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Soccer, also known as football, is the most-played outdoor team sport in Australia

Soccer, also known as football, is the most-played outdoor team sport in Australia and is among the top ten television viewers. The national governing body of the sport is the Football Federation Australia (FFA), which until 2019 organized the A-League, the W-League and still the FFA Cup and the national teams of men and women (Socceroos) and the Matildas) , The FFA consists of nine state and territorial associations that oversee sport in their respective regions.

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Modern soccer was introduced in Australia at the end of the 19th century by mainly British immigrants. The first country-based association, Wanderers, was founded in Sydney on August 3, 1880, while Balgownie Rangers' oldest existing club in Australia was founded in 1883 in Wollongong. Wanderers was also the first known team to play by the rules of the game.

A semi-professional national league, the National Soccer League, was introduced in 1977. The NSL was replaced in 2004 by a fully professional league, the A-League, which contributed to a rise in popularity in the sport. Australia was a founding member of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) before moving to the Asian football Football Confederation (AFC) in 2006.

An early game took place on August 7, 1875 at the Woogaroo Lunatic Asylum in Wacol, when a team of inmates and guards from the institution played against the visiting Australian football club in Brisbane. The rules of the game, which clearly stated that the ball should neither be handled nor carried, contained a direct reference to the British Association Rules.

A match was scheduled to take place in Hobart on May 10, 1879, when members of the Cricketer's Club played a scratch card match under English club rules accepted by the club. The game was a return match to a played on May 24 by the clubs after a variant of the Victorian rules; To avoid the disadvantage of the cricketers, the clubs agreed that the rules of the association will be adopted in the second leg.

The first game recorded in Sydney under the Laws of the Game was held on August 14, 1880 in Parramatta Common between Wanderers and Kings School rugby team members. The Wanderers, the first Australian football club, was founded on August 3, 1880. by the English emigrant John Walter Fletcher. Later, in 1882, Fletcher founded the New South Wales English Football Association (also known as the South British Football Soccer Association), the first football governing body in Australia and one of the first to be established outside the UK.

In 1883, Balgownie Rangers, the oldest existing club in Australia football, was founded. The club is currently playing in the Regionalliga Illawarra. Later that year, the first inter-collegial game was played on the East Melbourne Cricket Ground between a representative Victorian team and one from the neighboring colony of New South Wales.

As football continued to grow throughout Australia, John Fletcher's football association in New South Wales inspired other states to establish their own governing bodies for the sport. In 1884 Victoria formed her own association, the Anglo-Australian Football Association (now Football Victoria), as well as Queensland in the Anglo-Queens Football Association (now Football Queensland) and Northern New South Wales in the Northern District British Football Association (now Northern New South Wales Football). In 1896, the Western Australian Soccer Football Association was founded. In 1900, a Tasmanian club was founded, and later in 1902 the South Australian British Football Association was founded.

It was not until 1911 that a governing body was formed to oversee football activities throughout Australia. The first such organization was called the Commonwealth Football Association. However, this body was replaced by the Australian Football Association, which was founded in 1921.

Australia is considered the first country to use cadre numbers in football for the first time when Sydney Leichardt and HMS Powerful players showed 1911 numbers on their backs. A year later, the numbering in football in New South Wales was set as mandatory.

The first Australian national team to play New Zealand football in the second game against New Zealand in 1922 during Australia's first tour of Australia On 17 June 1922, the Australian Soccer Association founded the first Australian national football team to represent Australia for a tour of New Zealand. During the tour, the Australian men's national team lost two of the three games against the newly formed New Zealand team.

It was very popular with British and Southern European settlers and this led to football establishing itself as an important sport in the country.

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