Popular Sports Around the World


Comprehension Passage: Popular Sports Around The World

Recommended for Class : 6 – 8


Activity : Read the passage carefuly, download the questions given below and solve it!


For centuries, people have been playing a kicking game with a ball. The game of soccer developed from some of these early games. The English probably gave soccer its name and its first set of rules. In European countries, soccer is called football or association football. Some people believe that the name "soccer" came from "Assoc.," an abbreviation for the word association. Others believe that the name came from the high socks that the players wear.

Organised soccer games began in 1863. In soccer, two teams of eleven players try to kick or head the ball into their opponents’ goal. The goalie, who tries to keep the ball out of the goal, is the only player on the field who is allowed to touch the ball with his or her hands. The other players must use their feet, heads, and bodies to control the ball.

Every four years, soccer teams around the world compete for the World Cup. The World Cup competition started in 1930.

Brazil is the home of many great soccer players, including the most famous player of all, Pelé. With his fast footwork, dazzling speed, and great scoring ability, Pelé played for many years in Brazil and then later in New York. During his 22 years in soccer, he scored 1,281 goals and held every major record for the sport.

People in more than 140 countries around the world play soccer. It is the national sport of most European and Latin American countries. Soccer is definitely the world’s most popular sport!

James Naismith, a physical education teacher in Massachusetts, invented basketball in 1891. Naismith’s boss asked him to invent a game that students could play indoors during bad weather. He wanted to find a game that wasn’t as physically rough as soccer, football, or wrestling.

Naismith attached peach baskets to a railing ten feet above the floor at either end of the gym. The players used a soccer ball.

A person sat on a ladder next to each basket at either end of the gym, and threw out the balls that landed in the baskets. Naismith decided that having only five players on each team would keep the game from getting too rough.

Two years later, metal hoops with net bags replaced the peach baskets. Officials pulled a string on the nets to release the balls that went in. In 1894, Naismith added the backboard behind each net and changed to a larger ball. In 1913, people began using the bottomless nets that are used today.

During a basketball game, two teams of five players each throw the ball into two baskets at opposite ends of a court. Players bounce, or dribble, the ball to the basket or pass the ball to teammates. A team scores points by getting the ball into their team’s basket. The team with the highest score wins.

By the 1900s, basketball was the most popular indoor sport. Athletes in approximately 130 countries play the game. Basketball is especially popular in the United States, China, and Puerto Rico.

Baseball began in the United States in the early 1800s. Some people believe that Abner Doubleday invented the game. Others think that baseball came from an old British sport called rounders. Baseball and rounders are very similar. However, in rounders the field players throw the ball right at the runner. If the ball hits the runner, he or she is out. In baseball, a field player just touches the ball to the base or the running player to get the player out.

Today’s baseball players use special equipment to help prevent injuries. Field players wear baseball gloves to protect their hands. The catcher wears a metal mask, a chest protector, and shin guards. Batters wear plastic helmets to protect their heads.

Every spring in the United States, people of all ages play baseball in local baseball fields. It’s no wonder that baseball is called the national pastime of the United States.