The national sport of the English is rarely called "soccer" except in America. English football has centuries of history behind it and while there are similarities, this game should never be mistaken for its close relative "rugby". One of the game's most distinctive features is that it is a kicking game with very few instances where any player actually contacts the ball with their hands.
English football is structured into various leagues with different associations between them. The league structure was set up with the intention that any particular club could rise through the ranks regardless of where their current standing might be. A new Premiere League was created in the early 1990's to be an elitist group which drops lower ranking teams and recruits from the next league down to give them a chance to rise. The Football League, the oldest in the world, is divided three ways to encourage competition between the clubs.
English football is not just a spectator sport played by contracted professionals. The English people love the game so well there are a number of non League systems in place to organize the interplay between clubs of all sizes. Designed in a pyramid style it encompasses teams from the semi professional to the small football clubs sponsored by local towns or businesses.