The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

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Could Google Change the Very Name of Football?

Google logo, soccerizedIf you search it for the word “football,” Google returns results that are dominated by NFL sites. If you search it for specific football topics—football tactics, say, or economics—Google returns results that jumble American and world football together. This is pure speculation, but since searching for “soccer” doesn’t produce that kind of confusion, I wonder if convenience will eventually encourage more producers and consumers of online football coverage to start calling the game by its American name. You can already see some sign of this, I think, in sites that regularly use both terms (“Soccerlens: Football News You Can Trust”), presumably in part to maximize their relevance to search engines.

It’s true that American football pages don’t feature so heavily in Google UK or Google Canada searches—but do most people use those country-specific sub-sites? Is there a chance that the internet will make “soccer” the preferred name for the sport in the future, or at least diminish its identification with American indifference? If so, it’s interesting that the current trend in America is to call the game “futbol,” largely as a way of reaching out to the world game and escaping the national stereotype.

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Could Google Change the Very Name of Football?

by Brian Phillips · October 8, 2008

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