The Origin of the word “Soccer”. Americans are not to blame.

For the all the time since the origin of the word “Soccer” the confusion still remains as to why Americans call “Football”, “Soccer”, but they are not to blame. Actually, it was the Britons who invented the word  “Soccer” and also it was one of the first names of the sport what we commonly know of as “Football”.

As a matter of fact, the upper social strata of the British commonly used the term “Soccer” for the sport in its early days. Moreover, the sport being referred to as “Soccer” preceded the first instance of it being called “Football” by about 18 years. But when that happened “Football” rapidly got popular among the middle and the lower class, gradually dominating over the predecessor “Soccer” which then became “Association Football”.

In the 1860s there many were a variety of sports on the lines of current “Football” being played popularly across the globe and of course England. Most of these sports were very similar that eventually a group of teams on October 26th, 1863, finally decided to come together and create a set of standard rules. Such standard rules were meant to the sport what they called “Association Football”, with using “Association” to distinguish it from many other types of football sports such as “Rugby Football”.

In Britain, it was a common practice among the school boys to nickname everything. Moreover, they had this habit of adding an “er” as a suffix. Thus at that time Rugby was popularly known as “Rugger”. On the same lines “Association Football” became “Assoccer”, which quickly shortened to just “Soccer”.

As per a popular story the inventor of the nickname is said to be Charles Wredford Brown, who was an Oxford student. It is believed that shortly after the formation of “Association Football” in 1863, some friends of Charles invited him to play a game of “Rugger” to which he replied that he preferred “Soccer”.

In the early times of the game, the newly formed standardized Rugby and Soccer were meant for the “gentlemen” of the upper echelons of Britain. But gradually these two started to become popular among the masses especially “Soccer”. This again lead to a change of name from “Soccer” to “Football” first recorded in 1881.

As the game was gradually spreading like fire among the lower classes across the world, the word “Football” stuck rather than “Soccer” as the gentlemen called it. However the problem was that a lot of countries like United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia and much more had their own sports which they called “Football”. So, in these countries “Soccer” was automatically the preferred choice.

In case you are thinking that why did “American Football” included the word “Football” in it even though the ball primarily interacts with hands. The reason being that Football had nothing to do whether it involved kicking or not. Football was termed as such because these sports were played on foot. This distinction was made because the lower classes played on foot while the aristocrats played most of their sports on horseback.


Saksham Dewan

Saksham Dewan is a blogger from India, a quizzer, a chess player, and a finance enthusiast. He is a student at Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies majoring in Finance. He loves to write on topics he startled by, be it be anything. To fulfill his quizzing dreams he also runs a Business Quizzing Blog, not only to pursue his interests but also help others preparing for such quizzes.