Why do Americans call it soccer?

Why do Americans call it soccer?

Why do Americans call it soccer? Soccer’s inception traces back to ancient cultures like Greece and Rome. In the 19th century, modern soccer was born in England. It got its name from ‘association football’ to differentiate it from rugby.

It quickly spread around the globe, but Americans were slow to join. This was because they already had their own version of football- known as American football. To avoid confusion, they started calling association football ‘soccer’.

Why do Americans call it soccer?

Today, Americans say ‘soccer’ instead of ‘football’ which is used by the rest of the world. What’s interesting is that many countries once had their own unique names for football. For example, in Italy it was called ‘calcio’, and in Spain it was ‘fútbol’.

Pro Tip: When travelling and communicating with people from different cultures, it’s important to be aware of linguistic and cultural differences.

Origin of the term “soccer”

The term ‘soccer’ is said to have begun in Britain in the late 1800s. It was a shortened form of ‘association football’. This was instead of ‘rugby football’.

In the US, it is mostly known as soccer. But some people say Americans used the term to separate themselves from Britain’s version of football. Historians and sports fans debate this point.

Plus, some Americans use the term ‘football’ when they follow international leagues or grew up in another country.

Former US President Barack Obama once said, “Let’s get American kids playing soccer, like kids around the world.” Whether you say soccer or football, its popularity is undeniable.

For Americans, it can be hard to decide which to call it – soccer or football!

Confusion with other football codes

Confusion stirred in America when ‘soccer’ was heard. It caused a need for clarification between its various types of football, such as American football and rugby. Hence, ‘soccer’ became the convenient term used to differentiate it from others.

This arose due to soccer’s lack of popularity in America. Plus, British expatriates brought the word ‘football’ when they arrived. In their country, it was referred to as football, but clarified as ‘association football.’

Interestingly, ‘soccer’ came from the 1863 England abbreviation of ‘Association Football.’ This showed how popular it was worldwide, and Americans eventually called it by its international name: soccer. Looks like America just couldn’t handle the thought of having a sport with the same name as their favorite pastime: lawsuits!

Usage of the term in other countries

In different countries, the name of football differs. Take a look at different terms used for it around the world.

CountryTerm used for Football
United KingdomFootball or Footie
AustraliaFootball or Footy
IrelandSoccer or Gaelic Football (local variation)
New ZealandFootball or Soccer (more commonly used)

In Europe, “football” is often used instead of “soccer.” Nevertheless, in the USA, soccer is the preferred term while football stands for American football.

South Africans refer to football as “soccer,” due to the popularity of rugby and other sports known as “football.”

The Oxford English Dictionary states that “soccer” was first mentioned by Oxford University students in 1889. This was to differentiate it from Rugby football.

Overall, each country has its own way of naming the sport. But, one thing is for sure – football is beloved globally. Even though America has a stronger football culture, at least they don’t call it handegg like some other countries!

American soccer culture

Soccer has been part of the American culture since the late 1800s. It started in Britain, but Americans embrace it with their own distinct culture, teams, and fans – like Major League Soccer (MLS). It creates rivalries between cities and increases enthusiasm.

In America, they call it soccer to differentiate it from other sports like American football or basketball. ‘Football‘ would cause confusion since it already refers to a different sport for over a century. So, they chose a new name for association football – soccer!

Apart from MLS, international soccer tournaments are also popular. The World Cup brings lots of excitement across the USA. This shows soccer’s growth in popularity and respect.

Forbes magazine says over 18 million adults play soccer in America. Making it one of the most played sports!

Reasons for the term “soccer” over “football”

The term “soccer” being used in America dates back to the late 1800s. An oval-shaped ball was already used for rugby-like games and was called “football.” Thus, a need arose to differentiate them, and so the term “soccer” was born. It is said to have come from shortening “Association Football,” which was the original name of the sport.

In the rest of the world, it is still known as “football.” This is because of when and how each country adopted the sport. In many countries, it was simply known as football.

In America, soccer wasn’t always so popular. Its fame began after its national team won at international competitions like the World Cup 1994 and Olympics 2004.

Even in England, where football originated, various terms were used to refer to kick-based games before they settled on “football.” Such games were called “mob football” or “Shrovetide football,” depending on their locality.

It appears that Americans’ love for calling it soccer is here to stay, just like the media’s love for sensationalizing news.

Public perception and media influence

Analyzing the connection between Americans calling football ‘soccer’ and its public perception is intriguing.

In Britain, soccer was used, but it was replaced with football. Nevertheless, in America, soccer is still used due to various factors like cultural differences, language variations, and media impact.

The media has a huge influence on how the public perceives a game, by the words used to describe it. In America, where soccer is alongside basketball and football, distinct terms set them apart.

The term ‘soccer’ started in the early twentieth century when universities called it “association football.” But during WWII, anti-British feelings caused many Americans to use ‘soccer’ instead of ‘football.’

It’s strange that despite its Americanism and rejection of Britishness, people worldwide understand what sport ‘soccer’ refers to. This hasn’t stopped its use over time, despite criticisms from traditionalists who think it is an awkward slang expression.

The only time soccer is noticed in America is during World Cup commercials and when parents make their kids play it instead of baseball.

Future of the term in American language and culture

“Soccer” may vanish from America as English becomes more global. That would be like the rest of the world, which calls the sport “football“. But it’s impossible to know what will happen to language.

Soccer” was first used in America so it was different from “American football“. In recent years, people tried to change to “football“, but it hasn’t happened yet. Younger generations learning global English might cause the term to change.

Different places in America have regional variations in the language used for sports. For instance, some areas refer to soccer as “futbol“. If these regional differences spread, it might affect the terminology of the sport.

The Guardian reported that Major League Soccer’s commissioner Don Garber said using “football” instead of “soccer” was a must for MLS to compete with other top football leagues.

Cambridge University believes that by 2045, football will be so popular it will become a common language that brings people together. No matter what happens to “soccer” or “football”, it is clear how important sports can be for connecting people.

Why do Americans call it soccer? – Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do Americans call it soccer?

Answer: The term “soccer” actually originated in England as a slang abbreviation of “association football”, to differentiate it from rugby football. When the sport was introduced to America in the late 1800s, the name “soccer” was already in use and so it stuck.

2. Is soccer the same as football?

Answer: In America, soccer and football are two different sports. Football refers to American football, which is played with an oval-shaped ball and involves a lot of tackling and physical contact. Soccer, on the other hand, involves kicking a round ball and is sometimes called “football” in other countries.

3. Why is soccer not as popular in America as it is in other countries?

Answer: There are many factors that contribute to the popularity of sports in different countries, such as cultural traditions, media coverage, and access to facilities. In America, sports like basketball, football, and baseball have a stronger following, but soccer has been gaining popularity in recent years.

4. What are some famous American soccer players?

Answer: Some of the most famous American soccer players include Mia Hamm, Landon Donovan, Abby Wambach, and Clint Dempsey.

5. How is soccer played?

Answer: Soccer is played with two teams of 11 players on a rectangular field. The objective is to score goals by kicking the ball into the opposing team’s net. Players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms, except for the goalkeeper.

6. What is the World Cup?

Answer: The World Cup is a tournament held every four years where national soccer teams from around the world compete for the title of world champion. It is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and generates a lot of excitement and interest among fans.


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