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Debate: Football or soccer?


Staff member
By Mike Steere

LONDON, England (CNN) -- It's time this debate was settled once and for all.

Football or soccer? What do you think the round-ball game should be called?

While it may be a basic discussion; arguing whether the beautiful game should be called "football" or "soccer" is one of the most fundamental debates of the code.

On the face it, the answer should be simple. The world body -- FIFA -- has the word "football" in its title. End of story? Not quite.

The term soccer was coined as slang for "association," in England in the 1880s. The Oxford University Association Football Club's Web site explains that former England captain Charles Wreford-Brown is commonly credited with its origin.

Soccer would have been used to differentiate between University sports rugby football ("rugger") and "association" football.

Therefore, contrary to popular belief, the word soccer is a British term, not an American one.

Soccer is more commonly used in countries that play other forms of football, i.e. Americans also play gridiron football and Australians who play "Aussie Rules" football -- a completely different sport entirely.

Soccer was initially referred to as football in the United States. In 1913 the United States of America Football Association was formed. In later years, it became the United States Soccer Football Association and today is known as the United States Soccer Federation.