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What is the history of soccer?

Games that involve kicking a ball span thousands of years; the earliest forms include an ancient game that allowed the use of hands in Athens, and a game called cuju (which translates to "kick ball") in China around 200 BC. The Greek game also involved a lot of violence, and more resembled rugby with kicking.

Like many modern sports, official rules of soccer didn't exist until the mid-1800s, when a committee came together and penned the Cambridge Rules in 1848. The Sheffield Football Club formed in 1857 and is the oldest club in existence today.

Worldwide popularity grew with the Olympics and the inception of the World Cup in 1930; after from the Summer Games, this tournament is the most watched event in the world and takes place the same year as the Winter Olympics.

Soccer at the Olympic Games

Men's soccer has been part of the Olympics since 1900; women's teams weren't allowed to compete until 1996. The only other year that didn't include the sport was in 1932, in an attempt to grow an audience for American football.

In the early years, Great Britain took home the gold three out of the first four Olympics. No one team has dominated the men's tournament, with 19 different countries winning at least one gold medal. On the other hand, the United States has dominated the women's tournament, winning four of six gold medals.

What are the current Olympic soccer events?

There is men's and women's soccer at the Summer Games.

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