Soccer was called 蹴鞠 (Cù Jú) in ancient China, which had been played extensively as early as in the Spring-Autumn and Warring State Periods.
In the Han dynasty, China’s first monographic book on soccer named “25 Chapters on Cù Jú” appeared. In the Tang dynasty, techniques for making soccer balls had two improvements. One was that the ball cover was changed from being made of 2 combined panels of leather to a sphere stitched with 8 pointed panels of leather. The other one was the change from stuffing up the ball with feathers and hairs to placing an animal’s bladder inside and inflating it by someone with mouth to make an air-filled ball. Since the ball became lighter in weight, it could be kicked up to higher level. The goal was setup between two bamboo poles that were 3 Zhang (about 9.2 meters) high.
In terms of playing methods, it was direct confrontation with players divided into teams in the Han dynasty. In the Tang dynasty, there was a goal in between with two teams on each side. The team scored more than the other won.
In the Tang dynasty, woman soccer started to emerge. There was no goal in the field setup for woman soccer, and who could kick the ball high and demonstrate many styles would be considered as an exceptionally capable player. This was called “白打”(Bai Da).
In the Song dynasty, the soccer playing skills had transferred from focusing on accurate shooting to emphasizing on agility and ball controlling level. Moreover, techniques of ball making had been further improved compared with those in the Tang dynasty. The ball was made of 12 panels of fragrant leather. The raw material was deeply tanned yellow leather which had been smartly cut from a piece of solid leather. The ball making techniques made the ball tightly stitched with seams and corners well hidden. Regarding specifications, the final ball must weigh 12 Liang (about 448 grams) exactly and must be very round.