Soccer, Football, Footie . . . What’s In A Name . . .

Playing football in Santa Barbara, California

Playing football in Santa Barbara, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

. . . It’s All Balls

While Americans play soccer (well, those of them who aren’t busy playing football), the rest of the world are busy playing football – confused? Yep, I’m not really surprised!

The United States is emerging pretty impressively on the world stage as a force to be reckoned with in the competitive world of soccer/football, but to be honest the rest of the world do eye them a little suspiciously . . . because they don’t even call it by it’s “proper” name, well, “proper” if you go by what the rest of the soccer mad world agree to call it anyways.

So, Americans play “football” with odd shaped balls which doesn’t actually involve any contact between the foot and the ball, and the rest of the world plays “football” – with round shaped balls moved around the football pitch with the feet, which we in America insist upon calling “soccer”.

The game of soccer / football / footie / kick-about / the beautiful game / is revered all over the world, it’s the most popular sport in the whole wide world (except in the US), so why do Americans insist upon calling the game “soccer” when the rest of the world seem to agree that it’s called “football”? I know, I know, it’s not cool to copy, but did Americans make up the name of soccer, or did they just prefer a less popular (but nevertheless widely used) term for this sport which has become a world wide obsession and produced some of the most highly paid sports people on the planet?

Some British people (for which football is more than an obsession, it’s more like a religion), might look down their noses at their footie playing cousins across the pond, but actually the word “soccer” has been used in England for many years too, just as much as the word “football” actually.  It’s just a modern type of “fad” (and another excuse to complain about American language) – ‘cos in years gone by many a youngster would routinely run down the street with a ball for a game of “soccer”, and were likely to name it as such just as much as they were likely to say “football”. Soccer is, and always has been, a synonym of football, so in England the words “soccer” and “football” are completely interchangeable, but in the United States they aren’t.

This guy, however, seems to have his own ideas . . .

It’s alright, calm down, he actually spends a lot of time in America and is just being funny – well, he’s trying his best.

Soccer Around The World

There’s little surprise that soccer is such a popular game worldwide . . . it’s one of the few sports where you really can play anytime, almost anywhere with the absolute minimum amount of kit. Okay, you need a football, but that doesn’t stop children across the globe from showing a little initiative when they don’t have an actual “football” to play soccer with, kids can be seen kicking cans, stones, rolled up bundles of rags, anything which can help them to have fun with their friends and partake in their favorite pastime – soccer.

For a “proper” game of football you do need a soccer pitch of a designated size, with a goal at each end of a designated size, and the right number of people playing on each team . . . but all of these requirements are very much open to negotiation when need be. I’ve lost count of the number of sweaters my youngest failed to come home with after leaving them in the park to be used as goalposts! Failing that any old tree / lamp post / gate post / school bag will do the job almost as well. And what about the teams? Just so long as you have roughly the same number of players on each side (unless the “little kids” are playing soccer with the “bigger kids” who can run rings around them, when even 10 against 2 doesn’t seem to be fair), then soccer really is a very adaptable sport.

You can even play soccer on your own, well, you can’t actually play a soccer match but you can certainly spend some time practising your soccer “keepy uppy” skills . . .

Wow, those dudes are dancing with their balls!

Then you can always have a bit of soccer practice shooting at the goal . . .

You can improve your quickness with footwork drills.

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