What Countries Call Soccer Football?

Wait, Isn’t It the Same Thing? Or Not?

Soccer or football? This age-old debate has caused quite a stir among sports enthusiasts worldwide. While some argue that soccer and football refer to the same sport, others believe they are distinct and should be treated as such. So, what’s the deal here? Let’s dive into the fascinating world of football terminology across different countries and put this debate to rest once and for all.

The Roots of Soccer/Football

Before we embark on our thrilling journey around the globe, let’s take a moment to explore where soccer/football actually originated from. As it turns out, both terms have their roots in Britain during the 19th century. Back then, there wasn’t universal agreement on what to call this popular sport.

However, in 1863, things started falling into place when England established The Football Association (FA) – which eventually led to standardized rules for the game. In an attempt to distinguish between variations like rugby football and association football (the form that later became known simply as “football”), people came up with alternative names—in particular soccer.

So now that we know how it all began let’s travel across continents and find out how different countries refer to this beloved sport.

They Say ‘Soccer’ But Mean ‘Football’!

United States

Let’s start with one of those obvious cases—the United States. Although Americans use the term “soccer” more frequently than any other country due to another sport predominantly called “American football, ” make no mistake; they are referring to none other than association football a. k. a. football, just like everywhere else in the world!

Fun fact: American professional leagues decided on using “soccer” instead of “football” during mid-20th century conventions since gridiron-style games like American football already dominated traditional usage of the word.


Another country that primarily uses “soccer” to describe football is Canada. With hockey being immensely popular in the Great White North, Canadians adopted “soccer” as their go-to term to avoid any confusion with their beloved national winter sport.

Sometimes It’s All About Language


In the land down under, they say ‘football’ only when there’s an oval-shaped ball involved—yes, you guessed it; we’re talking about Australian Rules Football! So what do Australians call association football? They opt for either “soccer” or the affectionate diminutive form – “socceroo”, a reference to the country’s national team nickname.

South Africa

The Rainbow Nation is no exception when it comes to using multiple terms for this beautiful game. While most South Africans refer to association football as either “football” or simply “soccer, ” those who speak Afrikaans might use a different name altogether—voetbal!

Quick tip: Voetbal is derived from Dutch since Afrikaans has its roots in the Netherlands.

Europe: A Multitude of Names!


Ah, home sweet home—the birthplace of modern football. I bet you’re curious what they call it over there nowadays. Well, wonder no more because in England they proudly stick with tradition and exclusively refer to the one true football as football!


Across Hadrian’s Wall lies Scotland, where fierce rivalries and intense matches are part and parcel of their sporting culture. And just like their neighbors in England, Scots embrace their heritage by referring solely to it as football, rather than soccer.

Quote: Scottish people know how to play real footy! – An anonymous die-hard Scottish fan.

Ireland (Republic of)

Now let’s head across the Irish Sea and delve into the beautiful game’s local dialect. In the Republic of Ireland, they typically use either “soccer” or “association football”, especially when they want to be a little more specific. However, with the country’s strong Gaelic football tradition, it is important not to confuse between Gaelic football and association football.


Wales may be known for its stunning landscapes and rich history, but what about their preference in naming this globally adored sport? No prizes for guessing—the Welsh have a clear choice: it’s called football!

Embracing ‘Futbol’ Worldwide


Bienvenidos a España! In this vibrant nation renowned for its flamenco music and mouthwatering tapas, you might expect an exotic twist on naming their favorite sport. Surprisingly though, they stick to the original name with pride—fútbol!

Fun fact: The Spanish word “fútbol” was brought over by British immigrants during its industrialization period.


Bem-vindo ao Brasil! The King of Football has his kingdom here; thus, revealing what Brazilians call this mesmerizing sport should come as no shock – futebol! With countless World Cup victories under their belt and producing legendary players like Pelé and Ronaldo, there’s no denying that futebol runs through Brazil’s veins.


Willkommen in Deutschland! Well-known for their engineering prowess and world-class beer festivals, Germans are equally fond of the beautiful game. Can you guess how they refer to it? You got it—it’s fußball!

Fact: Fußball is derived from concatenating two German words – fuß, meaning foot, and ball, meaning ball (pretty straightforward!).

So there we have it—an intriguing journey around different countries unveiling the various names used interchangeably for soccer/football throughout the globe. Regardless of the terminology, one thing remains constant—this sport’s ability to bring people together, ignite passion, and create unforgettable moments on and off the field.

Conclusion: Names May Differ but Passion Prevails

From soccer to football, futbol to futebol, or even voetbal to fußball—all over the world, this game unites millions of fans who cheer for their favorite teams with unwavering devotion. Despite language barriers and cultural nuances, football transcends borders and proves that true passion knows no boundaries.

So while we may continue discussing which term suits this beautiful game best, let’s also remember what truly matters—the electrifying emotions it stirs within us all. Whether you’re a ‘soccer’ enthusiast or a die-hard ‘football’ fanatic—from Messi’s footwork magic to Zidane’s elegance—let’s revel in our shared love for this universal language called FOOTBALL!

“Football is like life – it requires perseverance,
self-denial, hard work, sacrifice,
dedication and respect for authority. “

Vince Lombardi

1. English Football Association: www. thefa. com
2. World Soccer: www. worldsoccer. com

FAQ: What Countries Call Soccer Football?

Q: Which countries call soccer football?
A: Several countries refer to soccer as football. The most prominent ones include England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, and many others.

Q: Why is it called football in some countries and soccer in others?
A: The term “soccer” originated from the word “association, ” which was used to distinguish it from other variations of football such as rugby or American football. In contrast, the name “football” describes the sport’s primary objective of kicking a ball with one’s foot.

Q: Is it true that only Americans call it soccer?
A: No, calling it soccer is not exclusive to Americans. While the term is more commonly used in the United States to differentiate from American football, other English-speaking nations like Canada and Australia also employ this terminology alongside “football. “

Q: Does every country play what they call football or soccer?
A: Yes, most countries have a version of the sport regardless of what they choose to call it. However, variations may exist in terms of rules or popularity among different nations.

Q: Are there any non-English speaking countries that use both terms interchangeably?
A: Yes! In certain non-English speaking regions where multiple languages are spoken within a country or due to historical influences by English-speaking nations (like former British colonies), people might utilize both terms interchangeably when referring to the sport.

Remember that these answers are general and can vary depending on regional preferences and cultural contexts.