Monday, August 16, 2010

Etymology of Soccer

The United States has pretty much dug in its heels on refusing to acknowledge the sport of football by any other name than soccer. Beneath the thin film of good humor that both sides of this topic try to maintain lurks an unabashed sense of nationalism that is no doubt at the root of countless soccer riots. Excuse me, football riots. The weird thing is that nobody even remembers where the term soccer comes from. The root: soccer hooligans. I mean football hooligans.

When the sport of football was first getting organized, various football clubs joined office football associations. When they could take their lips off of their tankards of sour port in between games, football players would refer to the organization as socka, socker and, eventually, soccer as a slang abbreviation of association. Unfamiliar with the reference, Americans assumed that the soccer was the name of the sport itself.

To be honest, that's kind of an oversimplification of the etymology of soccer, but this is just a short post. We'll get back into our discussion of the shared root of money, monster and so many other barely related words later this week.

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