and often was very violent. It had become so violent that several kings and rulers had banned soccer during the 14th and 15th centuries.
The game had persisted in different forms throughout the 19th century when it was finally cleaned up and had a set of rules. These rules made up in the 19th century did not last long, they were always being changed and modified. As well as there being changes to the rules, there was also changes in equipment and gameplay. They went from being so disorganised and unable to see the difference in teams to different coloured uniform. As for gameplay, played needed to be more physically fit in the sense that they needed to be able to run greater distances. In the middle of the chaos; FIFA, Fédération Internationale de Football Association, was being created. It was a slow start barely 51 members in 1930.
Early modern soccer was in a state of disorganization and many games were played in different variations and had different rules. There was also many names for the different cultures that had played this game. “All these quirky ball games were just a small element of the broader sporting culture that was emerging” (GoldBlatt 18). Kemari, Woggabaliri, and Cuju were, soccer like games that were all big influencers on what soccer is today.
Like said previously there was no clear distinction in rules, teams, length of games, and the size of the ball that was used, which made it harder to play the game. There were also differences in that people from different areas played. For instance, English and Scottish people played differently, English people liked to run a lot more while Scottish people liked to make passes to people. The Scottish way of playing became predominant. In early modern soccer, which was called Mob Football in Britain and England, they were allowed to use all body parts opposed to now which they are not allowed to use their hands.
Soccer had been a vicious game, that lives were taken, and usually the losers would have been sacrificed in earlier times. The game had been thought to been a hierarchy in many societies, but had the littlest effect on the social rank, “Life, Death? Can anything be that important? Football has claimed enough innocent victims in its hellish fires, tragic crushes, and vicious little knife fights to ask the question” (Goldblatt XIV). Most likely the winners of the match would have been praised and cherished until the next match, and the losers would have had their lives taken for the approval of the Gods.
Throughout the years rules have been modified and changed and some were added to fit how soccer should be played. Soccer players, and other viewers and audiences even had an association to make sure that the rules were being followed by everybody participating in the games. It was chaos for a long time. No time restraints, the only consensus among the game was the ball. In 1870 one of the first unifying acts was made, which was a time restraint, the game would be played for 90 minutes, “The ball is round, the game last ninety minutes. This much is fact everything else is theory” (Goldblatt XIII). Until the late 1980’s the rules were still being refined and and cleaned up to suit the game, “For Football is driven by love and money and if anything trump’s life and death they do” (Goldblatt XV).
This is stating that, loving the game means more than life and death to anybody that played. Whether the rules were put in place to keep them safe or not, whether there had been a ban in 1827-1836, the people would still find a way to play. Loving the game is the most important part, everything else is always second. Many players only wanted to live for the pure adrenaline rush they would get from the plays or scoring a goal. As 1869 rolled upon us, Goal kicks were introduced into the scene of soccer which allowed the goalkeeper to waste as much as 30 seconds of the game.
Gameplay and equipment is an apparent part of this all. If there were no ball there would be no soccer. Throughout the years that this game has been played, it has continuously gotten faster and faster, as now the players are required to cover more than 50% of the distance they have in the past. The players have to have better physical fitness and a higher concentration while the ball is also in play 15 minutes longer than it was previously. “It is not a contest or trial. It contains no strategy or tactics… it is pleasure and wonder and experiment” (Goldblatt 4).
Many skeptics believe that soccer requires little fitness from what it was beforehand, as the Midfielder was the hardest working player, while still true, they are more physically fit and have to be the game makers, they are the quarterback in this sport. Therefore, the game requires a little bit of strategy and tactics, and should be taken as a trial.
As the gameplay had changed, equipment had its improvements. Mid 1800’s team coloured shirts started to become accepted, as well as moving away from full length pants to shorts, which are standard in modern soccer. As uniforms were growing and new designs started, stripes became a big deal on jerseys. Another adjustment in the equipment was the ball, the shape of it became easily distorted as it had gained more water weight.
While the ball weighed more from water intake concussion were more likely to happen as it was a lot heavier compared to when the game had started, “The ball itself was transformed as players adopted more technologically advanced but less physically robust hollow ball” (Goldblatt 6). Adidas made the first synthetic ball, Tricolore was the first black and white ball, Teamgeist and Jabulani were the first balls to reach new technological sophistication.
While the ball evolved, the cleats were ever changing. The first ever pair of cleats had belonged to Henry VIII, they were made of leather and were ankle high weighing more than regular shoes. As the kept evolving some had been made with metal studs or tacks to be able to grip wet grass and muddy surfaces. As the 1960’s came around below the ankle cleats were brought up, become much lighter and not made of metal and leather, the manufacturers began to think more about ball control and passing rather than protecting the foot of the player.
In the ‘70s star soccer players had gotten clear sponsorships and were able to begin making their own cleats to sell. As soccer began to get more popular, Referees and linesman were beginning to be more of a necessity rather than a nonessential, “Allegiances should not be imposed… referees have been bought, linesman have been corralled, and games have been thrown” (Goldblatt XVII). As referees and linesman were brought into the games, money started to be given to them to favour a team.
As this sport started to become internationally played they had to crack down on what was going to become the unifying aspect that would bring everyone to play. Britain had helped establish FIFA in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. As the game spread to Netherlands, Denmark, New Zealand, Switzerland, the Americans were hesitant on joining the federation.