Sunday, April 9, 2017

Soccer or Football?

By Tiffany Amber Stockton

Last month, I shared about a recent cruise I took, and the "famous" celebrities who sailed with me *grins* I also delved into the history of the cruise ship. If you missed that post, you can read it here:

This week, our children began their spring soccer season, and boy am I exhausted with the practices on 2 different days, 2 different times, and at 2 different locations. Then, we have games every Saturday at a third location. Phew! Praise God this is only 5 weeks.

But soccer got me thinking. How long has this sport been around? Let's look a little closer, shall we?

Mayan sports arena
Records trace the history of soccer back more than 2,000 years ago to ancient China. Greece, Rome, and parts of Central America also claim to have started the sport (I remember visiting Mayan ruins and seeing what was left of a sporting arena with stone loops used as the goal for the ball sent there by kicking, butting with the head, or using any body part except the hands); but it was England that transitioned soccer, or what the British and many other people around the world call “football,” into the game we know today. The English are credited with recording the first uniform rules for the sport, including forbidding tripping opponents and touching the ball with hands.

Red Card in soccer
As the sport developed, more rules were implemented and more historical landmarks were set. For example, the penalty kick was introduced in 1891. Red and yellow cards were introduced during the 1970 World Cup finals.

For over a century, despite protests from the Italians, England has been credited as having given birth to modern football. A claim which had looked quite solid until as recently as 2011, when a shocking find by historians traced football’s roots to a quite extraordinary place.

World's oldest "football"
An uncovered book, titled Vocabula, turned soccer’s history on its head. Written by a citizen of Aberdeen in Scotland, it detailed a game in which two teams played with a ball on a field roughly the size of the present regulation pitches. Not only that, but terms such as keeper (goalkeeper), kick off, and switch halves were also mentioned. How does this refute England’s claim? Well, this account was written in the fourteenth century, more than 400 years before the English association was formed.

Also, a football found behind a wall in Stirling Castle has been dated and named as the oldest in the world. It dates back to the fifteenth century.

Scotland was also the country who invented possession play, using short passes to work up the field into dangerous positions instead of the long ball hit in practice before then.

Football has a long and glorious history. Its methods have been refined and improved through the centuries to give us the king of all sports. Scotland, rightfully, can claim the title as its home. That is, currently. Who knows, maybe someone with a nose for history and a bit of determination will uncover evidence to refute Calendonias’ claim in the future. As much as I love history, that won't be me. *winks*

Until then, Scotland can proudly reclaim the mantle as the home of world football.


* Which name do you feel is the "better" name for this sport? Why?

* Did you play sports as a child? Do you have children in sports? Which ones?

* What is 1 fascinating fact about today's post which caught your eye today?

Leave answers to these questions or any comments on the post below. Come back on the 9th of April (my son's birthday) for my next appearance.


Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those childhood skills to become an author and speaker who has partnered with Nerium International in the anti-aging, health & wellness, and personal development industry, helping others become their best from the inside out.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have one girl and one boy, and a Retriever mix named Roxie. She has sold twenty (21) books so far and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.


  1. When I was in school, soccer wasn't taught. It was quite popular when my boys were young, and at one time, I had three boys in soccer and a baby to tote. Those were fun, busy times. Our forth son started soccer at four, but he never liked it. Later, he got into the chess club, and that was his extra-curricular "sport."

    1. Wow. 3 boys in soccer and toting a baby. You truly were the epitome of "soccer mom." Bet you had the van and everything. :)

  2. Soccer wasn't around in the area I grew up at. Now children 3 years old are getting an introduction to soccer. Friends will say they have no life except to take their children to all their practices and games.

    1. I know! It's crazy seeing people getting their kids into all that organized sport and activities at such a young age. We held off until 6 and 8 for our children and merely took them to the park and played with them ourselves. At least this season is only 6 short weeks for us. I couldn't do this every week!