Where Did the Word "Soccer" Come From?
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Where Did the Word "Soccer" Come From?

It might surprise you to learn that the word “soccer” actually came from England! This might be a little confusing since the term “football” is widely used there instead of “soccer”. But let’s go back in history and find out exactly where this sports term came from.

Football (soccer) type games have existed for hundreds of years! In 1863 England’s Football Association wrote its official rules, and association football began. At the same time, Rugby Football was also a popular sport in the country. To differentiate between the two sports, students in Oxford and Cambridge got creative and gave the two types of football nicknames. It was trendy at the time to add “-er” endings to words, like “foot-er.”

Thanks to this trend, for a short while, rugby football was referred to as “rugger” and “assoccer” was used for association football. We can probably guess which type of football these students liked best with nicknames like that! In the end, “assoccer” was further shortened to “soccer,” but the name didn’t last in England.

It was a different story in the United States!

American association-football players adopted “soccer” to refer to their sport because gridiron football (or present day American Football) was growing in popularity. “Soccer” was the better option for American players to clearly distinguish between the two types of sports.

For more on the origins of the term soccer and soccer facts from our host countries, watch this video:

Do you say soccer or football in your country? Whatever term you prefer is fine with us, but we’ll be using soccer since it’s in the name of one of our popular student travel programs in Costa Rica!

Also, click your cleats three times if you want to join our  Soccer and Service Program!

About the Author

Janette Daneshmand