What is Soccer Called in England ? What is “Football” Called in England? [British Sport Names Explained]

What is soccer called in england ? Soccer is the name given to a sport in the United States, which bares a completely different name in many parts of the world.

Whereas football in the United States refers to a sport that mostly requires players to hold a ball in their hand while running, soccer is called football in England.

There have been different accounts of the origin of the word ‘soccer’.

Even though soccer is now used in the US, it was reportedly imported from England.

Some reports state that the word ‘soccer’ originated in England in the 19th century as a way of differentiating between the different versions of the sport which did not have a universal set of rules.

Subsequently, aristocratic boys reportedly shortened the terms ‘rugger’ and ‘soccer’ to differentiate between Rugby Football and Association Football.

One letter that is often cited in this account is a letter to The New York Times, published in 1905, which reads: “It was a fad at Oxford and Cambridge to use “er” at the end of many words, such as foot-er, sport-er, and as Association did not take an “er” easily, it was, and is, sometimes spoken of as Soccer.”

England reportedly used the word ‘soccer’ in the first half of the 20th century.

what is soccer called in england

Football or soccer – which is right?

Technically, the words football and soccer are both correct. They describe the same sport which was codified by the Football Association in 1863 and the words can be considered synonyms.

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The word ‘soccer’ is actually a British export, which was used for many years before the globalisation of football.

However, despite this fact, many English fans completely reject the term ‘soccer’ and insist that the game should simply be called ‘football’, while the reverse is true for many American fans.

Indeed, the linguistic divergence was the subject of a light-hearted commercial for the 2022 World Cup featuring David Beckham and Peyton Maning, with USMNT fans singing “It’s Called Soccer” at the tournament too.

What is the meaning of the word soccer?

Throughout the 1800s, the game that would eventually evolve to into modern-day ‘football’ had many different variations.

  • Around 1863, when the Football Association was first established, their official variant became ‘association football’.
  • A similar version of the same sport, ‘Rugby football’, was shortened to ‘rugby’ around this time.
  • Meanwhile, ‘Association football’ was shortened to ‘soccer’ to further distinguish itself as a stand-alone sport.
  • The term also comes from a slang abbreviation of the word ‘association’, which was adapted to: ‘assoc,’ ‘assoccer’ and then ‘soccer’

When did the word ‘soccer’ die out in the UK?

‘Soccer’ was used regularly by fans in the United Kingdom for large chunk of the 20th century. It was a phrase that was used interchangeably alongside ‘football’ and there was no great debate over which one was ‘correct’.

By the 1980s, the use of the word ‘soccer’ had declined massively in publications and wider culture.

Which other nations say ‘soccer’?

The word ‘soccer’ is common in the U.S. and in the following countries:

  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Ireland
  • South Africa
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Generally, the term is used where there is another more popular national sport which shares the name ‘football’.

What Do They Call Football in England?

In England, they refer to football as “American football.” This is to distinguish it from the sport of soccer, which the English refer simply as “football.” At one point in time, the word “soccer” was quite prevalent in England but for many reasons, this term lost favor to “football.”

Soccer as we know has its origins in several parts of the world but is mainly based in Europe. England is known as the “home of football”.

This is because the Laws of the Game were first codified and adopted in December 1863 by the English Football Association. This historical moment was the result of various forms of soccer being played across the country – the meeting was to eliminate tactics like “hacking” and other rugby-like tactics (not dissimilar to football in the good ol’ USA).

What Do British People Call Football?

Like the English, all in the British Isles refer to football as “American football.” This is because soccer is much more popular in Great Britain than football. And while “soccer” is a British term, its use has waned over the mid to late 20th century. Instead, British people call soccer “football”. However, in Ireland and Northern Ireland it can often be referred to as “soccer” to distinguish it from Gaelic football.

what is soccer called in england

Football: Soccer vs American Football

Soccer and American football are seemingly unrelated sports but they are tied together in many ways. British people call football “American football.” From an English perspective, Americans refer to their “football” as “soccer.”

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Since its inception in 1920, the National Football League has seen a gradual and then meteoric rise to become America’s favourite pastime. Today, millions crowd into arenas, sports bars, and living rooms to tune into games on Sunday, Monday Night Football, and just about any time a game is on.

American football has also become increasingly popular in other parts of the world with new iterations and rules. Even in the land of football scepticism that is England, regular season NFL games are played every year in London at venues like Wembley Stadium.

Despite this, the British have maintained a somewhat xenophobic attitude towards American football. At the heart of the debate for many Brits, is the fact that Americans continue to name “football” a sport they see as “hand egg”.

Ignoring the fact that soccer is a word that originated in England (“soc” is short for association), British people are perplexed that a newer sport could loot the term “football” from the world’s most beloved and beautiful game.

From the American perspective, football is a more exciting and much bigger spectacle than soccer. In fact, when it comes to TV ratings in the US, soccer is still well below baseball, basketball, and football.

This may change in the future. Soccer is rising in popularity in North America due to the growing success of the MLS and both the Women’s and Men’s US National Teams. Only time will tell if soccer will ever contend with football as America’s top sport.

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