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Soccer vs Football
Dissent: Volume 6 of the Helter Skelter Anthology of New Writing

Soccer vs Football

Slate Magazine reports —

“The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Friday, with the United States slated to play England this weekend. For the 10th time since 1950, citizens of the two countries will square off over a game they call by different names. Given that so much of the world favours ‘football’, why do Americans call the game ‘soccer’?

“It’s an abbreviation of association football. Both soccer and American football come from the same set of precursor sports, which became popular in upper-class English schools in the early 19th century and spread across the Atlantic. All these games involved advancing a ball through an opponent’s territory and scoring at the far end, but the rules varied from place to place. Ultimately, the version adopted as standard in the United Kingdom came to be known as ‘association football’, while another set of rules won out in the United States. Thus the Americans took to calling their gridiron variety ‘football’, and referred to the British sport by the slang term ‘soccer’, derived from the soc in association.”

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