Why Do Americans Call Football a ‘Soccer’?

PIN man playing american football

It is insisted that calling football, the most popular sport in the world ‘soccer’ is seen as American ignorance. The reason for Americans calling it ‘soccer’ and claiming it there has to do a lot with British history.

It was a British invention which they stopped using themselves only before a little while. The word came from the concept of ‘association football’ in Britain that dates back to almost 200 years.

Origin of the soccer naming

The word ‘soccer’ finds its roots at one of the Rugby School in Warwickshire, England. The ‘association football’ was shortened to ‘assoc’ and finally ended up being ‘soc’ with an -er added to it. This is how the word ‘soccer’ was born.

The point of originating this term was to distinguish the game from other forms of football. Soccer is popular in the Commonwealth countries too like Canada, Australia as well as South Africa.

‘Soccer’ is among a host of other words that has a British origin but finds its way in the fabric of Americanism.

While rugby was shortened to ‘rugger,’ ‘association football’ found the name of soccer. The colloquialism ‘soccer’ spread in the States in the first twentieth century to mark it separately from American Football.

Other Names For Football

There are different names of football that are used across the globe. These are listed below:

  • Association Football
  • American football
  • Grid Game
  • Canadian Football
  • Rugby
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Gridiron past-time
  • The Pig Skin sport

When Did Soccer Become An ‘Americanism’?

The Britishers disdain “Americanism” as a tradition stolen from the Britishers’ language and culture. The passion for any language in terms of sport becomes a political concept. British and American changes are marked specifically when we prefer football as soccer, soccer becomes a game, and football becomes a match. The former uses kits, and the latter, uniforms, league standings, and league tables. It doesn’t mean that soccer is not understood by the people in the States, similarly to football understood by the rest of the world. All the game’s nuances are equally precise in the subtle ‘Americanism’ as to the rest of the world. Condescension about language is just part of that larger condescension, and at the heart of all that is fear.

Americanism found its way in this differentiation between soccer and football only when they wished to distinguish the vocabulary and other minuscule differences regional to the American culture. For the people to be able to better attach themselves to the game and the rules, football became soccer and was blend into the American version of the game.

Although the English people spread their language after conquesting half of the world, only the States transformed the language into a global one. All could understand this as it became more relatable and multi-cultural. Soccer, thus appealing to a wider audience in America. When it comes to soccer, the fear is that American (and Chinese) money will eventually swamp the game’s historical, European roots. It seems a long way off.


Find more posts on my blog:

  1. How to Thrive as an Underdog in Football
  2. How Has the Internet Changed to Being A Football Fan?