Shut Up, It's Called Soccer
For those of you who don’t know me personally, I get pretty excited when the World Cup rolls around. I also get especially psyched for the Women’s World Cup (still the real world cup) because it’s always nice to have your country have a shot at winning. Also, it’s always nice to watch players who don’t fake as many injuries as the men do. There will probably be plenty of real injuries this time around though, as the women will be playing these matches on turf, a much nastier medium than natural grass.
That being said, soccer season always brings up an old argument I have with my international, and especially British, friends who sneer derisively over my use of the word soccer instead of “football.” Luckily, I’m a good friend and I educate them on the history of the naming convention of this sport we so love, and thought I would share with all of you.
As the game of kicking random objects around outside evolved into organized sport, there came two differnet sets of rules, split by 1863. One where you could also use your hands, called “rugby football,” and one where you couldn’t, called “association football.” By 1871, the new British Football Association wrote rules for these two games which were then referred to as “rugger” and……. “soccer.” As these games spread across the pond to the US, Harvard and Yale picked up rugby as the players enjoyed using their hands more; the rules evolved and eventually modern American football was born, based in rugby football tradition.
The wikipedia article on the subject contains old links, but suggests that the reason football is called football refers to the fact that it is played on-foot, not ‘exclusively with your feet.’
So ha. 1) soccer is not only not incorrect, it is the original word, 2) (American) football is a legitimate sport and likely legitimately named.
I look forward to the US Women’s Soccer team victory in the 2015 FIFA World Cup.
Image via ussoccer.com