Soccer: The Beautiful Game
Soccer—a game where players kick a round ball toward a goal—is the world's most popular sport. Before we discuss the game's long history, let's first examine the long history of confusion over its name.
The word "soccer" is widely used today in North America. While this term is no longer used in Britain, it was actually coined there in the 19th century as an abbreviation of "association football." Nowadays, the game is known as "football" to much of the world. But in North America, "football" refers to a sport in which players aim to move an oval ball to an end zone—using their hands.
Ball-kicking games that came before modern soccer go back hundreds of years. The ancient Chinese played a game known as cuju, which, like soccer, involved scoring goals without the use of one's hands. This game became so popular that a professional league was eventually established in the 10th century.
In the late 16th century, a game was played by North American Eskimos in which two teams stood across from each other in parallel lines. The idea was to kick a ball between the other team's players toward a goal. This game may have influenced English explorers, who were invited to play with the native people.
soccer這個字今天廣泛用於北美地區。儘管這個用語在英國已經不再使用，但其實是十九世紀時在英國創造出來的，作為「聯盟足球」（association football）的簡稱。如今，這種運動在世界許多地方稱之為football。但在北美，football指的是一種球員用手把一顆橢圓形的球送進達陣區的運動（編注：此種運動亦稱為American football美式足球）。