Japan and the U.S. are playing in the Women’s World Cup Finals today so I thought it would be a good time to write a short post about soccer. Interestingly, Canada, the U.S. and Japan are the only countries that primarily use the term soccer. In the rest of the world, people generally call it football.
Soccer was introduced to Japan in the 1870s by Sir Archibald Lucius Douglas, a Canadian member of the Royal Navy who served as a foreign advisor to Japan. While serving as an instructor for the Royal Japanese Navy, he taught the naval cadets the rules of the game. Until the end of World War II, the sport was known as 蹴球, which is written with the kanji for “kick” and “ball”. In post war Japan, people started using the American term サッカー.
So why do Americans use the word “soccer”? When the sport was introduced to North America in the , it’s official name was “Association Football”. This was shortened to “Assoccer”, and then shortened again to “soccer”, which is the name that stuck in North America. No matter what you call it, I hope you enjoy the match!