Originally titled SoccerNet, the website was established by Greg Hadfield and his then-teenage son Tom in 1995, initially providing live score updates, tables and news articles. Greg, at that time, worked for the Daily Mail and in order to gain capital, effectively rescinded ownership of the site to his bosses in return for £40,000 and a revenue sharing scheme.
ESPN eventually launched a U.S. television studio program on ESPNews and ESPN2 dedicated to Soccer, also known as ESPN FC. The program airs on weekday evenings at 6 PM, and a weekly recap show airs on Sunday nights. The program is normally hosted by Dan Thomas. Regular contributors include Craig Burley, Shaka Hislop, Alejandro Moreno, Steve Nicol, Paul Mariner, Raphael Honigstein, Gabriele Marcotti, Brian McBride, Taylor Twellman, Ian Darke, Kasey Keller, Frank LeBoeuf, Stewart Robson, Sid Lowe, Julien Laurens, Uli Hesse, Nilton Batata and Santiago Solari.
A favorable story about Qatar's preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the site was met with backlash for author Phil Ball's dismissal of allegations of abuses toward migrant workers by the Qatari government. ESPN later apologized and removed the story from the website, saying that it did not meet their "journalistic standards".