Youth Academy

The Denver Kickers Sports Club
est. 1962

The word soccer came from, read on:

"Soccer" was originally called "association football" during the formation of the Football Association in England in the 1860s. This was to maintain a distinction from the other football game being organised in England at the same time based on the handling codes, whilst Association Football conformed to the dribbling codes. The other football came to be known as "rugby" football, named after the Rugby School in England, where it is said that a certain young student, William Webb Ellis, picked up the ball in his hands during an association football match and ran with it over the goal line. Master Ellis asked his teacher, who was refereeing, if that was a goal. The reply was, "No, but it was a jolly good 'try'", which is where one of the rugby scoring terms comes from. Rugby Union was formally organised by 1871, but suffered another split by 1893 when Rugby League was formed. I digress.

Near the end of 1863, Charles Wreford-Brown, who later became a notable official of the Football Association, was asked by some friends at Oxford whether he cared to join them for a game of "rugger" (rugby). He is said to have refused, preferring instead to go for a game of "soccer" - a play on the word "association". The name caught on.

English public schoolboys love to nickname things, then as much as now. The tendency is to add "er" to the end of many words. Rugby [Union] Football became "rugby", and then "rugger". Association Football was better know as "assoccer" and naturally evolved into "soccer" which is much easier for a schoolboy to say...

Therefore, the word "soccer" has been used in the mother country of all football-type games since at least the mid-19th century. The word "football", however, was more descriptive of the game (i.e. kicking a ball with the feet!) and was the term more frequently used. The British exported the game, so naturally the word "football" was the name mostly used all over the world. In recent decades it has been noted that the word "soccer" is apparently increasing in usage. The word "football" still appears in formal designations, however, in for example, Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The word "soccer" is more commonly used in several countries around the world that play other forms of football. When Australians say "football", they mean Australian Rules football instead [Well in southern states they do, in the north they mean Rugby League -Ed]. The Irish have Gaelic football. In the USA and Canada, of course, there is Gridiron football. Rugby Union, Rugby League, Australian Rules, Gaelic, American and Canadian football all owe their roots to Association football. With the exception of Gaelic Football, they all use an ovoid shaped ball. None is as popular around the world as Association football.

"Football" is the world standard name for "soccer". I always used the word "football" (and still do, wherever I can). The word "soccer", however, is engrained into the origins of the modern game of association football as much as any other aspect of The Game much of the world enjoys today.

Finally, it must be remembered that British football, both association and rugby, had been organised in the 19th century by people in the upper echelons of the English educational system, from "exotic" schools, colleges and universities as Harrow, Eton, Oxford and Cambridge, just for starters. As I stated earler, students of the Victorian era, as much as now, loved nicknames and "soccer" and "rugger" were the accepted everyday names for those people. These were sports for gentlemen.

Finally, to give an idea of how serious academies are, here are a few quotes from an article written by Paul Weaver for the Guardian Newspaper, in the UK:

  “Football academies were introduced to English domestic football in 1998. There are 41 academies in the Premier and Football League, each with around 120 players. There are 19 in the Premier League (Wigan have a lower-graded centre of excellence). There are 22 academies in the Football League at Barnsley, Bristol City, Cardiff, Charlton, Coventry, Crewe, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Leeds, Leicester, Millwall, MK Dons, Norwich, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton, Stoke, Watford, West Brom and Wolves.
The academies are licensed on a five-year basis by the FA and, under Premier League rules, all coaches must hold Uefa level-three coaching licences or higher. The student/staff ratio must not be greater than 10 to one. There are three age groups, split between nine to 11-year-olds, 12 to 16-year-olds and those aged 17 and 18. The youngest age group are registered for one year at a time and must be able to travel to the academy within one hour. They receive a minimum of three hours' training each week.
The players in the 12-16 age group must live within 90 minutes of the academy and train for a minimum of five hours per week. The oldest group, who can sign professional contracts from the age of 17, work for 12 hours a week. The academies are also responsible for the education of their players.”