This question arose during one of those riveting “soccer vs. football” debates.
Predictably, it didn’t take long before the discussion devolved into an argument, with random punters from different countries around the world throwing their handbags at one another and calling each other names.
God bless the Internet.
Wait, what’s the issue here?
To Americans, the word “soccer” is perfectly acceptable. This is because it helps to distinguish the sport from American Football, which is extremely popular in the United States.
To fans from other countries, the word “soccer” is a cringeworthy Americanism that should be confronted with ire and vitriol.
This is despite the fact that the word “soccer” actually originates from England.
Why do certain people take offence to the word “soccer”?
In my opinion, the resentment towards the word “soccer” stems from people’s perception that its usage is some sort of indication that Americans consider American Football to be more deserving of the title “football”.
Since the dawn of the Internet, Americans and Europeans have often argued over which sport is better. Therefore, this hot-button-issue is likely to be an extension of the bitterness that some of those arguments have spawned over the years.
On one hand, you have Americans who think that soccer is a game for pansies who will feign injury at the slightest touch of physical contact.
On the other hand, you have Europeans who think that America is full of ignorant gun-toting hillbillies who are unable to appreciate anything that doesn’t contain constant commercial breaks and mindless violence.
Is it called soccer or football in Ireland?
One of the things I’ve noticed is that Irish people also seem to be heavily divided on this issue. If you ask whether Irish people call it “soccer” or “football”, you’ll probably receive different answers. Irish person A will say “football” and Irish person B will say “soccer”.
If you’re lucky, they’ll get into an argument and challenge each other to a fist fight outside of Supermac’s.
The GAA is an Irish organisation that promotes Irish sports such as hurling. It also promotes and officiates a game called Gaelic Football, which is extremely popular in certain areas of Ireland.
Like most countries and regions, Ireland has its own cultural differences. For instance, in rural areas, where GAA is a way of life, the word “football” usually refers to Gaelic Football. However, in urban areas, “football” usually refers to soccer.
“Did you see the football yesterday?”
“Yea, Liverpool were very lucky. It could have easily been 3-0.”
“No, I mean the game between Mayo and Dublin.”
It can depend on where the person was raised or which sport they pledge their undying allegiance to. In other words, don’t expect an absolute answer from anyone.
Most of the time, the context of the conversation will determine which sport is being talked about.