What is Football? The game of soccer -- more commonly referred to outside the United States as football -- has long been one of the most popular sports in the world. With origins that date back many centuries, soccer is played by young children, college students and professionals. Amateur clubs and weekend warriors add to the passion that swells up every four years for the most-watched sporting event in the world, the World Cup.
History - Although soccer's international governing body, the International Federation of Association Football, recognizes the birth of the modern game as 1863 in England, the deepest origins go back centuries. The Han Dynasty in the second century B.C. saw the emergence of a game similar to soccer called tsu' chu. Several centuries after that, the Japanese game Kemari began. Kemari was less competitive, with participants passing the ball from one another using their feet, trying to keep it from touching the ground. Much later, a violent town game emerged called mob football in Europe during the Middle Ages.