Records show the Native American Indians played soccer or Pasuckuakohowog from approximately 1620, although it is likely that they were playing it earlier than this. The word Pasuckuakohowog means 'they gather to play ball with the foot'.
These games were not very nice and very violent. It was fairly common that players would receive broken bones and other serious injuries; in fact the game was pretty much a war with up to 500 players on each side.
The players understood the violent nature of the game as they would often disguise themselves with lots of war paint and ornaments to avoid the wrath of revenge after the game. The game was normally played on a pitch that was often a mile long with goals at both ends. The game could last for hours and often carried on from one day to the next.
At the end of the match, both sides would meet for a celebratory feast, showing the need to disguise themselves during the game.
Nobody knows how long the Inuit have been playing their style of soccer called Aqsaqtuk, meaning soccer on ice. However the game has been mentioned in the myths of the Inuit for hundreds of years. Some Inuit believe the spirits of the dead travel to the northern lights and play an eternal game of soccer using a walrus head as the ball.
The length of the pitch can vary largely and there is a legend of one game between two villages with goals ten miles apart. The soccer ball for Aqsaqtuk was made of animal hide and whale bones and is stuffed with hair, moss, feathers and wood shavings.
The two teams were normally named after birds, usually the ptarmigans (an arctic bird) versus the long-tails. In summer, the two teams would play a game with the long-tails playing towards the water and the ptarmigans playing towards land, which is their favoured habitat. The two sides would also have song battles, with the players trying to embarrass the other team.
After the game they would celebrate in a large communal igloo called qaggi.
Football in England
The game of soccer is very popular all around the world, including England where it is known as football. There are many English football leagues, with the top being the Barclay's Premier Division. Matches from the Premier Division are watched throughout the world, with top teams and top players on display.
Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are all top teams in the English Premier Division, with world class players such as Frank Lampard, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Didier Drogba, Rafael Van Der Vaart, Fernando Torres and Carlos Tevez.
The popularity of soccer around the world is reflected in the player's wages with some of the best paid sportsmen being soccer players. Many of the top footballers are earning up to Â£200,000 a week including Cristiano Ronaldo, Yaya Toure and Lionel Messi.
FIFA World Rankings
Netherlands are ranked second, finishing as runners up in the 2010 FIFA World Cup to Spain.