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Why Do They Call That Other Sport Soccer?

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Why do they call the NFL sport football? And why do they call the FIFA sport soccer? And why do they call soccer football in some countries?

Soccer: World Cup-Colombia vs England
We like to soccer!
Sipa USA-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it seems to be that time again. Time for me to rehash an old article. Time for the World Cup Bowl. Or something. The FIFA tournament has apparently been going and it’s apparently kind of a big deal in soccer. You know, soccer? It’s that sport where you can’t dribble the ball or pass it with your hands, exceptin’ that you’re the goalie. You can’t pitch the ball either, but you do play on a pitch, aka the field. You are only allowed to kick the ball, but don’t mistake it for kickball either. It’s like hockey without ice. It’s like field hockey without a stick. It’s called soccer.

But in many countries, it’s called football. Spanish speaking nations may call it futbol. And “futbol” is derived from the English word “football”.

So how did the original football get its name anyway? Well, according to Wikipedia, no one is sure:

There are conflicting explanations of the origin of the word “football”. It is widely assumed that the word “football” (or “foot ball”) references the action of the foot kicking a ball. There is an alternative explanation, which is that football originally referred to a variety of games in Medieval Europe, which were played on foot. There is no conclusive evidence for either explanation.

But how did they come up with the word “soccer”? Basically, that sport is technically known as association football, the rules of which has been established and is overseen by the Football Association. Anyways, somebody somewhere at some point in time, basically took the letters “soc” from association and turned it into soccer as sort of a slang term, and I guess it stuck. (Personally, I’m glad they came up with “soccer” instead what else it could have been: “asser”.)

Meanwhile, American football (ie the NFL sport), along with soccer and rugby, originally evolved from the same sport. Rugby gets its name from a school in England, which is named after a town. And it seems like proponents of our sport simply never cared to call it anything else other than plain old football, prompting the other sports to differentiate themselves. In other countries, they specify it as American football, or gridiron football, which can then include the CFL.

Well, that’s the basic gist of it. I hope you have been paying attention as this will be on your final. By the way, did you know that Cristiano and Ronaldo are apparently the same person? And what kind of name is David Villa anyway? At least pronounce it right.

Also, did you know there are many teams outside of Major League Soccer? Many many. And did I ever tell you about the time I had a job interview with MLS? They asked why I was interested in working for them. I said, “Just for kicks.” I didn’t get the job.

And oh yeah, I think in Brazil it’s called futebol:

Anyways, have you been watching? What do you think so far?