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Vacaville Youth Soccer League

Soccer has become increasingly more popular in the United States in the last 30 years, with nearly 3 million children between the ages of 5-19 now playing in youth soccer leagues throughout the nation.


Soccer began in England in the mid-1800's, and was originally played by the higher, more aristocratic English classes in their boarding schools and private clubs. The ease and inexpense of the sport quickly moved it ahead as a sport for the masses however. Today soccer is ranked as one of the world's leading sports for commoners.


The London Football Association was founded and 1863 and is responsible for standardizing game rules throughout Europe. In less than 20 years, professional players and teams were hitting the field.


Soccer began to spread throughout Europe almost immediately, with Spain, Germany, Italy, and France all taking up the game b the early 20th century. As interest in the sport grew throughout the world, so did an interest in formal competition. In 1900, the first soccer game was played at the Olympics, with medals introduced just eight years later. Professional players, however, were exempt from competition in the Olympic Games for more than 80 years.


In 1904, The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), was formed, followed by the first World Cup international competition in 1930. A round-robin style tournament that pits teams from individual nations against each other every four years, the World Cup has grown into an international affair, with nearly 200 teams now seeking admittance. Only 24 are permitted to compete.


Although it took the United States years to enter the soccer arena on a widespread basis, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) was formed in 1913. Unfortunately, most Americans preferred watching (and playing) a different form of the sport -- American football -- until a Brazilian named Pele, (considered to the greatest soccer player of all time), joined the N.Y. Cosmos team in 1975. With such an amazing player to watch in America, popularity of the sport grew throughout the states, until his retirement in 1977, when soccer once again took a backseat to football. Following Pele's retirement, the North American Soccer League slowly lost fan support, finally dissolving in 1985.


It wasn't until the men's World Cup competition, was held in the United States in 1994, that soccer interest was renewed among American youth. The Major League Soccer (MLS), was founded in 1993, and began its first season in 1996 with 10 teams and 32 regular season games. More than 3 million fans watched the playoffs that year. By 1991, women were finally allowed to play on a professional level, when the Women's World Cup competition was introduced for the first time.


The interest in youth soccer remains strong throughout the United States today. Sports teams and leagues are now available in nearly every American community. From pee-wee players who aren't even in school yet, to semi-professional high school teams, players of all interest and abilities are now hitting the soccer field for both spring and fall competition. The U.S. Youth Soccer, a division of the USSF, now includes nearly 3 million official players.


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Source: www.articlesphere.com