Soccer in the United States…We Don’t Call It Football

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and as proof of this there are more countries in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) than in the United Nations. In most of the world, they call the game “football.” But, here in the United States, we call it soccer. How did this name come to be? During the nineteenth century, the game of “football” or soccer was played at British public schools and colleges with each school having its own rules. The first set of standardized soccer rules was published in 1862 which helped graduates of the different schools play together. The English Football Association was founded in 1863 and the game was called “association football” to distinguish it from rugby football and the “ruggers” that played that game. Charles Wreford-Brown, the former England captain is usually credited with inventing the term “soccer” as an abbreviation for “association football.” While in most countries the game is still known as football, in the United States (and Canada) the game is called soccer to distinguish it from American football.

Do you want to know more about the game of soccer? The following guide will provide some good resources to learn more about soccer, especially as it is played here in the United States. Resources are organized by those on the Internet and in print.

Soccer on the Web

American Youth Soccer Organization
Official website of the AYSO, a nationwide non-profit organization that develops and delivers quality youth soccer programs based on AYSO’s Five Philosophies: Everyone Plays; Balanced Teams; Open Registration; Positive Coaching; and Good Sportsmanship. The site includes rules, codes of conduct, coaching tips, skills and news from the soccer world.

Fédération Internationale de Football Association

Official website of FIFA, the association that governs world soccer. FIFA has 208 member associations with the goal of the constant improvement of football (soccer). The site includes news, pictures, and videos, as well as information on the World Cup which is held every four years.

The official website of Major League Soccer, the professional soccer league in the United States. MLS was founded in 1996 founded in 1996, after the country hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup. MLS is currently experiencing a period of growth highlighted by expansion, the construction of soccer-specific stadiums, and new investors, with the goal of 16 teams by 2010. The site includes information on teams, game schedules, rules, scores, and statistics, plus photos, audio and video clips.

National Soccer Hall of Fame

The official website with the mission to “celebrate the history, honor the heroes, inspire the youth and preserve the legacy of the sport of soccer in the United States.” Established in 1979, the National Soccer Hall of Fame houses an extensive archive of memorabilia associated with soccer in the United States. The Hall of Fame, located in Oneonta, New York, is home to the nation’s soccer archives, which, with more than 100,000 items, comprises one of the largest collections of soccer artifacts and records in the world.

Sam’s Army is an unofficial fan club of the U.S. National Soccer Teams. Sam’s Army attends the games of National Teams, wears RED, and stands and cheers throughout the games and does not tolerate “hooligan, racist, or violent behavior.” The website includes news, pictures, songs, trivia, and articles about the National Teams and hundreds of links to even more soccer information on the Internet.

Soccer Training Info
A soccer resource center that provides users with tips, tricks, strategies, highlight videos, news, and training methods to become better players.

United States Indoor Soccer Association
The official website of United States Indoor Soccer Association, dedicated to the promotion of what it considers to be “one of the few truly American sports.” The site includes information on the history of the game, organization, how to become a member of the association, a calendar of upcoming events, classified ads, links to other sources, and a list of useful publications. A chat room is available as well.

United States Soccer Federation
Official website of the U.S. Soccer Federation, the governing body of soccer in the United States. The site includes information about the Men’s & Women’s National teams including articles, video, rules, and history of soccer in the United States.

Soccer in Print

There are many books on the game of soccer available at bookstores or for free from your local public library. In the Dewey Decimal System, which is used in most public libraries, books about soccer can be found under the call number 796.334. Here are a few good ones to read to learn more about the game of soccer.

Hornby, H. (2005). Soccer.New York:
DK Publishing
Examines all aspects of the game of soccer including its rules, techniques, tactics, equipment, playing fields, competitive play including the World Cup.

Hunt, C. (Ed.). (2006). The complete book of soccer. Richmond Hill, Ontario: Firefly Books.
Provides a comprehensive history of the game, profiles of its greatest stars, data on recent tournaments, team histories and statistics.

LaBlanc, M.L. (1994). The world encyclopedia of soccer. Detroit, MI: Gale Research.

Surveys the history of soccer, shares profiles of the sport’s best players and includes information on equipment, stadiums, soccer terms, and championship records.

United States Soccer Federation, Inc. & Lewis, M. (2000). Soccer
for dummies
. Foster City, CA : IDG Books Worldwide.

A comprehensive reference to American soccer covers the game in depth, from dribbling technique to the game’s history. Featuring expert tips from U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Soccer Team stars along with hundreds of action photos and illustrations.

This pathfinder was created by Karen Emmons for INFO 780 Special Topics: Digital Reference, Dr. Eileen Abels, Drexel University, Fall 2007.