Yuji: Looks like the World Cup will survive without the Japan and USA teams.

Dane: No great loss for America, we’re not really big on soccer anyway.

Yuji: Yeah, baseball’s still number one in Japan, too.

Dane: Do the Japanese call it soccer or football?

Yuji: Soccer.

Dane: I wonder why everybody else calls it football.

Yuji: Because it’s the only kind of football they have.

Dane: So where did the word soccer come from.

Yuji: It’s short for Association Football.

Dane: What’s that?

Yuji: When the English public schools borrowed the sport from the street gangs, they each made their own rules.

Dane: That must have been confusing.

Yuji: When they played against other schools they had to fight over whose rules to play by. In 1863 a bunch of them formed the Football Association and made one set of rules.

Dane: So that was the end of individual school rules?

Yuji: No, some of them kept playing by their own rules. That’s how we got Rugby.

Dane: So were they like, “Hey we don’t wanna play Cambridge Rules football. Let play Association Rules football.”?

Yuji: Something like that. It was such a pain to say “Association Rules Football” that they shortened it to “Soccer“.

Dane: So why don’t the Brits still say soccer?  They invented the term!

Yuji: They dropped it when most everyone started playing Association Rules — except for the stubborn Rugby fans.

Dane: So when it became the standard they went back to calling it just plain football.

Yuji: Exactly. But when you Americans started playing football, you chose something closer to Rugby. So that became your standard football.

Dane: So we kept the old term “soccer” for the European version of the game.

Yuji: That’s right.

Dane: So what’s with you Japanese? You don’t have another standard football game. Why do you say soccer?

Yuji: Because we’re victims of American cultural imperialism!

Dane: Yeah, right!

Yuji:  Maybe if we both stopped calling it soccer, we might be able to compete with all those real footballers.