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Why did people start referring to it as soccer instead of football in America?

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    For the majority of the world, football is king. Yet, when Americans talk about the sport, it’s referred to as “soccer”. It’s one of the great differences between America and the rest of the world, but the reason why this is the case came about in quite a unique way.

    Where the majority of the world thinks “soccer” is an American-created term, it actually came from the birthplace of the sport itself: England! Way back in the 1863, approximately when the modern game was invented, England formed the Football Association to create a set of rules for the game. At around the same time, rugby football was also coming into prominence and its rules differed greatly from its counterpart.

    So, to differentiate the two, the game played under Football Association rules came to be known as association football. Not the most creative name, but it stuck! According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, the term “soccer” originated from a group of students at the University of Oxford who coined nicknames for the two sports: rugby became “rugger” and association football became “assoccer.” From there, the term was shortened to become “soccer” and became a nickname for the sport in England, but not what it was officially called.

    In America, however, gridiron football became the popular sport in the 19th century, which had its roots in rugby and association football. When “football” became the official term for the sport, American association football players began calling their sport “soccer” instead.

    Hilariously, while America is often picked on by other countries for its use of the word, Australia’s men’s national soccer team is nicknamed the Socceroos!

    And don’t worry America, you aren’t alone in calling it “soccer”, as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa all call it that as well.


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