The name soccer is the American English term for what is in Europe known as traditional football. In the USA, there is another form, American football, that is similar to rugby. But, no matter how you name it, it’s a fact that both the games are extremely famous in all the countries on the planet. The question about what is soccer, what is football, and how different they are is present since 1863 after the first Football Association was founded and formed in London. So, as you can see, after 158 years, people are still arguing over the name of the game, blaming the people in the USA they are using the word football wrongly. The truth is, all of them are right, and there is a reason for the different names.
But, no matter the history, it’s generally accepted that association football is known as soccer, and it’s played without touching the round-shaped ball with hands, while American football is played by throwing the egg-shaped ball, using the hands to score. Even though the Americans are those who play football with hands, the British people were first to use the term soccer to describe the game with 11 active players and one goalkeeper in every team, that are only allowed to use their feet to play.
What are the origins of the word “soccer”?
As we said, in 1863 the first Football Association was founded in England, and according to many sources, soccer is a word that comes from “association”, so the people can make a difference from other football games. But, as we can see today, soccer is very popular around the world, especially the European teams and representations, and you can visit this site to see how popular are they even in Thailand, and many other countries worldwide.
Today, in Europe and the rest of the world people are using the term football, except America, which is still saying soccer, so they can distinguish the games. That’s why we are hearing it in the American context more than British or European ones. The British “football” or American “soccer” is today the most popular sport game worldwide. The biggest cups and championships are held regularly, and the players are the most paid ones in the world.
According to what’s known in history, this game style was played almost 4,000 years ago, by kicking a ball with the feet, trying to score a goal. There are pieces of evidence that soccer-like games were played in Greece, Rome, China, Scotland, and some parts of America. They have their versions and interpretations of the game until today, and if you ask them, they will claim their people invented this sport. But, we suppose that very long ago, people didn’t have many entertainment options, and the easiest way was to play something with round-shaped objects, that will easily roll on the ground.
In ancient China, people were playing with leather ball, trying to get it into a goal, without using their hands, and this game was known as Cuju, and it’s pretty similar to what we know today as soccer/football. A similar game in Greece is named Episkyros, and the players needed to get the ball on the opposite side of the field. The Roman version is known as Harpastum, and it was played with a much smaller ball, compared to today’s game. Aztecs and Mayans had similar games too, and their balls were found well preserved in the ruins. They are mainly described as a kickball game too.
So, we can say that we can’t estimate when was soccer invented because it seems it’s been here forever, but the form we recognize today was officially defined in the year 1863 when the rules were determined.
Before the official definition…
In 1848, in England, Cambridge defined some rules, that banned using hands, defining what goal is, letting the keepers use one hand to bring back the ball in the field, and the obligation of wearing the same color wear, so the audience can make a difference between the player. Later, these rules were improved and adapted, by the Sheffield pack of rules in 1858, which included the amount of physical contact that is allowed between the players. Finally, in 1863 these known rules were combined and improved, and that’s the beginning of modern football/soccer. There were disagreements and difficult times, that resulted in forming the game we know as rugby.
The most popular global sport
Can you imagine that everything started with a few school clubs, a pack of rules, and making a distinction from the American games? Today, we can say that soccer is the most popular game in the world, even though it’s changed, and many organizations are formed, so they can govern the teams and rules, organize cups and championships, and help the players be the most paid sports figures globally. During the world cups, the need to sanction some players showed up, leading to yellow and red card invention. Penalty kicks were presented in 1981 for the first time. Since then, there are very popular players we recognize today, like Pele, Lev Yashin, Van Basten, Zidane, Maradona, Messi, Ronaldo, and so on. As you can see, there is nothing wrong if you use both football or soccer to refer to the game that is known all around the world, that people love to watch or bet on it.
Since the 19th century, national teams are part of FIFA, the main football/soccer body in the world. These teams are taking a part in the World Cup, after the qualifications. The European association is known as UEFA, Asian is known as AFC, the African one is CAF, and of course, there is an American association named CONCACAF for North, Central America and Caribbean teams, OFC for Oceania, and CONMEBOL for South America.
No matter how you name it, it’s a fact that it’s very entertaining, and the most important matches are watched with your family and friends, waiting for your favorite team to score and rank better on the table, or even to win the trophy at the end of the league or championship.