Soccer/Football Legends Revealed #2

This is the second in a series of examinations of soccer/football-related legends and whether they are true or false.

This installment is mostly a re-format edition, so 2/3 of these legends have already been posted on this site, just not in this format.

Let’s begin!

SOCCER/FOOTBALL LEGEND: A Thailand player intentionally scored on his own goal to give his team a better match-up in a tournament.

STATUS: True

Teams strategically not trying to win games to help get what they feel are better playoff match-ups is not a strange occurrence in the world of sports.

In the late game of the 1999 Pro Basketball season, the Miami Heat were playing the New York Knicks. Both teams had qualified for the NBA Playoffs, and coming into the game, the Heat were the #1 seed and the Knicks were the #8 seed, so they would be playing each other in the first round. The Knicks, however, happened to match up well against the Heat, and in fact had eliminated them from the first round of the playoffs the previous year (when the Knicks were the #7 seed and the Heat the #2 seed). The Knicks entered the night only a game behind the #7 seed, so a victory (and a loss by the team currently at #7) would put the Knicks at #7. The Heat wanted that to happen but the Knicks did not, so both teams ended up resting most of their star players. The Knicks won, but not before they had learned that the #7 seed (who was playing earlier that night) had already won so that the game did not matter. The Heat’s fears came true when the Knicks DID, in fact, eliminate them in the playoffs that season.

So there is something to be said for getting the match-up that you’d prefer to see.

That was the case for Thailand and Indonesia when they faced each other in the Semi-Finals of the 1998 Tiger Cup (a competition between South East Asian teams now called the ASEAN Cup, named after the Association of South East Asian Nations). Whoever won the match would face off against Vietnam, who was the host city that year and had been playing particularly well recently. The loser would get a more favorable match-up against Singapore.

So for most of the game, neither team tried particularly hard to score at all, until the referees began giving out cautions. So both teams scored two goals apiece.

Then, with very little time in the game, Thailand captain Mursyid Effendi (see below for a picture) turned and scored on his own goal, giving Indonesia the victory.

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The League was NOT happy at all, and fined both teams $40,000 and Effendi was banned for life from the sport.

In a bit of poetic justice, Thailand lost its match against Singapore (granted, Indonesia lost to Vietnam, as well).

Here are the video “highlights” of the Thailand/Indonesia game…

Thanks to ksalinda for the YouTube clip!

SOCCER/FOOTBALL LEGEND: A referee assessed an ungentlemanly conduct foul on a player for loud flatulence during a penalty kick.

STATUS: True

Two years ago, on April 4, Chorlton Villa had a match against the International Manchester Football Club…

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Villa was leading late in the match when Manchester was lining up for a penalty kick. The kick was saved, however, the ref through a yellow card because a Villa player had passed gas very loudly as the penalty kick was being made.

The referee determined that the player was intentionally trying to distract the opposing team’s player, so a yellow card was thrown for unsportsmanlike conduct and the penalty kick was re-shot.

Manchester scored on the re-taken penalty.

Villa’s goalie was thrown out of the game for saying the referee was “the worst he had seen in years.”

Another Villa player was also tossed after expressing incredulity that a player was actually punished for breaking wind.

Villa, in the end, got the last laugh, as they won 6-4.

Thanks to Neal Keeling for the information!

SOCCER/FOOTBALL LEGEND: The United States was the first country to begin calling “football” “soccer.”

STATUS: False

It is true that in most parts of the world, what people in the United States call soccer is called “football.”

Even in Australia, the official term for the sport is “football.”

However, people are often mistaken as to the history of the term and, specifically, the association between the United States and the term.

While the origin of the specific person who coined the term remains a mystery (one I don’t think we’ll ever have a definitive answer for), it remains pretty darn clear that the term derived as a nickname for Association Football, and a specifically BRITISH nickname for Association Football.

You see, at your typical 19th Century public school in England, there would be two major team sports to be played – Association Football and Rugby Football.

Since both terms contain the term football, students would naturally eliminate that part of the name when describing the game.

So you would have Association and Rugby.

However, a common way of developing slang in the late 19th Century at British public schools was to make things end in “-er” (many stories try to pinpoint this slang usage to a single British student, an Oxford University student named Charles Wreford Brown who went on to be the captain of the English national team – he very well COULD have been the fellow who came up with it, I just don’t think there’s enough evidence one way or the other to really say it definitively, and as I mentioned before, I doubt we’ll ever know for sure – it does seem awfully suspicious, though, that one of the more famous English football players of the late 19th/early 20th Century also HAPPENED to be the guy who coined the term “soccer,” but hey, it could be true, I guess).

So rugby soon became “rugger.”

This, though, proved difficult with the term “Association.”

Try doing the same thing with “rugby” to “ruggers” with “Association” – you’ll see that it does not come up with a pleasant sounding term.

So they simply moved down the word and chose the NEXT batch of letters, “soc” which became “soccer.”

And so the term was coined, although it was mostly just used among public school students.

Anyhow, when the sport moved over to the United States in the early 20th Century, the gridiron sport known as “football” in the United States was already being played. However, again, contrary to popular belief, the U.S. players did NOT then just start calling the game “soccer.”

Instead, in 1913, the United States of America Foot Ball Association was formed.

Note the name – no mention of “soccer.”

Soon, the United States of America Foot Ball Association became one of the earliest members of International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).

It was more than THREE DECADES into its existence that the term “soccer” became part of its title, as it became the United States Soccer Football Association in 1945, presumably due to the increased popularity of professional American football in the U.S.

Finally, it was not until 1974 that the “football” part was dropped and it became the United States Soccer Association, which is what it remains known as today.

So don’t blame the U.S. for the name soccer!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

2 Responses to “Soccer/Football Legends Revealed #2”

  1. ahh the beautiful game. Where would we be with out it. Nice blog will check back again to see if you have any updates

  2. anti wrinkle foods…

    Soccer/Football Legends Revealed #2…

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