of the Word Soccer (An Alternative)
accepted origin of the word "soccer" is that its a contraction of the
word "Association" with reference to "Association Football".
The Football Association was formed in October 1863 when the rules were standardised
by a meeting of eleven clubs. With one of the written rules now being that the
carrying of the ball was not permitted this finally set in stone the biggest practical
different between Association Football and Rugby Football.
In 1889 the
word was "socca", later it was "socker" in 1891 and finally
seemed to settle on "soccer" by 1895. The word is supposed to have evolved
in University slang, created by shortening the word "Association" and
adding "er". They had other expressions such as "brekkers"
for "breakfast" and "rugger" for "rugby."
this seems a relatively acceptable version of the origin, and it does seem reasonble
if these references started appearing in literature a couple of decades after
the "association" was formed, there are a couple of things which put
doubts in my mind.
Firstly it doesn't exactly follow the established rules
for these Oxford contractions. Instead of merely chopping the last syllable off
the word and adding "er", they remove the last two syllables,
also remove the first letter of the word, then change the soft "c"s
in the word to hard "c"s, before adding the "er". Okay, so
maybe following the normal rules does produce the less desirable "asser",
but why didn't this word become at least "sosser"?
there is an alternative theory which fits rather well and, like the game itself,
is considerably older than a hundred and fifty years.
has roots thousands of years ago across many countries of the world but in England
it became taken up by the working classes and frowned upon by those in authority
and the upper classes. It was a very rough and dangerous sport at first, known
as "mob football" and was little more than a violent street battle.
The first use of the phrase "football" or rather "fut ball"
was in 1424 in the editc reproduced on the right, but what about "soccer"?
you look up at the closest-sounding modern word, "sock", a couple of
interesting points appear. The modern word comes from an old English word spelt
"socc". More interestingly this was not a snug, fabric covering as it
is today, but back then it meant a light shoe and it comes from the Latin "soccus".
The word "socc" to mean "shoe" first appeared in 725AD but
was there any evidence of it relating to football?
When Mary Queen of Scots
was imprisoned in Carlisle Castle in Tudor times it is documented that she watched
the game of football, indeed her retinue played for two hours "strongly"
and "skillfully". And, by an amazing coincidence, on this map of Carlisle
Castle, it is remarkable to note that certain fields are labelled "Castle
could this be proof that in medieval times the game was also known as "soccer"
and played by those wearing "soccs" on ground known as "soceries"...
with the players "socking" the ball? It is certainly very far from being
proof and sadly this circumstantial evidence is all there is to this theory. There
appears to be no written evidence putting the word "socc" in the context
of football but it remains an interesting mystery.