As college football embarks on its 150th-anniversary season, there is reason to believe the game that has been marked as the “birthplace of college football” — Nov. 6, 1869, at Rutgers University — was actually a soccer match.
Soccer historian Tom McCabe joins Pro Soccer USA’s Glenn Crooks to explain why that game more closely resembled soccer than American football.
“There weren’t two games on that day — it’s the same game,” said McCabe, who teaches a global soccer history course at Rutgers University-Newark. “There is quite a bit of debate as to what type of game it was.”
McCabe said rules set forth by the captains for both sides that day provided a clearer picture.
“No throwing or running with the round, inflated ball would be allowed — either would be constitute a foul,” McCabe explained. “The players move the ball forward with all parts of the body but mostly use their feet to maneuver toward the opponent’s goal. One person who was there described it as ‘frantic kicking.’
“This description, what does it sound like to you?”