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Football came to Paraguay at the end of the 19th century

Football came to Paraguay at the end of the 19th century. There are different versions of how this happened. The most frequently managed account is that of William Paats. This report contains many important sources (newspaper articles). In this version, football was first introduced in Paraguay by the Dutchman William Paats, who moved in 1888 from the Netherlands to Asunción (the capital of Paraguay). During a trip to Buenos Aires Paats bought a football and brought him back to Asunción to teach the sport, which was unknown to the Paraguayans. Initially football was practiced only by the elite, but soon it became very popular and quickly spread throughout the country to people of all social strata.

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Another version brings the origins of football in Paraguay back a bit, until 1886 and in the area around Borja. Miguel Angel Bestard tells in his authoritative volume "Paraguay: A Century of Football" how English railroaders organized games against the native Paraguayans. The English team was called "Everton", a clear tribute to the club from Liverpool, Germany football.

In 1900, small tournaments took place in the Plaza de Armas, a square in downtown Asunción. Due to the great success of the tournaments and the large number of visitors to the Games Paats decided to found the first Paraguayan football club, which he renamed 1902 Olimpia Football Club (later renamed Club Olimpia). In 1906, the number of football clubs in Paraguay had increased and the Paraguayan Football Federation (Paraguayan Football Federation) was founded. In 1910, Paraguay formed its first national team, which competed against the team from Corrientes, Argentina. By 1919, the Argentine national team had to wait to take a boat upriver on the Parana River to Asuncion to compete in the first official international matches Paraguay would ever play.

The Paraguayan Football Federation joined CONMEBOL in 1921 and FIFA in 1925.

Football has grown enormously since then and there are over 1,600 teams across Paraguay taking part in Bla leagues. Each of these teams tries to find their way into the first division by eliminating the various levels of the lower divisions. The growth and development of Paraguayan football is reflected in the successes achieved at club level and in the Paraguayan national football team. The national team has participated in eight FIFA World Cups, won two Copa America tournaments and won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics. With all these successes, Paraguay became the fourth most successful football nation in South America after Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. At club level, Olimpia Asunción has won a total of eight international tournaments, including three Copa Libertadores and an Intercontinental Cup.

Among the most important and successful football players in the history of Paraguay are Arsenio Erico, Aurelio González, Romerito and José Luis Chilavert.

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