I have always wonder why in places like North America and Australia, people refer to football as soccer? Where did the word soccer come from, what's the origin of the word?
I have decided to dive in and research the origins of the word soccer. I think instead of dismissing something or ignore it, the productive thing to do is to find out why a world sport like football is refereed to as soccer by some of the most developed nations in the world.
Inventors of the Word
The word soccer was invented by the British. I wasn't really surprised when i found that the word that so many Europeans hate and laugh at, was actually invented by the British. After all, they are the creators of the game of football.
When the game was created in Britain, it was referred to as soccer and not football. The beautiful game was known as soccer for about 18 years until it started to be referred to as football. The word football had a bigger impact with the low and middle class and eventually it became the dominating term, and soccer disappeared from regular use.
Soccer's Early Beginnings
In the 1860's there were several sports being played in England and around the world that used the term football. In 1863 a group of teams in England decided to get together and create a set of rules to be standard and used at all of their games. They called this set of rules, rules for "Association Football", this was their attempt to differentiate their football from rugby which at the time was known as "Rugby Football".
British youth loved giving things nicknames and also end words with "er". At that time rugby was known as "rugger". It was only obvious that they would start referring to "Association Football" as "Assoccer" and eventually "soccer". Some even called the sport "soccer football".
The Man Behind The Word
Charles Wredford Brown is the man credited with the invention of the word "soccer". In 1963, he was an Oxford student when "Association Football" was created.
The exact moment of when the word started to circulate is not really known, but folk stories mention that some of Charles friends invited him to a game of "rugger" to which he replied, i prefer "soccer". If this is accurate and true nobody knows, what we do know is that the word started to be used around that time.
The End of "Soccer"
In the beginning both rugby and "soccer" were sports designated for the elite youth of Britain. In time both sports spread to the general public with "soccer" finding a grip hold in the lower classes. This eventually resulted in the game in the name "soccer" and "association football" being dropped and the sport being referred to as football.
The first documented case of when the sport was called football, happened in 1881, 18 years after it was first called "soccer".
As the game grew and spread to other countries the name football stayed with it, the exception being countries like South Africa, Canada, USA and Australia where other games already existed with that same name, so they decided to use the original and traditional term soccer.
Next time you are somewhere and refer to a game as a soccer match, and someone gives you the evil eye, feel free to approach them and give them a lesson and history. While you are at it, give them the link to our site.
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