Why do americans call it soccer ? While calling the world’s most popular sport “soccer” is typically depicted as a symbol of American ignorance, the reason we don’t call it “football” like the rest of the world is Britain’s fault.
The word “soccer” is a British invention that British people stopped using only around 40 years ago, according to a 2014 paper by University of Michigan professor Stefan Szymanski.
The word “soccer” comes from the use of the term “association football” in Britain, and goes back 200 years.
In the early 1800s, a bunch of British universities took “football” — a medieval game — and started playing their own versions of it, all under different rules. To standardize things across the country, these games were categorized under different organizations with different names.
One variant of the game you played with your hands became “rugby football.” Another variant came to be known as “association football” after the Football Association formed to promote the game in 1863, 15 years after the rules were made at Cambridge.
“Rugby football” became “rugger” for short, then “rugby”. “Association football” became “soccer.”
After these two sports spread across the Atlantic, Americans invented their own variant of the game that they simply called “football” in the early 1900s.
“Association football” became “soccer” in America, and what was called “gridiron” in Britain became simply “football” in America.
Most British people stopped saying ‘soccer’ because it’s what Americans called it
The interesting thing here is that Brits still used “soccer” regularly for a huge chunk of the 20th century. Between 1960 and 1980, “soccer” and “football” were “almost interchangeable” in Britain, Szymanski found.
“Since 1980 the usage of the word ‘soccer’ has declined in British publications, and where it is used, it usually refers to an American context. This decline seems to be a reaction against the increased usage in the US which seems to be associated with the high point of the NASL around 1980.”
Most British people stopped saying “soccer” because of its American connotations, however, UK broadcaster Sky Sports still used it to brand wildly-popular TV shows “Soccer Saturday” and “Soccer A.M.”
Why Do Some People Call It Soccer?
Known to most of the rest of the world as football, or “fútbol,” the beautiful game is almost exclusively referred to as soccer in the United States, but many Americans may be surprised to learn that our outlier moniker actually originated across the pond.
Games played by kicking, hitting, throwing or carrying a ball have been around for thousands of years, but in the mid-to-late-19th century many sports—such as baseball, soccer, and American football—codified their rulebooks into the forms we recognize today.
Modern soccer was born in 1863, when representatives from several English schools and clubs got together to standardize a single set of rules for their matches.
They dubbed their new organization the Football Association, and their version of the game became known as “Association Football.” The word association was used to distinguish their specific sport from other popular games of the day such as “rugby football.”
The word soccer comes from a slang abbreviation of the word association, which British players of the day adapted as “assoc,” “assoccer” and eventually soccer or soccer football.
(The habit of adding –er to nicknames in British vernacular is frequently attributed to Oxford students of that period, and can be found in other sporting slang such as “rugger” for rugby.)
The parallel names soccer and football (or the combined soccer football) were used more or less interchangeably to refer to association football until well into the 20th century, at which point football emerged as the dominant name in most parts of the world. However, in countries where another football variety was already popular—such as America and Australia—the name soccer stuck around.
Why do Americans call the sport soccer?
In 1848, students at Cambridge University wrote the first set of rules for the game we know today; a game in which a player used their foot to kick a ball. Hence “foot-ball.”
In 1863 The Football Association was founded in London to promote the sport.
Others played a version of the sport in which players carried the ball with their hands. This version was popular at The Rugby Schoolin Rugby, Warwickshire, England. A group of teams eventually created the Rugby Football Union.
So there was “association football” and “rugby football.” The game spread to the U.S. and in 1869 Princeton and Rutgers competed in a game that was a cross between the two. A few years later a college coach helped turn it into the distinctive American-style football we have today.
Back in England, clubs still competed in rugby football and association football. Rugby football was shortened to rugby or “rugger.” A 1905 letter to the editor in the New York Times explained that “it was a fad at Oxford and Cambridge to use ‘er’ (pronounced like the end of soccer) at the end of many words.”
But that trick didn’t work as well with association football, so the slang term socc-er was born as an abbreviation of sorts from “association.” And it’s what most Americans call “association football” to this day. So yes — the name “soccer” was actually invented in the U.K.
According to a research paper from a University of Michigan professor, Brits actually used both “soccer” and “football” to refer to the sport during a chunk of the 20th century. But as “soccer” grew in the U.S. Brits moved away from the term — maybe because they saw it as an Americanized name for their sport.
SOCCER CAN ALSO BE REFERRED TO AS FOOTBALL, BUT AMERICAN FOOTBALL IS NOT REFERRED TO AS SOCCER.
First off, let’s get a bit of understanding of how these two sports came to be.
The sport of soccer involves solely using your feet to control and play during the game. Any use of your hands is considered foul play. Which is where the original term – football – came from. You’re controlling the ball with your foot.
Better yet, the official term for soccer is Association football, established by the Football Association, which was formed in 1863.
Where did the word soccer come from? It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when this occurrence formed. Overtime, the slang soccer was created, mainly used by North Americans, to simply refer to the game. It is hypothesized that the word came out of the word ‘Association.’
American football is mainly played by controlling the ball with your hands. So, people often wonder where the name came from if you’re not playing football with your foot.
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