Let’s rewind to a time before vuvuzelas became the international symbol for the 2010 World Cup, back before the World Cup even existed. All the way back to October 26, 1863. On that day, the Football Association was formed and became the first organization to formally create a single set of rules for football (aka soccer) clubs and school teams. What Americans call “soccer” is internationally known as association football— not to be confused with American football or rugby football. “Soccer” derives from the “soc” portion of As-soc-iation Football— an abbreviation the English adopted before it caught on in the states.

Pre-FA, in 1848, English schools and colleges adopted a version of football regulations known as the Cambridge Rules. The FA standardized the rules for a general audience— including birds and blokes who weren’t fancy enough to attend one of these academic institutions. These days, the FA presides over England, while the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) takes the lead internationally.

As of 2007, FIFA estimated 265 million people played soccer internationally, making it the most popular sport in the world. And with good reason— soccer players break a sweat performing aerobic and anaerobic exercise of varying intensity. Plus, soccer involves additional physical demands with tackling, jumping, accelerating, and turning The physiology of soccer--with special reference to intense intermittent exercise. Bangsbo, J. August Krogh Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica. Supplementum, 1994;619:1-155. Not to mention all those sweet tricks. Celebrate soccer’s formalization and hit the pitch with some pals for a fun and competitive workout.

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