The earliest form of soccer was played by the Chinese in the second and third centuries. It was called tsu-chu, and was originally intended to be a military training exercise.
Tsu-chu, which means "kick ball," was very similar to modern soccer. It involved two different teams attempting to kick a leather ball into a net that was held by two vertical poles. Tsu-chu differed slightly from modern soccer due to the net being suspended in the air as opposed to being placed on the ground.
The popularity of the game grew, spreading throughout the world, eventually reaching Europe. In Europe, the game was given many new rules and regulations before it became a highly prominent sport on a global scale.