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Posted by ESC on June 06, 2003

In Reply to: Soccer posted by James Briggs on June 06, 2003

: : : Can anybody help me out with the origins of the term soccer. I understand that it comes from football association(abreviated)however I need to know why this term is mostly used in the united states and everywhere else almost uses football. If anyone can help me I would muchly apreciate.

: : That's one to stir the hornet's nest. Call football soccer anywhere outside the USA and you risk insult and possibly personal injury.

: : 'Soccer' - and I have to shudder when I call it that - originated in England and that is the original and now archaic name for the game. The upper classes had their own game of Rugby Football and so when the plebs came along with their own game they used another name. I'm not sure about it coming from association football, but that might be the case.

: : Our US friends invented what everyone else calls American Football, but they call football. Why the aficionados of two games where you pick up the ball and run with it like to call them football remains a mystery.

: : Happily, football (I revert to type here) has become the dominant game worldwide, the common people prevail over the forces of darkness and the term soccer (spit) fades into oblivion.

: The best suggestion for the origin of the name 'Soccer' comes from the words 'Association Football'. This goes back to the mid 19th century or so when the rules of many ball games were being formulated - rugby football and tennis are some. The story goes that a group of Public (ie private!) Schools in England got together to draw up standard set of rules for the age old game of two teams kicking a round ball. This group formed an 'Association' of schools - hence the name 'Association Football'.
: The word 'soccer' can be seen as a possible derivation from this name. No one knows for sure, but it's the best suggestion to ever come forward.

SOCCER - "The brutal game once known in England as 'kicking the bladder' actually dates back at least to the Roman conquest in A.D. 43.The name 'fut balle' was given the game in the 12th century, when it was first played on a large 'field' with boundary lines, with approximately 50 men on each side. It was already causing so many injuries that a number of English monarchs, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, tried to ban it. The modern spelling 'football' appeared in England by 1650. Football didn't become respectable until James I of England lifted the ban imposed by Elizabeth I, and the rules against mayhem slowly began to evolve.The English game was, of course, developing into what we Americans now call 'soccer' (1889, a clipping and alliteration of 'association football') but which the rest of the world still calls, by some variant or translation of English, 'football'." From "Speaking Freely: A Guided Tour of American English from Plymouth Rock to Silicon Valley" by Stuart Berg Flexner and Anne H. Soukhanov (Oxford University Press, New York, 1997).

On a personal note, I don't like team sports. People get really silly and, sometimes, homicidal over a game. A family member is an American football coach. He lost a game and a "fan" shot the windows out of a bedroom in his house. Three children were asleep in that room and I, the babysitter, had just walked past one of the windows. By some miracle, we weren't hurt. But it reenforced my negative view of organized team sports.