Michigan Professor Explains Why Americans Call It “Soccer” and Not “Football”


Have you ever wondered why Americans label the world's most popular sport as "Soccer" while the rest of the world refers to it as "Football"?

Stefan Szymanski, a professor in the School of Kinesiology, says it's all Brit's fault! Szymanski said that the word "Soccer" actually originated in Britain in the late 19th century.

"It's thought to be associated with upper middle class students at elite universities. The term "soccer" was only later adopted by Americans to distinguish it from gridiron," Szymanski said in a statement.

The professor further said that critic's hatred towards soccer has got to do more with anti-Americanism than with tradition.

To determine the origin of soccer and football usage, the researcher analysed British and U.S. publications and book titles from 1900.

Szymanski found that soccer was a recognized term in Britain in the first half of the 20th century, but it was broadly used in publications only after World War II. Pre-war editors might have perceived soccer as an informal word. But, the word usage may have become too informal due to the presence of U.S. soldiers in Britain.

The usage of the term Soccer peaked between 1960 and 1980 when it was used alongside football.

"It is hard to think of any explanation for the decline other than the rising popularity of the word soccer in the U.S," Szymanski said. "Americans will continue to call the game soccer whatever anyone else says, not out of perversity but out of the need to distinguish it from America's favorite game, football."


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