Is it ‘football’ or ‘soccer’?
For many years, there has been a geographical divide over which name is right. British fans almost ubiquitously agree that the correct term is ‘football’. Whereas the majority of US fans would argue ‘soccer’ is its real name.
So what is it? GOAL takes a look at the origin of the linguistic divide and more.
Technically, the words football and soccer are both correct. They describe the same sport which was codified by the Football Association in 1863 and the words can be considered synonyms.
The word ‘soccer’ is actually a British export, which was used for many years before the globalisation of football.
However, despite this fact, many English fans completely reject the term ‘soccer’ and insist that the game should simply be called ‘football’, while the reverse is true for many American fans.
Indeed, the linguistic divergence was the subject of a light-hearted commercial for the 2022 World Cup featuring David Beckham and Peyton Maning, with USMNT fans singing “It’s Called Soccer” at the tournament too.
Throughout the 1800s, the game that would eventually evolve to into modern-day ‘football’ had many different variations.
‘Soccer’ was used regularly by fans in the United Kingdom for large chunk of the 20th century. It was a phrase that was used interchangeably alongside ‘football’ and there was no great debate over which one was ‘correct’.
By the 1980s, the use of the word ‘soccer’ had declined massively in publications and wider culture.
The word ‘soccer’ is common in the U.S. and in the following countries:
Generally, the term is used where there is another more popular national sport which shares the name ‘football’.
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