What’s in a name …

Ever hear this while in line buying your bangers and mash, or glob of stinky French cheese? I spit on you ignorant Americans who call it soccer.

Let us step back in place and time to 1860’s Britain, where folks at elite schools such as Oxford formed the Association Football, and used the abbreviation Assoccer in writing and statistics. These were the upper crust Brits that shortened it to soccer during the early years. Oxford legend holds that a student by the name Charlie Brown (really) was the first to call it soccer when friends asked if he wanted to play rugger that day. No, he said, I’d rather play soccer.

The great game spread throughout the country and the world, where lower class folk began calling it football for the obvious reason. Gentlemen, however, continued with its original name for years to come. By the time it reached the US, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia, they were already playing a different form of football, so those countries used the proper British term of soccer.

About colealpaugh

Cole Alpaugh's newspaper career began in the early 80s, starting with small daily papers in Maryland and Massachusetts, where his stories won national awards. His most recent job was at a large daily in Central New Jersey, where his "true life" essays included award-winning pieces on a traveling rodeo and an in-depth story on an emergency room doctor that was nominated by Gannett News Service for a 1991 Pulitzer Prize. Cole also contracted with two Manhattan-based news agencies, covering conflicts in Haiti, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Thailand and Cambodia. His work has appeared in dozens of magazines, as well as most newspapers in America. Cole is currently a freelance photographer and novelist living in Northeast Pennsylvania, where he spends afternoons in a virtual running race around the equator, and evenings watching his daughter's magical stage performances. You can find him online at ColeAlpaugh.com.
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