06 September 2012

Why Football is Called Soccer

There are few things that can sting my ears more than hearing somebody call my beloved game as ‘soccer.’ Most of the time, the offender is the sort who knows nothing about the game other than its name.

‘Football’ is how it has always been to me. Because it is the only game bearing that name that is actually played by and large with the feet, I have had no inclination to call the game anything else.

There seems to be a general misconception, however, that the name soccer is something that the Americans coined to differentiate it from their own version of the game. The misconception is perfectly understandable, for indeed the average American will say ‘soccer’ even while the rest of the world says ‘football.’

Then, a ball made of crude material such as pigskin was kicked from one town to another. Anyone could join in; and rules, if there were any, were obscure.
That said, however, the name soccer is something that was actually invented by the none other but the Brits themselves. The invention of the modern game is generally credited to them as well.

On the other hand, the so-called football as it was played during the Medieval Ages in England would not be recognisable in comparison to the modern game.

Then, a ball made of crude material such as pigskin was kicked from one town to another. Anyone could join in; and rules, if there were any, were obscure.

As the game became more organized with the passage of time, there were two contrasting schools of thought about how the game should be played. One school of thought favoured the carrying of the ball and the grabbing and hurling of opponents. These would subsequently be the basis for the modern game of rugby.

The other school of thought favoured the more refined aspects of the game as it evolved through the years. From these, the modern skills required of the game of football would be based.

When a group of English gentlemen came together in the nineteenth century to draft the rules and organise the modern game of football, they also gave the game formal name of Association Football to distinguish it from other variants.

Some of the game's practitioners started calling the game ‘assoccer’ – a shortened version of ‘association’ – probably for the purpose of brevity. It is easy to imagine the ‘a’ being subsequently dropped for the same reason.

As I understand it, the term football started to become more commonly used as more lower- and middleclass people started to take the game up. Of course, in terms of application, none of the other games that are called by the same name are played primarily with the feet. In fact, in contrast to the other versions, it actually penalises the use of the hands.

Aside from Association, Rugby and American rules football, there are also Gaelic rules, Irish rules and Aussie rules, among others.

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