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13 Interesting Soccer Facts for Kids

The earliest soccer balls were made from animal parts and leather

earliest soccer balls were made from animal parts and leather

Before manufacturers made soccer balls from rubber, they used animal bladders and skin to make football balls. However, those materials weren’t sturdy enough to withstand being kicked around. Also, Charles Goodyear created vulcanized rubber, a form of rubber treated with sulfur, making it durable and elastic. His invention helped improve soccer balls by making them strong enough to bounce and be kicked around. In later years, players played with leather balls, but these were discontinued because they were too heavy and caused head and neck injuries. 

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Colonialism contributed to soccer’s popularity. 

Colonialism contributed to soccer’s popularity

Even though colonialism has negatively affected several countries in different parts of the world, it has made football one of the most popular sports in the world. This is because when the British traveled to other countries in the hopes of colonizing them, they took soccer with them and introduced the game to the inhabitants of the place they were in! As a result, soccer became much more popular than it was before. 

Women have been playing soccer ever since the game was invented

Women have been playing soccer ever since the game was invented

While women have started playing some sports decades after it was invented, this is not the case with soccer. Women have been playing soccer ever since the game was invented. Some historical reports show depictions of women playing this sport in China as early as 22 BCE. One of the earliest documented women’s soccer teams was called the ‘British Ladies’ Football Club,’ founded by Nettie Honeyball. As the years passed, watching women play soccer became more popular than watching men play. Eventually, The Football Association banned women’s teams in 1921 from playing on football pitches because they considered it “distasteful.” However, the women’s teams simply went ahead and continued to play on rugby grounds. Women’s soccer was officially recognized over 50 later in 1971. 

American football and rugby emerged from soccer 

American football and rugby emerged from soccer

Back in the day, before soccer and football were different from one another, the two games were simply variations of the same sport. This is because many countries played a version of the game that included kicking a ball and scrummaging. Eventually, the game of rugby evolved into its own game, one that was separate and utterly different from soccer. 

The average game of soccer lasts for one and a half hours.  

If you’ve ever watched a soccer game or played one yourself, you know that a game doesn’t always finish in 90 minutes. However, the average soccer game usually lasts an hour and a half, or sometimes two hours. Each half of the game usually lasts 45 to 50 minutes, with a quick break between the two halves. Soccer matches often last for a few hours at a time for many reasons. These include player injuries, substituting one player for another, and because of disciplinary issues. 

The first football World Cup took place almost 100 years ago

first football World Cup took place almost 100 years ago

Football has been a spectator sport for many years. When the first World Cup took place in 1930, it was held in Uruguay, and the home country won all the matches. Only 13 countries attended the tournament at the time, but nowadays, more than 30 countries train and prepare to play at the World Cup. Just like the Olympics, the World Cup is held every four years. 

The first international soccer tournament was held in 1872. 

Scotland and England battled each other on the field in 1872. This match marked the first time that two teams played an international soccer match. An interesting fact about this match is that it was played on a cricket field, not a soccer field! It was held in Glasgow, and over 3,500 people showed up to watch it. Ultimately, neither team won the match, and it ended in a 0-0 draw. 

The word soccer comes from England and not America. 

Though we typically associate the word soccer with the US, the term “soccer” originated in England in the 19th century. At the time, soccer didn’t have a set of common rules that all the players had to follow. This meant that soccer and rugby existed as the same game, each with its own variations. However, the Football Association wanted to structure soccer rules so that school teams could play matches and compete against each other. A few years later, the Rugby Association formed and came up with its own set of rules. Eventually, schoolboys started to refer to rugby as “rugger,” while soccer remained the same. The boys gave the two games separate names to distinguish between the Football Association and the Rugby Association. 

India did not play in the 1950 World Cup. 

Even though India competed in the world cup for a few years, the team withdrew from competing in 1950. This is because they wanted to play their matches barefoot but could not. FIFA turned down India’s request to play without football cleats or boots, and since they couldn’t play without footwear, they withdrew from the tournament. 

Greenland cannot compete in FIFA. 

Greenland is one of a few countries that cannot compete in FIFA. This is because Greenland can’t grow enough grass for a soccer field that players can practice and play on. However, soccer is one of the most popular sports in this country, and people still play the game for fun. 

The average soccer player runs a few miles in every game. 

soccer player runs a few miles

It shouldn’t be surprising that soccer players run a few miles when playing in a match! When studying soccer players, researchers discovered that male soccer players run about seven or eight miles in a game! On the other hand, female players run about five miles in a single game, with female midfielders running about six miles in a game. It’s also worth noting that younger soccer players who are starting tend to run shorter distances during the game due to the composition of their bodies and the amount of time training and playing soccer. 

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most decorated soccer players of all time. 

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most decorated soccer players

In addition to being considered one the best soccer players in recorded history, Ronaldo is also one of the most decorated soccer players in the world. His achievements include scoring the highest number of goals in the Union of European Football Associations League, winning 32 trophies in his senior career, and winning FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 2008. 

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The first World Cup in an Arabian country will be held in Qatar in 2022. 

The World Cup in 2022 will mark the first time an Arabian country is hosting the games. It will also mark the last time that only 32 teams compete because the World Cup in 2026 will feature 48 teams. The 2022 World Cup also marks the first time the games are being played in the latter part of the year due to Qatar’s extremely hot weather. 

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Conclusion

Soccer is one of the most popular and fascinating sports in the world. Fans gather together to watch their favorite teams play whenever there is a tournament, and overall, soccer has united people in ways that other sports have not! In this guide, we walked you through a list of 13 facts about soccer. If you didn’t know anything about this sport before, we hope that we contributed to your knowledge a little bit.