Organized sports are a great way to get children active, exercising, and interacting with their peers. In fact, in the U.S. about 35 million children engage in sports.
Of all the sports in the world, soccer is the most popular, with an estimated 250 million people playing this sport every year. This may come as surprise since much of the sports coverage in the U.S. is dedicated to basketball, football, baseball, golf, and hockey. But if you visit elementary schools and high schools, children often talk about their youth soccer leagues, youth soccer tournaments, and also summer soccer camps that are filled with coaches that know how to teach soccer skills to children.
Here are some more interesting facts about soccer you may not know.
- The World Cup, which kicks off on June 12 this year, is considered the biggest soccer tournament in the world. It includes dozens of international soccer teams every four years, and billions of fans follow the tournament.
- Harpastum was a game the Romans played centuries ago, and it was considered to be the beginning of today’s soccer game. In those times, the referees would control players by waving handkerchiefs, and also eventually introduced a whistle to the game in the late 1800’s.
- Soccer was banned in England in the 1300’s, because it was considered too violent to play. Ironically, Derby, England, was the site of the very first soccer match ever.
- In 1950, India refused to send its players to the World Cup because they were not allowed to play without their shoes, something they often do in their home country.
- Soccer provides great cardio exercise, and in a typical soccer game, a player runs about seven miles in total.
- The first World Cup was held in 1930 in South America, in Uruguay, and was host to 300 spectators. Uruguay won that World Cup.
These may seem like random facts to know, but for lovers of the game, it deepens their knowledge of soccer and its origins. And for coaches learning how to teach soccer skills to children, snippets of soccer’s history helps them explain why the sport is a important part of the world’s culture. Learn more at this link.