Author: Caitlin Cronan

UT Tyler Women's Soccer Assistant Coach

Soccer's Journey from "Pasuckquakkohowog" to the National Level

Would you believe me if I told you soccer was first recognized and played in America in 1620? American folklore states that Pilgrim Fathers, upon settling at Plymouth Rock found American Indians along the Massachusetts coast playing a form of soccer. The Indians called it “Pasuckquakkohowog,” which means “they gather to play football.” Sometimes I wish there was more of this, casual, self desire to gather and play soccer these days! I have to say after traveling to many different countries one thing the US is struggling to foster is an environment of unstructured love for the game that many countries have. In Brazil you may find kids playing in the streets, in Costa Rica a city park, in Africa a dirt field or futsal court depending upon where you are, but in America you often just see structured practices where a coach leads. 

The game of soccer was first created more than 2,000 years ago in ancient China, Greece, Rome, Scotland, and parts of Central America, 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 your hands. A couple of key additions to the game include the penalty kick which was introduced in 1891. FIFA became a member of the International Football Association Board of Great Britain in 1913. Red and yellow cards were introduced during the 1970 World Cup finals. More recent major changes include goalkeepers being banned from handling deliberate back passes in 1992 and tackles from behind becoming red-card penalties in 1998.

There have been many people who have been a part of shaping today's game but the major influencers that have shaped today's game have been; Pele from Brazil who scored 6 goals in the 1958 world cup, Lev Yashin from Russia who saved more than 150 penalty shots in his career, Lionel Messi from Argentina who has won a record six Ballon d'Or awards, and a record six European Golden Shoes, Sir Alex Ferguson from Manchester United who earned 38 trophies in his time there including 13 Premier League titles, Pep Guardiola from Barcelona where he led the team to 14 trophies in just 4 seasons, and many more. 

Soccer is currently developing and growing all over the world, and even though America has been a little behind as basketball and baseball have always been American favorites, the game has grown tremendously even here. As the women gained their first Women's National Team in 1985 and has quickly risen to the top earning 4 world cup titles, the men not having quite as much success, but always being strong competitors. The game is growing and developing on both sides and is even beginning to gain a following here which is exciting!

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