The History of Soccer and FIFA Rankings

Even though the first FIFA World Cup was held during 1930 some known forms of soccer style games took place as early as 1609. Fifa World Cup competitions have taken place every 4 years since 1930; except for 1942 and 1946 Fifa Rankings and the history of soccer evolved, very much like a soccer ball gets bounced around on a soccer field. Various countries, socio-economic societies and soccer board members had dramatically different ideas regarding how this game should be played. During 1609, the British Colony called the United States was banned from playing a soccer-style game. At that time, it was believed this soccer game was a bad influence and this game remained illegal during the next 2 centuries. During 1827, Harvard and some other Universities began playing a soccer-style game that was referred to, at the time, as football. These games were known to be quite rowdy. Princeton played a version of this game that allowed hitting the soccer ball with the fist as well as the foot. The style of soccer game that was played during this time did not significantly resemble the style of soccer game that is commonly played during our 21st century.

The form of soccer game that we play today originated in England during the 1830’s. The parents, at that time, who did encourage their children to participate in this sport were usually trying to encourage their children to stay out of trouble and learn how to work with a group of people. Individualism was discouraged in England at that time. The first Football Association was formed during 1867 when Sheffield. One of the first regional matches took place during 1861 between Sheffield FA and London FA. These regional soccer matches continued to take place; consequently, the need for a unified set of rules became necessary. Many letters were sent to newspapers in the London Regions of England from individuals who thought a documented set of rules was necessary. Meetings began to take place to establish a standardized set of Football Rules. Rules were established and used during 1863. The first organized soccer club in the United States probably culminated during 1862 when the Oneida Club was formed in Boston, Massachusettes. The players on these teams consisted mostly of students from elite public schools in the Boston area. This team opposed many college teams. This Oneida Club was undefeated during its 1st 4 years of existence. It was believed they were successful because they had learned to work well together as a team. The game they were playing at this time was somewhat like a modern soccer game and somewhat like a modern rugby game. During 1866, there were so many different versions of this soccer game being played that people began to realize that new rules for this game needed to be established.

New rules were finally established and first played on November 7, 1869. These new rules were used first at New Brunswick, NJ, during a competition between Princeton and Rutgers. These new rules somewhat resemble the soccer rules that are played currently, year 2006. The new soccer rules required: 25 players, a soccer field that measured 110 meters x 70 meters, a 24′ wide goal, movement of the soccer ball was allowed with all body parts, yet the soccer ball could not be thrown or carried. The new rules stated that the first team that scored 6 points won. During 1871; a Knockout Cup that was similar to the current NCAA Championships was formed in England. During 1873, Rutgers, Columbia, Yale and Princeton met in New York to revise the rules of this game once again. This time when new rules were formed, the final version more closely resembled the rules London had established during 1863. The new rules allowed: 20 players on a team, a field that measured 400′ x 250′, a 25′ wide goal and the 1st team to score 6 goals wins. These new rules established that carrying the ball would be prohibited. Eventually a new rule restricting 11 players per soccer team was established during 1880. During 1875, many of the college soccer teams began to imitate the soccer team at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Montreal’s version of this game resembled rugby more than soccer. Around that time, the working class individuals began to develop an interest in the game of soccer. That was an era when immigration began to increase and the individuals who were arriving from other Countries were bringing their ideas regarding how this game should be played with them. Even though the College level soccer games were becoming more rugby-like; the working class soccer games were becoming more soccer-like.

Beginning around 1875, soccer was becoming increasingly more popular on the East coast, beginning in New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York City. This sport became popular in Chicago, Il during the 1880’s. In the 1880’s; baseball was such a popular sport in the United States, that many people stopped playing soccer and started playing baseball. Soccer was losing popularity and baseball was gaining popularity. The AFA(American Football Association) was formed during 1884. The AFA quickly established the first National Championship competition, the American Cup. The first American Cup was won by ONT(Our New Thread) of Kearny, NJ during 1885. The AFA also formed the first National Team during 1885. Around the year of 1893 soccer was being reintroduced to many colleges. During 1894 a professional soccer league was formed by a group of baseball owners. Initially, these baseball owners intended to use their stadiums for soccer games during their off-season. The attempt to start this tradition began during 1894, but quickly failed. This new league was defeated financially during its first season. Soccer continued to be unpopular between 1895 and 1998 and the NAFBL and American Cup were both suspended. The sports of Polo and Boxing were both becoming increasingly more popular during this time. It is believed that during this time span; many coaches were using unethical methods to obtain athletes from other Countries to play on their teams. The general public frowned on this. The United States Football Club (Soccer Team) participated in the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri. Perhaps this was a turning point that got American people enthused about soccer.

During 1906, the St. Louis Soccer League became a Professional Team. Also, during 1906, the NAFBL and the American Cup were revived. FIFA(Federation Internationale de Football Association) was founded in Paris on May 21, 1904. FIFA’s first President, Robert Guertin, was elected on May 23, 1904. When FIFA was first formed, France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland were it’s seven members. Germany was also announcing its intention to join at that time. Finally, an organization had formed that was attempting to standardize the rules of the game of soccer so that various Countries would be using the same rules and would consequently be able to compete with each other. The first International Competition occured during 1906. Even though this competition was successful; there was much arguing regarding which standards should and should not be used, FIFA would not recognize the AFA or the AAFA, there was financial strife and Guertin was quickly replaced with Daniel Burley Woolfall of England. Soccer was a part of the 1908 Olympics, which seemed to boost International interest in the game of soccer. South Africa became a member of FIFA during 1909. Argentina became a FIFA member during 1912. FIFA rejected the United States’ first application to be a member of FIFA during 1912. The United States was finally accepted as a member of FIFA during 1913. FIFA had 36 members in 1925, 41 members in 1930, 51 members in 1938, 73 members in 1950. By the year of 2000, FIFA had 204 members. The third FIFA President, Jules Rimet, was instated during 1921. The first FIFA World Cup Competition took place while he was presider over this organization. The first FIFA World Cup Competition was held in Uruguay because, at that time Uruguay was the current Olympic Champions in this sport and they were celebrating their Independence. The first World Cup consisted of thirteen teams.

The competing teams were:

Group A: Argentina, Chile, France, Mexico

Group B: Bolivia, Brazil, Yugoslavia

Group C: Peru, Romania, Uruguay

Group D: Belgium, Paraguay

United States Fifa world ranking results from FIFA World Cup Competitions between 1930 and 2002 are as follows:

FIFA World Cup 1930, Champion: Uruguay, Runner-up: Argentina, 3rd United States, Host: Uruguay

FIFA World Cup 1934, Champion: Italy, Runner-up Czechoslovakia, 3rd: Germany, Host: Italy

FIFA World Cup 1938, Champion: Italy, Runner-up: Hungary, ,3rd: Brazil, Host: France

FIFA World Cup 1942, No Competition

FIFA World Cup 1946, No Competition

FIFA World Cup 1950, Champion: Uruguay, Runner-up: Brazil ,Sweden, Host: Brazil

FIFA World Cup 1954, Champion: West Germany, Runner-up: Hungary, 3rd: Austria, Host:: Switzerland

FIFA World Cup 1958, Champion: Brazil, Runner-up: Sweden, 3rd: France, Host: Sweden

FIFA World Cup 1962, Champion: Brazil, Runner-up: Czechoslovakia, 3rd: Chile, Host: Chile

FIFA World Cup 1966, Champion: England, Runner-up: West Germany, 3rd: Portugal, Host:: England

FIFA World Cup 1970, Champion: Brazil, Runner-up: Italy, West Germany, Host: Mexico

FIFA World Cup 1974, Champion: West Germany, Runner-up: Holland, 3rd: Poland, Host: West Germany

FIFA World Cup 1978 Champion: Argentina, Runner-up: Holland, 3rd: Brazil, Host: Argentina

FIFA World Cup 1982, Champion: Italy, Runner-up: West Germany , 3rd: Poland, Host: Spain

FIFA World Cup 1986, Champion: Argentina, Runner-up: West Germany, 3rd: France, Host: Mexico

FIFA World Cup 1990, Champion: West Germany, Runner-up: Argentina, 3rd: Italy, Host: Italy

FIFA World Cup 1994, Champion: Brazil, Runner-up: Italy, 3rd: Sweden, Host: United States

FIFA World Cup 1998, Champion: France, Runner-up: Brazil, 3rd: Croatia, Host: France

FIFA World Cup 2002, Champion: Brazil, Runner-up: Germany, 3rd: Turkey, Host: Korea/Japan

FIFA World Cup 2006 Is scheduled to take place in Germany From June 9th to June 23rd. The Professional Soccer Players who are expected to perform extremely well are: AGUERO Sergio, Argentina BARNETTA Tranquillo, Switzerland FABREGAS Cesc, Spain FERNANDES Manuel, Portugal GUARDADO Andres, MexicoJoao Moutinho, Portugal Luka MODRIC, Croatia PARK Chu-Young, Korea E Prince, Ghana ZABALETA, Pablo, Argentina

The history of soccer continues to be shaped and adjusted; but has become an enourmously popular and postive activity for young soccer players as well as professional soccer players. The US Men’s Olympic Team failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympic’s, however, the US Women’s Olympic Team won the Gold Medal during the 2004 Olympics. The game of soccer is expected to become even more popular in the future.

Written by: Dawn Perucca,


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