Where was football invented?

The origins of football is hotly debated, from Mexico to China, but the current game as we know it is from England.

Football is said to have been invented in England in 1863. It was in this year that the first association governing the game was founded. Football refers a number of sports which involve kicking of a ball.


The Ivy League schools were playing variations on a kicking game as far back as the 1820s. The first recognized intercollegiate football game took place in 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton, in New Jersey, although that game probably looked more like soccer than the modern game of football we know.

The game started to resemble American football in the 1870s, when a standardized set of rules was drawn up based on the English rugby code. Over the next 40 years, several innovations slowly changed the game from rugby into what we know today, including the line of scrimmage, a down-and-distance system, and the forward pass.

So there was no one place where the game was invented. It evolved over many years, starting as a game that looked a lot like soccer and eventually growing out of rugby. Football/soccer was invented in England, the first registered football association was Sheffield FC in 1857.