One of the quickest ways to know if a person is from North America is to listen for the word “soccer” when they are talking about the popular sport. The same sport that is called football, or even association football, ended up with a different name in only a relatively small area of the world. Are North Americans just a little different, or is there some other reason why the sport is called soccer?
Why soccer is called soccer in America? The term soccer comes from an abbreviated version of the word “association” in association football. It was a way to differentiate association football from rugby football, gridiron football, and other variations. The word association shortened to “soc” when first used, and “soc” became “soccer” in casual terms.
What Countries Call Association Football Soccer?
There are only two countries where the term soccer is used predominately as a way to describe association football. The United States gets a lot of focus on them for adopting this term, but Canada is right there as well with the term.
This is not to say that every single person uses soccer instead of football in these countries, but it is where they make the most sense. It also just happens to be the two countries where gridiron football is the most popular.
Did Britain Ever Use The Term They Created?
It might seem blasphemous now, but certain parts of Britain actually used soccer pretty consistently as recently as within the last 50 years. After all, they were the ones to invent the term, and it was a different type of nickname to go with from time to time.
The term all but disappeared by the 1980s, and is overused mockingly in a sense these days in Britain. It seems as though everyone reporting on the sport made a conscious effort to include it as part of the language no longer. Perhaps some of it has to do with the United States and Canada adopting the name, but it also has to do with being very consistent with terminology. Calling the most popular sport two different names does not seem very productive.
Why Do Fans From Other Parts Of The World Dislike The Word “Soccer”?
It seems like so many people are triggered by that one simple word when they hear it. Maybe the reason why is that the word soccer is now associated with people who do not follow the game that much. A fan picks up the casual label if they call it soccer instead of football. Soccer is considered the term for fans new to the game, and therefore looked down upon by others. It is a cruel way to go about things, but some fans take their football seriously.
At the end of the day, most people will probably admit that it is a little silly, but there are other smaller reasons as well. Most notably, fans do not like having to hear about American football when association football had the name first. There is a bit of a rivalry between the two sports, but only in the United States and Canada is it even a close battle. In every other part of the world, soccer is much more popular, but American football rules there.
People are behind this false notion that soccer is an Americanism, but that has already been shown to be incorrect when looking at the history of the word. Those who are true fans of the game should just be happy that people are following.
Major League Soccer, With Football Clubs
One of the more confusing things about Major League Soccer is that not every team uses that word in the name. In fact, a lot of clubs called themselves football clubs, confusing some people who are not sure what term is best to use.
When Major League Soccer kicked off, they knew that using the word soccer would be a little controversial. They felt that instead of running away from the term use the United States, it would be better to embrace it fully. Some clubs decided to embrace tradition, going with football clubs instead. Even a club like Real Salt Lake borrowed a format from the Spanish Leagues to give their club a name.
Will The United States Ever Drop Soccer As a Term?
There are plenty of people in North America who call soccer football, and they want as little to do with the term as those in other parts of the world. Some of this is people bringing their home countries culture over to the Americas, while others just want to sound like the rest of the world.
Soccer is so ingrained in the sports culture in North America that it seems like it will never go away completely. Perhaps the most prominent driving force is the fact that American football is so dominant. It seems like it would be impossible for American football to fade away to the point that it is no longer popular. As long as it is popular, it is the premier football.
Instead of calling soccer association football, and football American football, it just makes sense to shorten things a bit. It might sound a little weird to the rest of the world, but people in North America have been hearing it long enough that they are not necessarily going to change anytime soon.
Final Thoughts: Is It Wrong To Call To Call It Soccer?
Despite so many people looking down at people who use the word soccer, it is perfectly fine to use in just about any setting. It is a term that everyone completely understands as soon as they hear it. There are indeed other forms of football around the globe, and although soccer is the most popular version, some people prefer jumping right into it and showing off the differences.
When everything is looked at after breaking it down, it becomes a little clearer why the term soccer exists in the first place. There are quite a few people who believe that soccer has no actual history behind the term, but it makes a lot more sense knowing where the term originated from.