How Soccer Has Changed Over Time

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Table of contents

  1. History of Soccer
  2. Tactics
  3. Strength and Physical Training Expectations
  4. Nutrition
  5. Variations of Soccer
  6. Conclusion
  7. Work Cited

Soccer is a game that is played by two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball that may not be in contact with hands or arms during gameplay, except by the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper is permitted to use their hands only within the 18-yard box that is outlined, and any contact with the ball by the hands of the keeper outside the box, would be considered a handball. The objective of the game is to score as many goals as possible in the opponents’ net, whether it be with the foot, head, shoulder, or knee. Soccer, or “futbol” as said in foreign countries, is played by over 250 million professional players worldwide, and estimated to be played by a total of about 4 billion poeple on the global stage. This makes soccer the most played and most popular sport in the world.

The purpose of this report is to analyze how soccer has evolved over time and how things used to be in comparison to now. Topics that will be explored are the history of soccer and where it originated, the tactics that have been used back then and how they are used today, the aspect of physical training and high fitness level of soccer players as opposed to players of yesteryear, modern day soccer equipment and how it now aids players to enhance fitness and technical skills, the nutrition that a soccer player must maintain in order to perform, and the different variations of soccer.

History of Soccer

The earliest dated evidence of soccer being played was seen in Asia approximately 3000 years ago. In other countries like South America, there seemed to be a game that merely resembles modern day soccer. Additionally, the Greeks and Romans take part in claiming that they created a game that is similar to soccer as well (Bell, 2015). Although there is possible evidence of soccer being played in other areas of the world, it was not very well known until the game made its way to Europe. After many years, soccer eventually made it to Europe, and the game was played and enjoyed for the next 300 years. The game that was loved and played by the Europeans began to look a little like modern day soccer, however, without many rules in place, the sport took an unexpected turn and was extremely violent, causing injuries to occur consistently. Due to the violence, King Edward III felt the need to put a stop to it, so he ended up banning soccer in England and it was considered against the law to play it (Bell, 2015). Despite the implementation of this law, many players attempted to continue to play the game they love as much as possible, but many were punished and/or imprisoned. For many years following, kings and queens of England followed the path that King Edward started, and continued to ban soccer.

After a while, soccer became unbanned in the 1800’s and people were free to play at last. Schools in England began to organize teams and play against each other, and the idea of tournaments was thought of at the time, but not every school or area followed the same set of rules for the game. To solve this issue, a man named Ebenezer Cobb Morley, who was a founder of a famous football club at the time, gathered as many football club managers to a meeting, where they jointly established the official rules of soccer. Although these rules may have been adjusted over the years, Ebenzer is considered the founder of soccer (Bell, 2015)


Many things have changed in this world. From people’s minds, to politics, to architecture, and many more. But what about soccer? One of the most significant changes in football history are the various gameplay systems and tactics used over the years. There have been a variety of methods used such as the 3-5-2 system, the 4-3-3, possession tactics, counter pressing, and vertical passing (Kick off, 2019).

Every few decades humanity spawns groundbreaking revolutions that fundamentally change life’s steam engines. When it comes to soccer, there have also been technical revolutions at similar intervals, which changed the game the innovators dominated for years (Kick off, 2019). Viewing and understanding the history of tactics may help to see where is ends up.

In 1872, the first international match ever occurred between England and Scotland. England started with a 1-1-8 formation, while Scotland was walled in with a 2-2-6 formation. Below are diagrams of these formations. The first one is England’s formation and the second is Scotland’s. [image: ][image: ]

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These ample amount of striker on the pitch resulted in a bad game, and these formations were never used again. Later, Arsenal coach Herbert Chapman was incredibly successful with his more defensive approach, a “WM” system (Kick off, 2019). Due to this formation, arsenal was considered unbeatable, and they thought they had the perfect tactic. This formation was very common and was used in the first world cups. After many years of success with this formation, the English were finally defeated by the Hungarians. In 1953, the English were blown away when the lost 6-3 at home to the Hungarian national team. Hungary had a change in their 2-3-5 tactic by creating an under hit, which meant that one of the five forwards would drop back towards the defence as opposed to staying flat at the top. This allowed for technical ball distribution to the attackers, which ended up confusing the English. Despite Hunagrians’ success, it did not last forever. Later in the 60’s, other European teams like Italy created an even more defensive system, which allows for an overload of defenders on each opponent. Next, came the Dutch man Rinus Michels with his “total football” revolution. This was a tactic that meant each player can play in any position they wish to play, as long as the wide 4-3-3 formation was maintained. He was later rewarded with FIFA coach of the century(Kick off, 2019). Many of today’s coaches utilize techniques that were created back then, but instead of the focus being on only one tactic, almost all coaches at the professional level these days practice and master all tactics, and use them differently depending on the opponent.

Strength and Physical Training Expectations

It is important nowadays that players have far higher physical capabilities than the players of yesteryear. Soccer players these days must be more fit due to the fact that they are required to cover 50% more distance in a game then players before. For example, the amount of sprinting that soccer players perform has almost doubled since the year 2002 (90soccer, 2017). Over the course of a 90 minute soccer game, these days the ball is in play for about 15 minutes longer than in the 1990’s, meaning the fitness and endurance of players today must evidently be higher. Also, the players of today must be able to summon larger amounts of mental concentration in order to consistently perform adequately at a professional level. Physical and technical training of players has also evolved over the years. Since modern day soccer equipment has been established, soccer players are able to train on their own using things like hurdles, ladders, speed ropes, dummies, cones, and rebounders to enhance technical skills of players today.


Additional to the topic of physical training and fitness of soccer players, the importance of a soccer player’s diet cannot be underestimated in today’s soccer, especially when it comes to planning the path to success on the field (Coggin, 2018).

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger once said: “Food is like kerosene. If you put the wrong one in your car, it’s not as quick as it should be”

If one compares the nutrition of players before, as opposed to the nutrition of players now, it is clear that they do not consume the same healthy foods that the players of today do. This is because modern day professional soccer teams always tend to have a specific person who monitors the nutrition and health of every player, in order to maintain the highest possible fitness levels .

Variations of Soccer

Soccer may be well known to only have one variation, but in reality, the beautiful game has spun off in a variety of different ways and they are all equally enjoyable in their own way (Augustin, 2017).

  • Futsal
  • Indoor
  • Beach
  • Mud soccer


To sum everything up, soccer has definitely been around for many years and has been evolving ever since it was created. From the basic rules of soccer, to complex tactics, to the physical training of soccer players, soccer is seen to be a very interesting sport with unlimited outcomes. In the days of the past, soccer and the facilities that revolve around soccer were not taken into consideration, like the players eating habits outside the field for example, which shows that the soccer players of today must work much harder in order to make it to the top. With longer games, more tactics to master, enhanced technical skill, and far better fitness than players of the past, soccer players and coaches have reached an all time high with soccer revolutions.

Work Cited

  1. Augustin, R. (2017, March 27). Retrieved from
  2. Bell, E. (2015, March 29). How has soccer changed over the years?. Retrieved from
  3. Coggin, S. (2018, February 3). This Is What a Soccer Player's Diet Should Look Like. Retrieved from
  4. Hetzel, M. (2019, June 11). Benefits of Underwater Treadmills. Retrieved from
  5. History of Soccer. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  6. -, 90S., By, -, & 90Soccer. (2017, April 23). How the sport of soccer has changed over the years. Retrieved from
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