by Concetta Gleason (Club Leo, Editorial and Creative coordinator)
The World Cup kicked off Thursday, June 12, and Scholastic Club Leo en español has been cheering on our favorite teams ever since. Safe to say, soccer mania has swept Scholastic! The World Cup is the largest fútbol (aka soccer, in North America) competition in the world.
Every four years a different country has the honor of hosting the games. This year, the World Cup will be hosted by Brazil. It’s the first time in almost 30 years that the games will be played in Latin America. Brazil is a soccer haven, having won the Cup a total of four times thus far. In fact, Pelé— arguably fútbol’s great star—hails from Brazil. Pelé is the only player to have been a world champion three times. He won in 1958, 1962, and 1970.
The World Cup is a global phenomenon and Club Leo en español is showcasing the bilingual book Soccermania/Futbolmanía to celebrate the games. Soccermania/Futbolmanía is a great resource for learning about wild antics and fun back stories from the history of the World Cup and the game of fútbol. Some of these facts need to be read to believed! Let’s take a sneak peek at some info from the book.
Fun and Wacky Facts About Fútbol:
1. The first World Cup was played in Uruguay in 1930. At the time, different countries had different rules for the game and some of FIFA’s universal rules were still in flux. The finalists, Uruguay and Argentina, couldn’t agree on what type of ball to use. As a compromise the first half was played with an Argentinean ball and the second half with a Uruguayan ball. (Uruguay won!)
2. How many soccer balls are made every year around the world? A hundred million!
3. While fútbol may have officially started in the United Kingdom in the mid-1800s, many ancient cultures played sports that resemble the game:
-China played a game called cuju during the Han Dynasty.
-Greece played a game called episkyros more than 2,000 years ago.
-The Roman empire played a game called harpastum more than 1,500 years ago.
-Japan played a game called kemari 1,400 years ago.
4. The Nike Corporation makes fútbol attire and memorabilia out of plastic bottles. It takes eight bottles to make a shirt and five bottles to make a pair of shorts.
Check out Soccermania/Futbolmanía to learn more interesting and surprising facts! Below are some more exciting resources for fútbol fans, old and new:
Enjoy the World Cup, and let’s honor the sport’s ability to unify people around the world by living up to the 2014 slogan: “All in one rhythm.”