More than 240 million people around the world play soccer regularly according to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The game has evolved from the sport of kicking a rudimentary animal-hide ball around into the World Cup sport it is today.
Records trace the history of soccer back more than 2,000 years ago to ancient China. Greece, Rome and parts of central America also claim to have started the sport, but it was England that transitioned soccer, or what the British and many other people around the world call football, into the game we know today. The English are credited with recording the first uniform rules for the sport, including that tripping opponents and touching the ball with hands was forbidden.
As the sport developed, more rules were implemented and more historical landmarks were set. For example, the penalty kick was introduced in 1891. FIFA becomes a member of the International Football Association Board of Great Britain in 1913. Red and yellow cards were introduced during the 1970 World Cup finals. More recent major changes included when goalkeepers were banned from handling deliberate back-passes in 1992 and when tackles from behind became red-card penalties in 1998.