Football Soccer 91st

The 91st: Is it called Football or Soccer?

As fans of the beautiful game in the United States there is a topic we’ve caught some flak for over the years. Why do we call soccer, soccer? Our friends across the pond and from other countries around the world use the term football and love to give us a hard time for being rebellious. Are we wrong for calling the game soccer? Surely, the American soccer community isn’t so blatantly and rebelliously wrong.

Well, what if I told you that our friends in England were the creators of the term “soccer”? Yes, that is right, the term originated in England according to University of Michigan professor Stefan Szymanski. “Soccer” wasn’t just a stubborn fabrication by the American sporting community.

You’re probably still wondering, though, where do you get the word soccer from a game played with a ball and your feet? The game was known as Association Football in England. To avoid confusion with Rugby Football (known to us as simply Rugby) and to shorten the long name of Association Football, a nickname came into form and the English coined the term “soccer”. “Soc” derived from “As(soc)iation” with “cer” added to the end.

Understandably, here in the United States, the term “soccer” stuck because we already have our own sport known as football. Historically speaking, in England, soccer was a term used for some time. The usage of “soccer” slowly decreased, however, and in the late 1900’s the term became less accepted in England as it became more prominent in America when the began to grow in popularity.

Now you know. Soccer is indeed an acceptable title for the beautiful game. Next time you’re a part of that great debate on whether the game is called soccer or football you can defend your usage of the term.

Source: “It’s Football Not Soccer” by Stefan Szymanski


September 11, 2020: Major League Soccer has announced the 2020 regular season schedule through the end of September. From September 18-27, each MLS club will compete in three regular season matches. Additional 2020 MLS regular season matches will be announced pending further developments regarding travel protocols. Attendance at matches will be determined in accordance with applicable state and local guidelines.