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Like most American Sports Fans, the only player I knew who was playing "Soccer" for the USA entering the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was Landon Donovan. Now like many of you I am gripped by the US story of struggle and accomplishment in this year's "Soccer" tournament.
In many conversations I have been calling it "socc-futbol", choosing to use the Spanish pronunciation of "Football", because it feels funny to call anything other than American Football, "Football".
This has got me to thinking, what is the proper term for the sport where only one person can use his hands and everyone else can ONLY use their feet?
The more research that I do, the more confusing it gets, but, I have drawn some conclusions which I will share at the end.
A quick Google search, and Wiki Answers Result, revealed that the game that is played with your feet was invented in England in 1863. The English called this sport Football.
Somewhere in between 1863 and 1869 "Rugby" was invented.
In 1869 the first version of American Football was played between Rutgers and Princeton. This game which resembled a mix of Football and Rugby was called Gridiron.
Football (aka soccer) was organized under a uniform set of rules in 1863. The first game recognized as an "American" football match occurred in 1869, between Rutgers and Princeton, but it held more in common with soccer and rugby than with anything resembling what the game looks like today. When a committee was organized allowing colleges to play each other under a single code of rules, the game began to be developed following the English rugby code. The gradual addition of unique features to the game, including blocking, the down-and-distance rule, the line of scrimmage, and the forward pass, slowly turned gridiron into the sport Americans follow today.
A second search returned results from essortment.com: (This is an A-Mazing read and I highly recommend clicking on the link)
According to them, Rugby was invented in the 1820's and was an official sport in 1823.
At the same time a group of students at Princeton began playing a sport that they called "ballown". In this game they used both their hands and feet to advance the ball.
Then there was this game played at Harvard:
At Harvard, the freshman and sophomore classes competed in a football-type game, played on the first Monday of each school year; this event came to be known as ‘Bloody Monday’ because of the roughness of the game. Pick up games, similar in style to that played on ‘Bloody Monday’, soon became popular on the Boston Common, catching on in popularity around eighteen sixty.
That game sounds like a game that we used to play in High School Football practice called Garbage Can where you had to get the ball into a well defended garbage can. Bells were rung and there was definitely blood.
They also agree that the first Football game was played between Rutgers and Princeton in 1869.
So, it still looks like the name "football" belongs to the Euros. And if you knw where the name soccer came from, please fill me in, because the best explanation that I can come up with, that is published, makes no sense:
Once again from Wiki Answers:
It derived from the name of "Associated Football"
Just as the US' population adds "-y" or "-ish" to informally create an adjective from a noun, British young people (who were the ones who played the game), added "-er".
Lose the "a" and you get "soccer."
So, in my opinion, the game that we play should be termed American Football or even better yet, Gridiron,and Football belongs to the game that is played with MOSTLY feet.