Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Euro Adapter: football vs. soccer


Patterns, habits and ways of expressing myself that I thought were set in stone before I became an expat have evolved and I now recognize that sometimes, the Old World’s got the New World beat.

The world’s most popular sport is called football, not soccer. For starters, it’s a game played almost exclusively with feet. In theory, you could be an arm-less person and still play. In terms of compound word creation, it doesn’t get much more basic than “foot kicking ball game” = foot + ball.

Visca! Barça! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)

Visca! Barça! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)

That thing that Americans play? It should be called something else, like lamerugby. Or runningball. Lexically, “soccer” is a bullshit word anyway as it’s an incredibly dumb shortening of Association Football.” Do you even see where they got the term from? It’s the “soc” in “Association.” Dumbest. sport name. ever.

My brain says

→ When I read S. E. Hinton’s book The Outsiders in elementary school, I thought the antagonists, the Socs, were called “Socks.” It took me many years to realize they were “sohsh-es” as in “society.”

Letters of Note has a good one about a California librarian’s correspondence with Francis Ford Coppola’s production company about the latter’s adaptation of The Outsiders. The world was so different then (1980) that it freaks me out a little.

→ Speaking of mispronouncing things, if you’re an “Arrested Development” fan (and YOU REALLY NEED TO BE), I recently laughed for several minutes after watching the officially-unofficial* “The Arrested Development Documentary.” Scott Baio, (“Happy Days,” “Charles In Charge,” “Zapped!”) played Bob Loblaw on “AD” and had this to say:

“I’m from New York and my accent got in the way of the name, so I looked at it and said, ‘Bob LAWB lawhr’ and I was doing a scene with [Jason] Bateman and he said, ‘And here’s our attorney, Bahblahblah,’ and I went ‘THAT’S THE NAME?!'”

→ → → →”Arrested Development” returns in two weeks!

* They interview most of the cast and the writers and producers, but did not get clearance to show clips of the series which isn’t that big of a deal since you know it backwards and forwards, right? RIGHT?


Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

6 thoughts on “Euro Adapter: football vs. soccer

  1. Is that seriously where the word soccer comes from? We met three Europeans and were having dinner with them when we were on a trip recently…talk turned to “that sport” and I accidentally used the American word. And boy, did they laugh and laugh…

    • I will do many things, but lie to you ain’t one of them. Soccer does in fact come from the “soc” in Association. They slapped on the “-er” to noun-ify it and called it a day.

  2. ¡¡Los campeones de La Liga!!

    The origin of the word soccer is hilarious–and oddly appropriate, given how lousy a substitute it is for football. I’ve seen people elsewhere on the internet refer to American football as “handegg” which is a much more accurate description of the majority of play and the shape of the ball, but I doubt the name will ever change, sadly.

    This is why I tend to read ESPN Deportes–well, that and it’s much easier to get football-related content there than having to wade through endless menus on the English site.

  3. Never mind the history, today, in the 21st Century, football is football. Ball used by foot.
    I disapprove of the term ‘handegg’, it’s as meaningless & disrespectful as the ‘s’ word. Gridiron is the name that fits.

    • Not sure what you mean by “history” nor by calling football “gridiron.” A gridiron is the field of play for American football, not the sport, just as the rest of the world’s football is played on a pitch or field.

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