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Discussion in 'Soccer History' started by Charlie512, Sep 3, 2011.
The word Soccer...CAME FROM ENGLAND!
Courtesy of tv tropes.
Americans can call (association) football soccer if they like for all I care. After all, they are the only ones that need to differenciate it from their American football, a sport the rest of the world dont care much for and thus dont have the need for such differenciation. It is understandable.
However, they need to know that just like our football is originally called Association Football, their football derives from it and is originally called Gridiron Football. Plus, its a game where it is not too often that you see the ball being hit with a foot
It is far from obvious to abbreviate "association football" to "soccer". Whoever coined the term "soccer" was clearly not a friend of association football. Choosing the name of a sport is like choosing a company or brand name. The sound of the name is important. You would never choose a name that resembles the word "sucker", just as you would not choose a name that sounds like "loser", "shit" or similar.
I imagine that the majority of upperclass people in England did not like the new sport, which was (and is) the sport of the underclass in England, and prefered rugby. It is these public school boys that wrote the newspapers and sat on the boards of the various sports organizations. They wanted rugby to win in the competition for popularity.
And it is the same in the US. As long as the elite had a favorable or neutral view of association football, they called it football. But then, politics (the concept of American exceptionalism) interfered and they wanted to push native, "purely American" sports. So the term "soccer" replaced "football".
I think Rugby (or Rugby Football) was invented when some school kid picked up a football and ran it over the goal-line or something to that effect, in the town of Rugby. But your point would probably be very valid if you said they preferred Cricket , or Golf or if they were really posh Polo.
The sport is definately known as Football in Britain and especially by the general popluation, but Soccer is an interchangeable term or arguably a nickname. There is the World Soccer magazine based in England and the Sensible Soccer computer games were created in England but if people are asked what their favourite sport is they are vastly more likely to say Football than Soccer I'm sure. If they said Soccer, they might get a response of "Are you originally American?" maybe although the accent would be a clue. Obviously in Germany it is Fussball (I'm lacking the correct letters on my keyboard) so I guess there isn't a German word for Soccer?
Far from it. The sport was hugely popular throughout the public schools of the south and many early teams were made up of ex-schoolboys, some playing both codes. It was the advent of professionalism that put off the upper classes, not the sport itself.
A few years ago I read somewhere that back in the 1880s or something the schools encouraged lower class people to play football not rugby, as they feared that a more violent sport like rugby would release too much negative energy among "brute" lower class people hence football seemed preferrable to them as a sport for the underclass.
True or not?
I don't know of that myself (maybe lanman or others might have the answer) but there's a saying that Football is a sport for gentlemen played by thugs and Rugby is a sport for thugs played by gentlemen. Not true in every case of course although increasingly it might be true in terms of certain shows of dissent etc in football (ear biting or eye gouging is still more likely to occur in Rugby though to be fair). Interestingly, the foul seemingly most frowned upon in Rugby is a simple trip which in football might on occasions not even produce a yellow card - different games though and it can hardly be claimed as a late tackle if the ball's in somebody's hands or yards in front of him .
The argument was that the lower class was not equipped psychologically to conduct a game like rugby in a gentlemanly manner, only the upper class was equipped for that. Hence lower class people would have had to be kept away from practising rugby at all costs, as - at worst - the ruling classes feared that rugby could induce some kind of uprising against the upper class.
In the same book it was said that those of the upper class that also played football were disgusted by the supposition of a referee governing a game, as that would imply that the members of the upper classes would cheat and deceit in a sporting contest which was absolutely unthinkable. Many of them turnt their back on the sport in disgust at that assumption.
Can't say that I've heard it myself, but it certainly sounds like something plausible in the era.
Not sure I can totally agree with that, although it may have had some impact. There have always been referees or officials in sport at the time and Rugby was certainly no different in that regard.
There is a great quote from CB Fry along similar lines.
I don't think he would be too impressed with the modern game.
What you've done is called folk etymology. Otherwise known as people making stuff up about how words happened without actually checking the historical documents.
Read this and find out the historical context: Oxford 'er
In any case. Nearly all the larger English colonies use the word soccer although not always exclusively. This includes South Africa, Canada, US, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland. The obvious reason behind this is because of each of these countries use the word football to include some other sport or sports. Nothing illogical about this it just reflects the historical use of the word football to mean a collection of sports.
In my opinion, the people that get upset about the use of soccer are a making a mountain out of a molehill.
Why is (American) Football called Football anyways?
Yes I know the answer, but it doesn't make much sense to me to call it Football.
Football was used to refer to any number of games played in medieval Britain that was played on foot and had two goals. Each village, school or neighborhood had it's own set of rules that varied quite a bit. The British colonies continued with this tradition, particularly in universities and educational institutions. Around the mid 1800's various of the sports became codified and coalesced into the sports we know. Currently, we have Association Football (first codified in 1863), Rugby League/Rugby Union (1863, split in 1895), Gaelic Football (1887), American Football (1873), Canadian Football (1864), Australian Football (1859). As you can see all these rules were developed concurrently and none can really lay claim to the exclusive use of the word 'football'. As such, in many of these countries, the word football will refer to either various of these codes collectively or to the code which is most popular in that region.
Of course, once FIFA was out of English hands in 1970's they started a campaign to lay exclusive claim on this word and presented a history of football that ignored the other football codes. I particularly remember the 'Naranjito' cartoons of 1982. Since I was young and South American I swallowed the line and for years I believed them. A little bit of research brought up the truth.
Why is this called Calcio?
Why don't you let a people have their history? Americans have always played their football and they hurt nobody.
Still it is wondrous that a sport that since the beginning in the 19th century (American Football) has been played with the hands for roughly 99% of the time and 1% with the feet is not called "handball" but "football". It might be understandable that some people wonder about what went on in the minds of those that came up with this sport to call it "football" when the feet played a most marginal role in it.
You have to think with the mind of people from the 1500's. It was just a category term to refer to games played while running (on foot) after a ball. Maybe to differentiate from the horse based games. I believe if someone from the 1500's saw a game of handball they would think of it as a type of football!
In any case, it's wrong to attach so much logic to a pair of words. Since I am South American, every time I hear of handball I think of a game played slapping a ball against a wall using your hand.
The word "football" also came from England.
So? I at least made a plausible guess about the reason why "soccer" was chosen over alternatives like "footer", you just linked to a site where this subject is not even discussed.
I never doubted the information contained in your link: someone has invented that word, and then it was used by someone else and it is derived from "association football" and the word is formed by adding the ending "er" to "socc" etc. That has nothing to do with what my post was about: why has a word been chosen that sounds like "sucker"?
I would have been more impressed if you had found out that the word "sucker" or its negative connotations were not known at the time "soccer" was chosen. I could imagine something like that.
But that still would not fully explain why the US in the end went for "soccer" despite its negative connotations and despite the availability of an alternative ("football" or "association football") that was already in use. Even in England the word "soccer" was not used anymore when the US chose this word.
In all my time here I've never seen anybody connect soccer and sucker and believe me that there were enough anti-soccer people in the 80's and 90's. Now things are much improved since the nation has embraced the men's and women's national team. I think it's a marvelous word. Two syllables and rolls off the tongue really easy but above all it really fits the game here in America because football will for the foreseeable future refer to the American type in these shores and it would be confusing and smacks of cultural imperialism to attempt to take over the word. And really that's the only problem here, certain Europeans and Euro-centric Americans and yes, many South Americans, believe that the US should abandon their own nomenclature and even their brand of football. I believe that the US has a right to maintain their own cultural dignity even when playing the world's game. As has been amply demonstrated here, American football has every right to call itself football and American's are not wrong or disrespectful in using the word soccer.
That's interesting. What do the other Americans here say? Don't you think that "soccer" and "sucker" sound similar, and that anti-soccer people use the word "soccer" with relish because of that?
How about a pick up game of American football with soccer rules? (or would it be soccer with American football rules?
Snap like an indirect free kick, with wall 10 yds away (or <10 as it is in practice), then "quarterback" makes long pass over the wall to "receiver" who if able to control the ball and juggle it into the end zone, scores a touchdown. Same rule for cornerbacks/interceptions. Forward passing while keeping the ball off the ground is allowed. Field goals same as NFL, "above the crossbar" Extra point is scored with free kick from 18 yards around the wall with no goalie. Plenty of timeouts so players can rest.
I have nothing better to do this morning
Disparaging soccer with sucker usually ends at 7th or 8th grade.
Of course, well-behaved, sophisticated adults (there are not many of them in internet forums, though), don't say such things. But even for them, the similarity between "sucker" and "soccer" has an effect on their subconscious mind. Or why do you think that companies pay millions for brand names and would never choose a name that sounds like a dirty word?
There are many precedents where the US media push denigrating vocabular to limit the popularity of something they regard as "unamerican", for instance "spaghetti western" (which is, by the way, a shame considering that movies like "The good, the bad and the ugly" are head and shoulders above anything the US has produced in the Western genre)
Still stretching this too much Thomas. Sucker may have been denigrating decades ago but now it's sort of like saying you really like something and will go to ridiculous lengths to get it. If you say 'I'm a soccer sucker' people won't regard it as negative. Or people might say 'I'm a sucker for blondes' or something else.
If anything the term 'spaghetti westerns' just shows that meanings change through the years. It was a humorous and mildly condescending term but since then most Americans apply it positively to the Sergio Leone films. To be frank, Leone's films were great but most other western all'italiana films were utter muck and there were many, many, many. While Leone's films were great I can't say that they were 'head and shoulders' the greatest Westerns ever filmed not even for that era. The Wild Bunch, True Grit and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid all came out in 1969 which has to be the greatest year ever for Westerns. Side note: my dad was hired by the Butch Cassidy writers to investigate their time in Bolivia.
I think you are perhaps the only one who thinks the words sound similar. The O and U are pretty distinct to English ears.
As a result, you've probably answered your own question. Why did they not think the word sounded similar to sucker? Because it never occurred to them that it did.
As has been highlighted already, the public school habit of nicknaming things by taking the first syllable and adding "er" was endemic. Footer could have been used in theory (and I do even remember kids calling the game that sometimes in the 70s) but would be pretty useless to distinguish it from rugby football. Rugby football became "rugger", so association football got awkwardly tagged in a similar way.
It's true that getting soccer from association isn't entirely obvious, but it is known that the phrase entered the language shortly after the FA drafted the first set of rules. There's no evidence to suggest the term was used before the name "association football" was invented in 1863.
As for "getting the brand name right", these were people playing a game, wanting a common set of rules. They weren't businessmen looking to set up a product to sell around the world.
The word soccer was also widely used in England up until the 1970s, without any of the negative press it gets today. My personal take on it as the garish showbiz nightmare of the NASL got the word associated with all the "entertainment" improvements the NASL though would make the game better. It became cheesy, and became a very "uncool" word as a result. The lack of use spawned a generation of kids who grew up here with the assumption that Americans invented the word.
As for other countries using the word, it's more mixed than you'd think. In Aussie Rules football they used the term "soccered" to describe and goal kicked in from a loose ball on the turf, yet sports sites such as sportal.com.au use the term football in their list of sports, not soccer.