Sport

Who invented the word 'soccer?'

The language debate lingers - is it football or soccer?

England and the USA have drawn 0-0 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as the Stars and Stripes retain their unbeaten record against the Stars and Stripes at major tournaments.

Although the result wouldn't have been what both teams wanted much of the debate before and after the game was and will continue to be about what the appropriate word for the sport that the both compete in is.

In the USA, it is called soccer, while England and many other places in the world refer to it as football.

But interestingly enough, despite the USA adopting the term, it didn't stem from them - it came straight from England.

According to a report from TIME, Stefan Szymanski, a University of Michigan School of Kinesiology professor, authored a 2014 paper that delved into the matter.

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To Szymanski, "soccer" was a term coined in late 19th century England as a means to distinguish variations of the game that didn't have a fully agreed on a set of rules.

Football and Rugby in early 1800s England existed as different adaptions of the same game.

But by the early 1860s, the Football Association was formed to arrange football rules so that affluent boys from schools across the country face off against each other.

By 1871, the Rugby Football Union also joined in, which made the two sports become officially recognised as Rugby Football and Association Football.

Szymanski wrote that English aristocratic boys at Cambridge and Oxford happened to have a fad of adding "er" to words and created shorthand terms "rugger" and "soccer" to differentiate between the types of football.

The professor also noted that it came to the forefront more after World War II, which he believes had something to do with American soldiers in the country and their fascination with the country after the war.

Flash forward to the 1980s, England started backing away from the word "soccer," causing "backlash" despite being used as a synonym of sorts for"football."

Still, Szymanski thinks that both "soccer" and "football" are needed in the discourse, and people should see "that our favorite game can just as easily be called soccer as football."

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