Why is Football Called Soccer in America?

Why is it that the American’s insist in calling football by another name which is soccer? After all it is not just the Brits that call football by its real name, the rest of the world apart from America calls the beautiful game football. In an answer to this conundrum a paper was released by the University of Michigan that partially blames the British for this confusion.

Association Football

The official name of football is Association Football, and two hundred years ago the British people decided to use a slang term (soccer) to differentiate it from Rugby Football. Rugby Football was known as rugger and Association Football was called soccer. The Americans took to the term soccer as they already had American Football. The Brits began to dislike the term soccer and by the 1980’s it had completely disappeared in the UK as it was felt that it was simply too American.

America and Soccer

The Americans staying loyal to their own game retained the term soccer even though they were the only people to actually use it. Some Americans actually thought that American Football was invented first and therefore should be called simply football. The continued use of soccer by the American people has continued to enrage people the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. And as Daniel Gooch explained in the Bleacher Report,

okay, you can call your own sport football, but when referring to the British game of football, do not call it soccer!

Another great example of such great exasperation was from the founder of the Air Navigation Institute, Mr Zimmerman, who wrote an open letter to the American people. In this letter he pointed out that there was no such sport as soccer. He further explained that American Football is incorrectly named as the sport is neither played with the feet or a ball. His suggestion to save confusion from the term football was to rename Grid Iron as American Rugby.

The Different Forms of Football

While it is true that there are many forms of football such as American Football, Australian Rules Football, Gaelic Football, and Rugby Football. The original game of football is Association Football and as such has the right to be called football, and there is no need for a nickname or an alternative.  The Americans have every right to call Association Football soccer or any other name they wish. The fact that the rest of the world calls the game of Association Football, football does not seem to matter at all. America does compete at the very highest level in playing football, their national team regularly attends the Football World Cup and the American players do not call the sport soccer.

However, as a televised sport in America, Association Football is one of the minor sports. This is gradually changing especially in the women’s game which is growing from strength to strength. The MLS is the top male football league in the US, but as it name might suggest it still continues to use the term soccer, Major League Soccer.