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Women participated in games since the 12th century, and probably before, but there are no accurate record. The first recorded organized games date back to the 18th century.
The modern game developed in the late 19th century with teams in England, France and Canada. But women's soccer came to an end in 1921, when the English Football Association banned women's teams from their grounds. It wasn't until the 1950's that women started playing again. Then in 1969 the English FA lifted its ban on women's teams.
In the 1960's soccer took off in the U.S. and has grown in recent years. Once considered 'a man's game', soccer is now, without question, a woman's game as well.
A study done in 1997 found that girls high school soccer was on of the top ten high school sports in the U.S. with the most girl athletes.
A 1999 study conducted by the Soccer Industry Council of America found that participation has increased 37 percent among 12- to 17-year-old girls (to 3 million) during the 1991 season. Among youth soccer leagues, girls now represent 45 percent of players.
A few colleges played club or intramural women's soccer as far back as the 1920s. By the 1950's, a large youth soccer movement had developed, and large numbers of girls participated.
The first varsity women's soccer program was at Brown University in 1977. The first 'national' championship was in 1980. In 1981, a national championship was held by the AIAW (Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women). The first NCAA women's soccer championship was held in 1982.
Women's college soccer is booming making it the fastest growing intercollegiate sport. It now ranks as one of the most popular intercollegiate sports for women.