Is it Football or Soccer? We’ll Explain Everything

Is it Soccer or Football?

Around the world, this massively popular sport is known by two names… but which one is correct?

We’re going to look at these two names used for one of the world’s most popular sports, including which countries use them and why they choose one over the other.

Football or Soccer - Which is Correct?

Technically, both “football” and “soccer” can be considered the ‘correct’ term for this sport - It all depends on your country. For most of Europe, Africa and Asia, this sport is referred to as “football”, whereas in places like North and South America (except for Brazil), this sport is mainly referred to as “soccer”. The word “soccer” is generally used when a country has a more popular national sport that uses the word “football”.

Which came First: Soccer or Football?

The word “football” came into use first when the rules for Association Football were written up in England in 1863. At the time, the word “association” was used to distinguish this sport from another sport with a similar name, “Rugby Football”. In the 1880s, the term “soccer” came into use as it was popular with Oxford University students at the time to shorten words with ‘-er’ endings, with "soccer" being a shortened version of “association”.

Did the UK Ever Use the Word Soccer?

Although the UK refers to this sport as “football”, both that and the word “soccer” originated here in the late 1800s. When the rules for what we know as football were written in 1863, the game was officially called “Association Football” to distinguish it from the older sport of “Rugby Football”.

Over the next couple of decades, this sport grew in popularity, especially among university students and private schools. At Oxford University, the term “soccer” was born out of the word “association” around 1885, but it isn’t a commonly used term to describe the sport in the UK anymore.

Why Does America Say Soccer?

In the United States and Canada, this sport is commonly known as “soccer”, mostly due to the fact that “football” is used to refer to both American Football and Canadian Football. These sports are more closely related to rugby as players run with the ball in their hands down the field, as opposed to kicking it with their feet like in “soccer”.

Why Does Australia Say Soccer?

Like the North Americans, Australia also uses the word “soccer” when it comes to the name of this sport. This is likely because this country had developed its variation of the beautiful game in 1859 known as “Australian Rules Football”. However, in recent years, the nation’s governing body for what we know as football has attempted to move away from using the word “soccer” in favour of “football”.

Why Does Brazil Say Football?

Unlike their North American neighbours, Brazil doesn’t have another national sport that uses the name “football”, so much like the UK, this word refers to the beautiful game we are discussing. The sport was first introduced to and played in the country by Scottish migrant worker Thomas Donohoe, with the first match being played in Brazil in April of 1894.

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