Where did Soccer come from?

Photo: US Team World CupThe second day of 2010 World Cup action heats up as Team USA takes on England today, Saturday, June 12th, at 8:30 p.m. local time at the Royal Bafoking Stadium in Rustenburg. In the U.S., ABC will begin its coverage of the game at 1:30 p.m. EST and kickoff’s at 2:30 p.m. EST.

This is the first official match up between the “cousins” since the 1-0 U.S. defeat of Team England during the 1950 World Cup in Brazil; a game many consider the greatest upset in World Cup history and possibly the U.S. team’s greatest victory. Sixty years ago, when the U.S. and British media finally got around to reporting the game, many considered the news of the 1-0 U.S. win to be a typo.

In anticipation of today’s big game (and as people who work with words, we couldn’t resist), we thought we’d compare the rivals linguistically. British and U.S. English diverge on several levels, in the realms of pronunciation, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. Keeping things light, we wondered about a key difference in vocabulary between the two nations that, given our topic, is quite relevant: Why do the British call the “world’s game” football while Americans call it “soccer”?

Find out after the jump.

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After some digging, I’m happy to report the following: Apparently American’s word for football is a shortened version of Assoccer, an abbreviation of “Association Football, ” the term given the game as it was played at elite British boys’ schools in the 1860s. “Assoccer” became “soccer”


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