America has one of the youngest, yet most interesting histories of any nation. As it stands most cultures can trace their heritage back thousands of years. And while a lot of American cultures can do the same, the nation of America that spawned of British origins is only a few hundred years old.
And the most fascinating part of America’s culture is the fact it is a culture of immigration. It is made up of some of the best aspects of other cultures that sought greener pastures in the great American landscape.
You only need to look at America’s food culture to see just how diverse their background really is. A typical food court will have foods that derive from almost every corner of the world.
But we want to look at one aspect of American culture that is often overlooked. The history of the sport of Soccer.
America is a land that is known for many sports. Each deriving from the cultures that make up the nation. Soccer is hardly the most popular sport in America. That slot is reserved for the great American pastime; Baseball.
But America by no means half-asses their soccer, no matter it’s standing in the public eye. But where does Soccer itself originate from?
Some records can trace the origins of Soccer way back to ancient China and Greece. Which might be a surprising thing to hear. But an early version of the sports was said to have been played during the original Olympic games held in Athens.
Some other nations claim to have had a hand in the origins of soccer as we know it. But the true home of the sport of soccer in its modern form in England. Known as Football.
But was is the big difference between the unofficial version of the sport played in different nations? Simply put, England was the first country to introduce uniform rules for the sport. Until then there was any number of different versions of the game, with conflicting rules.
It is interesting to note that a lot of play styles of certain nations seem to be influenced by the version of the sport that existed in their culture.
So how did it make its way into America?
American Sport History
America has a rich sports culture of its own. Lacrosse is known as The American Sport. It was invented and played by native Americans. This sport was passed on by French colonists to the early Canadian settlers. But most other sports played in America were brought over.
This included Soccer. The earliest records of people playing soccer, with the uniform rules, is actually in 1850. This is many years after America was founded. It was said to have appeared in New Orleans. Brought in German and Scottish Immigrants, two nations with proud soccer histories of their own.
Soccer in the States
Soon the sport began to infiltrate the rest of the nation. It was in 1862 that the first American Football Club was founded. By a man named Gerrit Smith. He was famously known to be tired of such disorganized team structures and tournaments taking place, with little to no regulation. So he took matters into his own hands.
Eventually, there would be two governing bodies of the sport in America. These were the United States Football Association or the American Soccer League. You might already be able to see how the country shifted away from the term Football.
In the 1920s there was a historic event known as the Soccer War. This is when the two associations battled it out over which one would become the singular governing body for the entire nation’s soccer interests. This era leads to a drop in popularity for the sport as a whole, which some claim is the reason Baseball became so popular in the eyes of the public and won out as the great American Pastime.
After this time soccer become a secondary sport within America. A lot of the more Latin-American based states had a fervent culture develop around the sport.
Eventually, America would start fielding a team within the World Cup. And while they have never won the Cup itself, they did come third overall in 1930. No small achievement considering it was their first appearance in the cup. Since then the have come very close to winning, but can never quite beat their old record.
Nowadays Soccer has increased in popularity. This is due to a lot of sponsors and companies in America creating more soccer themed merch such as nike soccer cleats or Adidas soccer uniforms. And America still participates in the world cup yearly.
More and more people move to America every year. And with its ever-diversifying culture, the wonderful sport of Soccer is slowly regaining a leading foothold in the nation’s interest.