Blame the British, not Americans, for the word 'soccer' - KMSP-TV

Blame the British, not Americans, for the word 'soccer'

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Under lights, beneath sunshine, and in darkness, on fields of turf and grass and dirt all around the world amateurs of all ages gather to mimic their nation's most talented soccer players.

And in one Manhattan bar, thanks to one incendiary question intentionally posed by yours truly, one Brit railed against the ignorance of Americans as evidenced by our use of the word "soccer."

"If I could obliterate any word, it would be 'soccer.' Please, for Christ's sake," Mark Lalor said. "Basically it's not in the dictionary and it's the wrong name for the sport."

But Stefan Szymanski, Ph.D., a Michigan University professor of sport management, countered.

"So, the word 'soccer' is originally an English word," he said. "It was first recognized in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1893 and is thought to be used by university students in Oxford and Cambridge as a short version of the word, 'association football.'"

We'll refrain from dropping an "oh, snap" or a "don't tread on me" on our friend Mark Lalor from the bar.

The Brit-on-Brit crime that Szymanski committed against Lalor in providing that etymology would likely infuriate Lalor as much as my attempts at convincing him the word "soccer" belonged more to his founding fathers than my own.

"Come here," Lalor said. We made the sport. We invented the sport."

"When I grew up, I could call it football. I could call it soccer," Szymanski said. "I wouldn't think of them as being different words particularly and I certainly wouldn't think of it as being an American term."

"Just get rid of it," Lalor said.

But at a certain point, doesn't an ugly American with an ugly American accent trying to choke out "football" or worse "futbol" instead of calling it "soccer" like everyone else in his country start to sound like he's just trying too hard?

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