50¢ Heading the Ball
Issue Date: May 26, 1994
City: New York, NY
Printed By: J.W. Fergusson & Sons for Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
The world’s most popular team sport, soccer is played in more than 140 countries, from Argentina and Bulgaria to Sweden and South Korea. Games similar to soccer were played in China as early as 206 B.C. However, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the modern game of soccer was developed.
A game that closely resembled soccer became popular among English schoolboys during the early 1800s. Played between residence houses at private schools, the rules of the game differed from school to school - some even allowed handling the ball. In 1863 the Football Association was formed and a uniform set of rules was established. Handling the ball was ruled out, and that version of the game went on to become rugby.
Soccer quickly became a popular sport, and by the 1880s the game had spread to other European countries including Austria, Russia, Turkey, Sweden, and eventually the United States. In 1904 the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded and in 1913 the United States Soccer Federation was established. Since then professional soccer has gained little acceptance among U.S. sports fans, however amateur soccer continues to be one of the nation’s fastest growing sports.