Soccer has its fair share of buzz words, technical terms, and abbreviations. To anyone who knows very little about a particular sport, some of these can be confusing, to the point of almost being bizarre.
When it comes to soccer, there is no shortage of terminology with terms like scissors kick, dead ball, zonal marking, and pearler. These are four of the terms that might have non-soccer experts scratching their head.
- Scissors Kick: Striking the ball while in mid-air
- Dead Ball: Ball is stationary for the taking of a free-kick
- Zonal Marking: Defending set areas rather than an individual opponent
- Pearler: A stunning goal, normally from long range
In the rest of this article, we'll explain some more of the terminology, including what does FC mean in soccer, and we'll also take a look at why soccer clubs are called football clubs in most of the world, but not in the USA.
FC, CF, AFC - What Do They All Mean?
You will normally see FC before or after the name of a soccer team and in English, it means 'Football Club'. The FC may come before or after the name depending on which country the team is in and the language which is spoken there. For example, you have Chelsea FC in England and FC Bayern Munich in Germany, whereas in Spain, the 'C' comes before the 'F' thus the name CF Barcelona for this Spanish team.
You might come across teams which use AFC. The 'A' stands for 'Association' which relates to the fact that the official name for the sport we call soccer is 'Association Football'. AFC tends to get used mostly in England where the first organized soccer matches took place, thus you have teams like AFC Bournemouth and AFC Wimbledon. In the Netherlands, the most successful club is AFC Ajax, but the 'A' in this case stands for 'Amsterdamsche' which means 'from Amsterdam'.
Where FA Governs FC
You might come across the abbreviation 'FA' which you are unlikely to see in relation to a specific club. The reason is that 'FA' stands for Football Association. This is normally the governing body within a country, and as they were the very first, the Football Association in England or FA as it is called, does not need to add the name of their country, whereas, in other countries such as Scotland, the name is added to give SFA.
Language differences mean that some countries use the words 'Federation' or similar words in their language. This means that the abbreviated name of their association may not have 'FA'. An example of this is in Denmark where their governing body's name in Danish is Dansk Boldspill-Union, which gets abbreviated to DBU.
Perhaps the biggest example of where 'FA' is used in relation to a governing body, is the one that oversees soccer for the entire world, and that is FIFA. It is FIFA who, among many other things, are responsible for organizing the World Cup every four years. FIFA stands for Federation Internationale Football Association, and the reason the name is in French is due to the fact that FIFA was founded in Paris in 1904.
Football or Handball?
There is often a great debate and indeed confusion as to why most of the world call the game known as soccer, football, and in the USA the game is called soccer. This gets even more complicated as the gridiron form of football in the USA is known elsewhere as American Football. If this is something that has had you perplexed too, we are about to explain it all to you.
Both the games called soccer and American football are actually derivatives of another sport called Rugby football, although most people simply refer to it as rugby. It gets the name from the place where the game was first played, namely Rugby School, which is in Warwickshire, England.
If you know anything about rugby, you will know that while there is some kicking involved, it is a game which is played mostly by hand. Players carry the ball and pass it by throwing it to a teammate who catches it using their hands. If that sounds familiar to American football fans, then you are not mistaken as it relies even more on the use of hands than rugby with throwing and catching an integral part of the game.
At this point, it is a fair question to ask, if both rugby football, and American football, are sports in which the proportion of hands touching the ball compared to feet is so skewed, why do they have the word football in their names?
The simple answer and we dare say, one which might have your eyes rolling, is that rugby football was what it was called at first, and the name football simply stuck, even when it transitioned to a game using hands a lot more than feet.
If at this point you are thinking 'Really?', and wondering why it could be that simple, take our word for it. American football was actually derived from rugby football, and the name 'football' stuck to the sport.
So Where Does The Word Soccer Come From?
If you asked anyone in the UK where the word 'soccer' comes from, they will likely tell you, the USA, and that it is the word they use for football to differentiate it from American football. While it is true soccer is what Americans call the sport most of the world calls football, the term soccer actually originated in Britain. It is believed that soccer is derived from the word 'Association', and as you will recall the official name of the sport is 'Association Football'.
In the earliest days of the sport, the word soccer was widely used in the UK for what they now call football, but the term soon fell out of use when football replaced it. This is why many teams in the UK, have 'FC' in their name as a Football Club, rather than 'SC' for Soccer Club.