- Invented: 1863
- Inventor: Unknown
- Players on a Team: 11
- Equipment: Ball, cleats, shin guards
- Governing Body: FIFA
- Championships: World Cup, Pan-Arab Games, Africa Cup
- Popular Leagues: English Premier League, La Liga, Major League Soccer
- Popular Teams: Real Madrid, Manchester United
- Famous Players: Pelé, Ronaldinho, Beckham
- Olympic Sport: Yes
- History: Soccer Was Invented in England Around 1863
- Rules: Each Team Must Have 11 Players
- Rules: Players Aim to Score Goals Without Using Their Hands
- Organizations: FIFA Was Founded in 1904
- Organizations: FIFA Has More Members than the United Nations
- Championships: FIFA World Cup and the Olympics Feature Intercontinental Play
- Championships: Confederations and Leagues Host Championships
- Championships: US Open Cup is the Oldest American Soccer Championship
- Rules: The MLS Supporters’ Shield Goes to the Team with the Best Season Record
- LA Galaxy Holds MLS Record For Longest Winning Streak
- Three-way Tie for Most Goals in a Season
- Landon Donovan Leads MLS in Goals
- Los Angeles Galaxy Has Most MLS Cup Wins
- The US Women’s Team Has Most Olympic Soccer Wins
- Beckham is the Only English Player to Score in Three World Cups
- Pelé Holds the Most World Cup Championship Wins
- Over 200 Teams Attempt to Qualify for the World Cup
- The World Cup is the World’s Most Popular Event
Soccer Facts Infographics
Soccer Was Invented in England Around 1863
Soccer, more commonly known as football or association football worldwide, was invented in England around 1863. Soccer facts teach us the sport derived from rugby, though people had been kicking balls around for millennia. There are even carvings of the Ancient Greeks performing what appear to be soccer moves. Rules were established for the sport in 1863 in order to standardize play. Surprisingly, no one person is credited with inventing the sport. Soccer’s popularity spread as the English colonized. While many of those colony locations are no longer under British rule, they still enjoy soccer.
Each Team Must Have 11 Players
Each soccer team must have at least 11 players. Soccer facts tell us that 10 of the players attempt to get the ball into the opponent’s goal without using their hands. The other player is the goalkeeper, or goalie, and tries to keep the opposing team from scoring. The goalie wears a different color uniform than the other players and is the only player allowed to use his hands. A soccer team may have more than 11 players, as substitutions are allowed; however only 11 players may be on the field from each team at any given time.
Players Aim to Score Goals Without Using Their Hands
The aim of soccer is to score as many goals during a game as possible, all without using one’s hands. The only player allowed to use his hands is the goalie. The other players mainly use their feet to move the ball across the field, also known as the pitch. Players are not just limited to using their feet, however. They can also use their knees, chests, and even their heads to stop a ball or propel it forward.
FIFA Was Founded in 1904
According to soccer facts, the organization that governs international play and establishes the rules is the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, commonly known as FIFA. FIFA was founded in Paris in May 1904 by delegates from Denmark, Belgium, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden with the aim of establishing clear, fair rules for all players. FIFA hosts the Football World Cup and also works to popularize soccer in even more countries.
FIFA Has More Members than the United Nations
FIFA recognizes six continental confederations to govern play. These are the Asian Football Confederation; the Confederation of African Football; the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football; the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol; the Oceania Football Confederation; and the Union of European Football Associations. These confederations have control over their own area as vested from FIFA, but are not FIFA members.
In contrast, the national associations are FIFA members. There are 209 recognized national associations. Each has a men’s team, and 129 of them have a women’s team. FIFA recognizes more member states than the UN, including Palestine and the four Home Nations within the UK. Soccer facts show this allows FIFA to have more members than the United Nations.
FIFA World Cup and the Olympics Feature Intercontinental Play
FIFA hosts the World Cup and the Women’s World Cup, both of which feature teams from across the world vying for recognition as the world’s best. The International Olympic Committee hosts the Olympics, which also features national soccer teams attempting to score a gold medal. These events are held every four years.
Confederations and Leagues Host Championships
The continental confederations recognized by FIFA and the National Leagues also hold their own championships. Popular games include the Africa Cup and the Pan-Arab Cup. Major League Soccer, the United States’ soccer league, hosts the MLS Cup, which features the MLS teams with the most wins sparring for the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy.
US Open Cup is the Oldest American Soccer Championship
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the United States’ longest, continuing soccer championship. It features men’s teams from three tiers of men’s professional soccer. The cup was first contested in 1914 as the National Challenge Cup. Teams from Major League Soccer, the North American Soccer League, and the United Soccer League can compete to win the Sir Thomas Dewar Cup.
The MLS Supporters’ Shield Goes to the Team with the Best Season Record
The Major League Soccer teams don’t just play for the MLS Cup – they also compete for the Supporters’ Shield. The Shield goes to the Major League Soccer team with the best season record. DC United and the LA Galaxy have each won the Supporters’ Shield four times.
LA Galaxy Holds MLS Record For Longest Winning Streak
The LA Galaxy holds the record for the longest MLS winning streak. Soccer facts indicate that in the 1997-1998 season, the LA Galaxy won 15 games in a row. The team also holds the second longest winning streak for a 12 game streak the previous year.
Three-way Tie for Most Goals in a Season
Three MLS players are tied for the most goals in a single season. Roy Lassiter of the Tampa Bay Mutiny (1996), Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes (2012), and Bradley Wright-Phillips (2014) each scored 27 goals in a single season, ensuring their names would appear in the record books.
Landon Donovan Leads MLS in Goals
American Landon Donovan played for the Los Angeles Galaxy during four of their Major League Soccer Cup wins. He holds the record for most goals in the league with 144. Jamaican Jeff Cunningham is in second place with 134 goals.
Los Angeles Galaxy Has Most MLS Cup Wins
The Los Angeles Galaxy has taken home the MLS Cup five times from 1996 to 2014. David Beckham was part of the team for two of the five wins and Landon Donovan played for four. DC United has won the MLS Cup four times.
The US Women’s Team Has Most Olympic Soccer Wins
According to soccer facts, the United States’ Women’s soccer team leads the gold medal count for Olympic soccer. The team has won four out of five possible gold medals and one silver. Norway defeated the US in 2000 to take home the gold.
Beckham is the Only English Player to Score in Three World Cups
Playing in the World Cup is an honor that many soccer players dream of. Scoring in a World Cup match is even better. In 2006, David Beckham became the first English soccer player to score in three different World Cups. Beckham became popular during his Manchester United days when he married Posh Spice of the music group the Spice Girls. He later helped popularize soccer in the US when he joined the LA Galaxy.
Pelé Holds the Most World Cup Championship Wins
It was no surprise when Brazilian soccer legend Pelé was voted the 20th century’s best soccer player. Soccer facts show the master footballer has the most World Cup Championship medals hanging around his neck. He was part of the national teams that won the 1958, 1962, and 1970 World Cup Tournaments and helped bring home three of Brazil’s five World Cup wins.
Over 200 Teams Attempt to Qualify for the World Cup
The World Cup is celebrated all over the world. Qualification for the finals begins up to two years before the World Cup. For the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament, 204 teams entered to vie for a coveted spot.
The World Cup is the World’s Most Popular Event
Because soccer is played all over the globe, it isn’t surprising that the World Cup is the most watched television event. In 2006, about 1 out of 9 people on the planet watched the World Cup final match. The sport continues to grow in popularity. By 2018, that viewership number might even double!
Soccer Facts – Facts about Soccer Summary
Soccer is the world’s most popular sport. It is primarily known as soccer in the United States and Canada. Elsewhere, it goes by football or association football. Soccer was first played in England in the late 19th century. The sport spread along with the British Empire. In 1904, FIFA was founded to standardize play. FIFA now hosts the World Cup and regulates intercontinental play. There are 209 national association members who vie to play in the World Cup every four years. In the United States, Major League Soccer continues to grow in popularity. The LA Galaxy have won the MLS cup five times. The league is currently looking to expand.