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?
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.