Soccer Invented by Romans According to Italy's leading encyclopedia, football, known as soccer in the United States, was popularized by the Romans. The Encyclopedia Trecanni claims that the game of football, or soccer, is based on a Greek game called "harpaston" which was later popularized by the Romans. The game consisted of kicking, throwing or pushing a ball made of "vegetable matter" across a goal. Apparently, the game was a popular pastime among Julius Caesar's legions and was introduced to England in the first century BCE, where, at times, the skulls of conquered Britons were used as balls.