Call it football or soccer?


Sir, – Donald Clarke (Ticket, July 3rd) argues that the word “soccer” was always commonly used to describe Association Football,  citing evidence of “soccer” being used in several publications pre-1980.

While he may be correct about its occasional usage in the written word, in normal daily conversation about football the word “soccer” was never in my experience used to describe football, except in the US and Australia. 

Up to the turn of the century in Ireland (or at least in Dublin) the names of the three football codes were clear. “Football” always referred in common parlance to Association Football, “rugby” described rugby football and Gaelic football was used to describe. . . Gaelic football. Indeed friends whose passion was Gaelic games took pride in having the word Gaelic in the name for their game. 

Then, RTÉ sports commentators  led the way in changing to the word “soccer” to describe what had previously been called football, and started to use the term football to describe Gaelic football. The change was jarring and obvious  to me; people remember it and argue the case which proves my point. 

Football is the most appropriate word to describe the ball game played with the feet and it is also the what the first letter in FAI stands for. – Yours, etc,


Tallaght, Dublin 24.