Throughout history, many countries have played games that involve kicking a ball. These include the ancient Roman game Harpastum, which might have been the earliest form of football.
In the early 19th century, a new, organised sport was devised. This was influenced by the expansion of industrialization in Victorian Britain. Increasingly, industrial workers had Saturday afternoons free to attend games.
This led to a surge in attendance. The average number of spectators in England rose from 4,600 in 1888 to 7,900 in 1895.
As the game developed, competition between clubs increased. The Football League was formed in 1888, and the Southern League in 1894. These leagues allowed the leading teams from the north and Midlands to compete against each other.
As the popularity of the game increased, it became apparent that a professional system of play would be necessary. A year later, the FA sanctioned the payment of players.
A further boost to the sport was the emergence of transport systems. This facilitated players’ travel to and from games.
Another factor in the growth of the game was the increase in adult literacy. Newspapers began to cover organized sports more frequently. This gave an additional incentive for competitors to seek better training.
The first rules of the game were outlined in an 1863 publication called the Laws of the Game. These rules were subsequently distributed widely.
While the game is a true team sport, players still need to possess a high level of strength and agility. These are the skills that allow them to produce force in the shortest amount of time.