The Origins of Football and Soccer, and Other Mysteries of the Sports World

One of the mysteries that regularly confounds sports fans around the world is how American football got its name. Anyone who spends more than few minutes watching a game might become puzzled, because the ball is only rarely kicked or otherwise contacted by the feet of players.

This fact would be little more than a curiosity if the name „football” was not already in wide use for another reason. The game that Americans call „soccer,” of course, is known in every English-speaking country outside of North America as „football.” Given that the rules of this game entail that the ball in question is virtually always kicked around the field, that usage tends to make a lot more sense to many people.

The reality is that there are good, historically grounded reasons both for the American usage of the word „football” and the origin of the word „soccer.” When American football first became recognizable as the game it was today, there was very little standardization in the world of sports. In fact, a whole slew of local, distinctive games were played, with each having rules of its own that set it apart from games played elsewhere. What eventually became American football began as just another one of these games, and therefore has every bit as much right to the name as the sport that Americans today know as „soccer.”

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That word „soccer,” too, although it is not used much outside of the United States and Canada, also has a strong claim to legitimacy. During the nineteenth-century period when variety and local rules reigned supreme, a few efforts to standardize upon a single game emerged. Around 1850, one of the most successful of these produced the Football Association in England, a group that still exists today. The word „soccer,” in fact, is a slang contraction of „Association football,” an early way of referring to the game that most of the world now knows as „football.”

In fact, the Football Association is just as important today as it was in the early days of the sport. FA cup final tickets are among the most treasured of all sports passes today, as they allow fans to see some of the top teams in the sport. For this year’s FA Cup Final Arsenal vs Aston Villa, for example, tickets sold out early on. With cup final tickets arsenal aston villa fans can hope to see not only some of the best football anywhere, but also the modern incarnation of one of the longest-running events in sports. Those who buy fa cup tickets, then, become a part of the truly fascinating history of the sport.

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