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Why soccer is called ‘soccer’ and not ‘football’ in the US

While most countries refer to the sport of Neymar, Messi and Mbappe like “soccer” (football), in the United States the term to refer to soccer is different: “soccer”. In times of the World Cup, a publication went viral on Twitter with a provocation and rekindled the, shall we say, “worldwide indignation” because Americans persist in using names and measures that are not adopted in the rest of the world —and, yes, we are talking about the metric system.

The post showed player Christian Pulisic, star of the US national team, pointing to a T-shirt with the words “It’s called soccer”. The photo was manipulated, but taunts about the use of the word are common and memes followed.

So when exactly did the term “soccer” come about and why did it become popular in the US?

The word is a British invention to differentiate football — popular in Brazil — from two other sports: rugby and American football, which were also called football — a word in English that means something like ball (ball) with the foot (foot).

The rules of the three sports were also not standardized and, many times, they were mixed up, especially those of rugby with our football. This changed in 1863, when the Football Association (FA) was created in London. The entity defined the rules of the sport that became the darling of Brazilians and definitively separated it from rugby.

At the same time, American football was growing in the United States. There, the modality was known only as football.

Therefore, when the football we know arrived in the North American country, it was called “association football”, that is, the sport standardized by the FA. The name was abbreviated to association and then just assoc, until it reached the form that became popular in the United States, with the addition of the suffix “er” — soccer.

Other countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa helped to popularize the term “soccer”. The British stopped using it around the 1980s and started to call the sport football.

T-shirt Pulisic

The Pulisic image that revived this linguistic discussion was a montage of another controversial situation. In the true image, the shirt that Pulisic carried the message “Man in the Mirror” (in Portuguese, “Homem no Espelho”).

The phrase referred to a comment made by the captain of the Mexico national team, Guillermo Ochoa, in an interview with TUDN. On the occasion, Ochoa said that “Mexico is the mirror in which the United States wants to see itself.”

The provocation was made after Pulisic scored the second goal against Mexico in the World Cup qualifiers. The two countries secured a place in the competition and have the possibility of facing each other again in the quarterfinals, if they are classified.

The United States will play again in the World Cup in Qatar this Friday, at 4 pm, in a match against England.

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