The History of Football

The History of Football

Update: 2021-07-12


Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell of the History of Football. But before they start they tell everyone the wonderful news that History Storytime won Silver in the British Podcast Awards!----more----

The history of Football starts thousands of years ago in China. The Chinese played a game very like football today. There were two teams and they scored by kicking a ball into a net. The Greeks and Romans also had a game that was very similar to football but which also involved using hands. However, while people all over the world played a game very like football, the rules were written down in England.

1000 years ago, England was football crazy. People played all the time. The games were quite disorganised. Towns would play against other towns. The rules were a little vague. They used a bladder blown up to be a ball. Ellie found that really disgusting!!

However, there was a problem. England was at war with France. France had amazing knightsin history. However, the English had archers. Being an archer needed a lot of practice so every week Englishmen would practice their archery. That way they could pull the massive long bows and aim them at the French knights. However, more and more English men were playing Football instead of practicing their archery. The King of England got so annoyed that he actually passed a law banning football. However people just ignored him. Then the King of Scotland passed a law banning football. Everyone in Scotland ignored him too.

Even women were playing football in history. Sophie reads a poem about women tucking in their skirts to play a proper game.

Everyone had a slightly different version of the game with different rules. Around 300 years ago there started to be schools for rich children. Those schools wrote down rules for the sports so that the schoolchildren could play them properly. Around 200 years ago there were trains invented. Now schools could play against other schools. So they got together and wrote rules that they would all agree on. These became the first rules for football. At first it was the rich schools who were the best teams.

However, football didn’t just stay a sport for the rich. The towns organised themselves into teams. Those teams were much better than the old rich schools. Now Football was a sport for everyone, and everyone had the same set of rules.

The new rules travelled around the world.

However, people still have to learn how to play well. In England plays used to just charge at the opposing side with the ball. In Scotland, though, they invented a new way of playing. This involved passing the ball around a lot. This passing game was much cleverer than the English way. It is the way that football is played today.

Now millions of people play football and billions enjoy watching it.


If you liked this episode, your kids might consider joining our History Storytime Patron’s Club. We have exclusive history episodes for kids there and your kids can help to choose a history episode. You can join at









Sleep Timer


End of Episode

5 Minutes

10 Minutes

15 Minutes

30 Minutes

45 Minutes

60 Minutes

120 Minutes

The History of Football

The History of Football

Sophie (7) & Ellie (4) tell history for kids