Why is football called soccer in America

Football is a pastime generally enjoyed by a large part of the English population. The industry has a turnover of billions of pounds per year and it is played by professionals and amateurs alike. It is the most popular sport in schools and it is a great game for competition but also for learning cooperation and teamwork. Children generally enjoy it — and aside from the sport and competition aspects, it is also a great leisure activity and promotes very high levels of fitness. During the World Cup, or even to a lesser extent events like the FA Cup and the League Cup, there is the opportunity for bonding among fans and a greater sense of unity overall, whether gathered at the game or just watching it on a big screen down the local pub.

A lot of British people often wonder why Americans refer to the English version of football as soccer. The funniest thing is that soccer is originally a British word. Although it would be easy to assume that the Americans gave a different name to the game to separate it from their own gridiron football, known as American Football in the UK, this actually is reasonably close but is not the whole truth. A little bit of the history of the games from England and their naming should be considered in order to uncover the full story.

There were originally two forms of football in England: rugby football, which is much closer but not quite the same as American football, and association football, which is the game that is usually referred to as just football. Also in England, these two games were given slang names. Rugby football was known colloquially as “ruggers”, and the slang term for association football was simply “assoc.”. That later developed into “soccer” as this was easier to say. These names are generally not used anymore.

When this modern form of association football moved to the US, the Americans needed to differentiate between the gridiron football they already played and the new football from England. That’s why they adopted the English slang name for the game and called it soccer. The main reason for the persistent confusion is simply that in England, the term used now is just football, as rugby football is just known as rugby (which itself is further subdivided into rugby league and rugby union). Therefore, in England it’s football, and in America it’s soccer. This may be confusing but the multiple names are necessary nonetheless.

These days the game is still a secondary sport in America, lagging behind the likes of baseball and NFL football. However, the game is slowly growing with supporters and becoming more popular than it has ever been in the past. Some big names in British football have recently moved to America to train teams and players for events like the World Cup, thus making people somewhat more enthusiastic about the game. But obviously, it will never be able to compete with the national sports.