Cheerleading History


1880s Princeton University’s football atmosphere led to the student body forming an all-male student “pep club” to lead “cheers” (unified chants and yells) in order to provide support to their team, as well as create a high energy sport environment, before basketball was invented.  

1898 Jack “Johnny” Campbell, from University of Minnesota, takes the credit as the very first of these “yell leaders” to pick up a megaphone, jump onto the sports field, and lead the crowd with the already popular university organized cheer. Minnesota won the game and cheerleading was born.

1923 The first women cheerleaders joined the sporting games.

1923-1948 Women became the majority of cheerleading’s athletes when the university male students left the country to fight in the war. Cheerleaders added enhanced techniques and skills to improve their ability to lead and energize the crowd at games, as well as increased crowd participation at their sporting events.

1948 The introduction of systematic “cheerleading clinic” and cheerleading training.

1961 The innovations and the creation of NCA(under Varsity currently).

1974 Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA, under Varsity) was founded. A new era of cheerleading has begun.

1975 A demonstration of cheerleading skills incorporating music; resulting in the birth of the “cheerleading routine”.

1982 UCA held the first “National Cheerleading Championship”. The competition was placed on a new sports television network called the “Entertainment Sports Programming Network” or “ESPN”. Based on syndicated programming of sporting event and entertainment, cheerleading began to further develop in Canada, Great Britain, etc..

1987 “American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators” (AACCA) is developed. It quickly became the standard for cheerleading safety in the USA, and was duplicated globally in the promotion of cheerleading safety.

1990 School cheerleading had reached 1.7 million athletes in the USA. It was also the beginning of non-school based cheerleading referred to as “All Star”.

1991 Interest in modern cheerleading at games began to accelerate within the continent resulting various educational clinics were conducted to help address these needs. Also, national cheer federations within Europe began to develop quickly, in support of the growing interest of young athletes.

1995 For the first time, international cheerleading teams performed at the UCA United States College National Championship.

1996 Cheerleading was featured in the Opening Ceremonies of the XXVI Olympiad, the Summer Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Georgia. As a result, cheerleading was further introduced to athletes all over the world.

2004 The 1st World Cheerleading Championships or “Cheerleading Worlds”.

2007 International Cheer Union (“ICU”) was formed.

2013 ICU became a proud member of The Association For International Sports For All (TAFISA).  ICU officially becomes the recognized world governing body for the Sport of Cheer around the world.


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User:    12/17/2023 6:11:33 AM