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Yahoo! Sports

JOHANNESBURG No matter how much the United States continues to emerge as a competitive World Cup nation, there is little doubt that the international perception of American soccer will always be doused with suspicion.

Why? Because Americans dont even call the sport by its proper name, of course. They dont call it football. They call it soccer.

In the USA, football is that game that dominates winter Sundays and features Lycra, helmets and men so large they should come with their own zip code.

Elsewhere, football is football. The round-ball sport, the beautiful game, with its biggest prize to be handed out here on July 11.

Soccer? Pah, a silly American term created by a nation that has its own national obsession.

No country has been snootier toward the USAs use of the term soccer than England. Before the Group C opener between the two sides in Rustenburg, the Sun newspaper even ran a spoof front page urging Fabio Capellos side to win the soccerball world series.

But lets take a halftime break here.

Coupled with their teams humiliating exit from the World Cup it might be another rude awakening to the Brits that soccer isnt an American term, it is actually an English one. And it isnt some modern fad that shows disrespect to the worlds most popular sport, it dates back to the earliest days of the games professional history.

Indeed, until the last few decades, even Englishmen would routinely refer to their favorite pastime as soccer, just as often as they would say football.

Clive Toye, an Englishman who moved to the U.S. and became known as the father of modern American soccer, bringing Brazilian legend Pele to play for the New York Cosmos, takes up the story.

Soccer is a synonym for football, said Toye, who helped launch the North American Soccer League in the late 1960s. And it has been used as such for more years than I can count. When I was a kid in England and grabbed a ball to go out and play ? I would just as easily have said: Lets have a game of soccer as I would use the word football instead. And I didnt start it.

To trace the origin of soccer we must go all the way back to 1863, and a meeting of gentlemen at a London pub, who congregated with the purpose of standardizing the rules of football, which was in its infant years as an organized sport but was growing rapidly in popularity.

Those assembled became the founding members of the Football Association (which still oversees the game in England to this day). And they decided to call their code Association Football, to differentiate it from Rugby Football.

A quirk of British culture is the permanent need to familiarize names by shortening them. My friend Brian Johnston was Johnners, said Toye. They took the third, fourth and fifth letters of Association and called it SOCcer. So there you are.

So forget that English condescension and carry on calling it soccer, safe in the knowledge that youre more in tune with the roots of the sport than those mocking Brits.

You learn something new everyday.

also from Wikipedia "It is also a common name for the sport in Ireland, Canada, USA, South Africa, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe."

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It should be called football in America to that would be a more correct term since it is played with the foot. American football is not a correct term since most of the game it is played with the hand.

But then again does anything make sense in America? I could list tons of things that don't make sense in USA that the rest of the world has right but I wont go there :-)

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Why is everyone blaming the US for the "soccer / footbal" thing? The British people came up with the soccer term! pinch.gif

Because they're the ones that actually use it.

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I thought most people were aware that the term Soccer originated in England, derived from Association Football.

It's an old term though, and it was only adopted by America due to the fact that their 'American Football' is played more with hands than feet - and we don't anyone to get confused now do we?

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It's football for me.

The American version of (soft) rugby came well after football was played. American "football" shouldn't be using the term as it's mostly played with the hands.

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The term "Soccer" is used in many countries around the world, it's mainly the commonwealth that uses it now though.

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There was a time where I would refer to it as soccer or football. But as I've grown and moved around the World I've come in to contact with more Americans, and I'll be honest, I love winding them up with this discussion. At the end of the day I'm not fussed though. Everyone understands that soccer is football, and football is soccer. The only times I've had problems is when an American has asked me if I watch football, and they're talking about American football, but that rarely happens.

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It's always been soccer to me. Football is too confusing a name.

:rofl: a game where a ball is kicked around with a foot is confusing?

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Its soccer in the US because not a lot of us care about the sport just as much of the rest of the world doesn't care about American football. Even if we went on to win the world cup, the celebration would go on for a few minutes and then everyone would remember that real football starts in less than a month.

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In Australia there's three different sports generically referred to as "football" and soccer isn't one of them. Nor American football. Depending on where you are and who you're talking to you generally know which is being referred to.

Its soccer in the US because not a lot of us care about the sport just as much of the rest of the world doesn't care about American football.

As an aside, it's interesting to note that the vast majority of the rest of the world doesn't care much for any of the sports that are big in the US. American Football, Baseball, Hockey (the grass version being bigger in many countries) or Basketball (more widespread but rarely a "tier 1" sport). Sports like cricket and Rugby Union are massive on a global scale but as good as non-existent in the US.

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Its soccer in the US because not a lot of us care about the sport just as much of the rest of the world doesn't care about American football. Even if we went on to win the world cup, the celebration would go on for a few minutes and then everyone would remember that real football starts in less than a month.

This, We would be proud of our team if it won and we are proud that they got as far as they did, but in 2 or 3 months the U.S will forget it even exists in till the next world cup comes around.

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So if Rugby is properly Rugby Football, why no wise cracks at that sport for its constant use of hands? Oh right, it's not American.

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It's soccer to me.

Australian Rules Football is the real football.

that game is certifiably nuts. I, for the life of me, have tried to watch games and understand what's going on but all i make it is people murdering for no real reason. and i call it both. i never understood why american football is called football, but i love both games just the same.

if anything soccer should be called diveball, cause that's all you ever see anymore.

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Its soccer in the US because not a lot of us care about the sport just as much of the rest of the world doesn't care about American football. Even if we went on to win the world cup, the celebration would go on for a few minutes and then everyone would remember that real football starts in less than a month.

Exactly.

Just out of curiosity if anybody knows, did American football or soccer come first in the US? If it was football, then there's your answer. ;)

And just as a side note, the reason why the US doesn't respect soccer more is that it's a sport that badly needs a tech revamp, and also because it's too much about how you can cheat and fake injuries. I'm a huge soccer fan, but it embarrasses me to see some of the best athletes in the world act like sissies.

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As an aside, it's interesting to note that the vast majority of the rest of the world doesn't care much for any of the sports that are big in the US. American Football, Baseball, Hockey (the grass version being bigger in many countries) or Basketball (more widespread but rarely a "tier 1" sport). Sports like cricket and Rugby Union are massive on a global scale but as good as non-existent in the US.

Baseball is pretty big in most of Latin America (and Canada) and becoming darn near an obsession in Pacific Rim countries. The Japanese in particular are almost religious about it similar to the way the US was in the 50's. 8 year old kids over there can recite batting averages for the entire Yomiuri Giants roster.

I believe ice hockey versus "grass" hockey to be more climate driven than cultural. Ice hockey being preferred in climates that will support ice.

Other than that and maybe more so because of that your point is correct and very interesting. It probably comes from the old "spheres of influence" of the the 19th and early 20th century. The areas under influence of the US got Baseball and the areas under British got football (soccer)/cricket. Canada being a unque hybrid with both influences as well as a native sport of ice hockey.

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Ya know, I'm getting kinda tired of europeans going around bashing America all day long over what we call things and how we spell things.

And it's not going to stop :(

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handegg.jpg

What American's call "Football" is just a sissified version of another European game called "Rugby", in which the foot is hardly used. Another issue is that the "ball" is not an actual ball at all, which makes the name "football" pretty mundane.

1.The foot is hardly used.

2.the "ball" is not an actual ball at all.

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