Monday, July 03, 2006

Soccer etymology

This post will be my last about football. I promise.

For years I have had to listen to limeys making fun of the word “soccer”. After seeing it used on British tv a few years ago (the show Soccer Saturday), I did a bit of research and found that it was a British-coined term, a shortening of “Association Football”. Whenever the limeys disparage the word “soccer”, I inform them that they are the ones who made it up.

As the ridiculing picked up again two weekends ago when Jono and Big G were with me in Prague, I decided to present the evidence right here.

“Soccer” is indeed short for “Association Football”.


The Football Association was formed in London in October 1863 when representatives of eleven clubs and schools met in an attempt to standardize the rules of the game. One of the rules prohibited the carrying of the ball, a rule that would lead to the Rugby-oriented clubs leaving the Association several months later. The name “Association Football” was coined to distinguish it from Rugby.

By 1889, the abbreviation socca’ was in use, and the spelling soccer had made its appearance by 1895.


1889 – socca; 1891 – socker; 1895 – soccer. originally university slang, from a shortened form of “Assoc.”…they could hardly have taken the first three letters of the word.

So piss off with your notions of superior language, limeys.


Tits Malone said...


Soccer or is still the beautiful game..

Don't let those limeys get you down...Rooney's toe didn't save them and neither did Beckham...until they win a World Cup - call the game whatever you wish.

Monkey's Max said...

TM, after all these years in Europe, I call the game football. And the limeys don't get me down when they take the piss - you know I can give back, and better.

The football, however, got me down. Rooney was a dick and all the limeys are blaming Cristiano Ronaldo for baiting him. I am sure that Ronaldo is also a dick, but Rooney should have known better. I am looking forward to the European Cup in 2008.

Anonymous said...

I have to call it soccer because if I call it football then the person I am talking to is talking about something very confusing involving padding and hard plastic. Not on the same wave length.

I love the soap opera acting of the tripping and nut crushing in soccer/footie. Not oscar calliber but it makes me laugh!

Anonymous said...

I call it football, because that's what it is. Foot + Ball. As in, no hands! I can't understand why the American sport is called 'Football', as it has more in common with 'Rugby'.

I once saw a TV interview where a British presenter asked a famous American guest why they call their big sports events 'World Cup' or 'World Series', when no other nations are involved. The guest replied 'Well, we aren't involved in your Soccer World Cup'. The presented replied 'You hosted it in 1994!'

Anonymous said...

Rugby is a town. It's actually Rugby Football. As was explained earlier, Rugby and Soccer share a common origin, The people that preferred Rugby Football left, and those that remained played soccer.

Jugurtha said...

The word Soccer come from a North African Berber word "sok" which means "kick" or hit with the foot!

As you know a lot of Berbers established in Britain as soldiers and Christains priests during the roman period. Even the Berber emperor Septime Severe is burried in York (north of England).

Here is why I think the word is of Berber origine.

Thank you

Petunia said...

Here is your answer to everything.

Football is a family of games, not a single game. Rugby, Gridiron (American, Canadian, Aussie), Association all belong to the one umbrella term. The individual game most popular in that area will be referred to as "football," The term "soccer" is very specific, and is used in the area where that game is unpopular , only played by children and total weirdos. More popular is what Americans refer to as "football," hence their use of the umbrella term.
For all the shrill whining about Americans' dialectical differences, those who refer to association football plainly as "football" are equally at fault as those who refer to gridiron football as "football."

Ridahoan said...

Just watched 'This Sporting Life' about a rugby player and Richard Harris's character says to some kids, lets play soccer (or socka, I suppose), and then starts an informal game of kicking and throwing a small round ball.

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Anonymous said...

When I was a kid the word 'soccer' was a nickname for football. It doesn't sound right when it is used an official name for the sport.
English people are fully aware of the English origin of the word but despite that it has become to be seen as an Americanism when used as the official name for the sport.
These days 'footy' has replaced 'soccer' as the favoured nickname in many parts of England.