Countries That Call It Soccer Vs Football
Football is known as “soccer” primarily in the United States and Canada. This is because these countries have their versions of football – American Football and Canadian Football, respectively. To avoid confusion, what the rest of the world calls “football” is referred to as “soccer” in these countries.
Other countries where the term “soccer” might be used to some extent include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Ireland. However, it’s worth noting that in these countries, the term “football” can also refer to other sports. For instance, in Australia, “football” could mean Australian Rules Football, while in Ireland, it could refer to Gaelic football.
In the vast majority of countries around the world, however, the sport is known as “football”.
Now, what countries call football soccer? Let’s dive in.
What Countries Call Football Soccer?
Here are the top countries where the game ‘football’ is called ‘Soccer’ nationwide-
- United States
- New Zealand
- South Africa
It’s kinda like a unique club, right? Not many members, but they sure stand out!
Top Countries In The World That Call It Soccer vs Football
|Country||FIFA Ranking (2023)||Best Soccer Achievement||Term Used|
|United States||20||Semifinals (1930)||Soccer|
|Australia||34||Round of 16 (2006)||Both (Soccer and Football)|
|Canada||59||World Cup (1986)||Soccer|
|South Africa||63||Round of 16 (2002)||Soccer|
|New Zealand||103||World Cup (1982, 2010)||Both (Soccer and Football)|
|France||2||World Cup Champions (1998, 2018)||Football|
|Brazil||3||World Cup Champions (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)||Football|
|England||4||World Cup Champions (1966)||Football|
|Netherlands||7||Three-time World Cup finalists||Football|
|Italy||8||World Cup Champions (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006)||Both (Calcio and Football)|
|Portugal||9||Euro Champions (2016)||Football|
|Spain||10||World Cup Champions (2010)||Football|
|Mexico||11||Quarterfinals (1970, 1986)||Fútbol|
|Switzerland||13||Quarterfinals (1934, 1938 a 1954)||Football|
|Germany||14||World Cup Champions (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)||Football|
|Uruguay||16||World Cup Champions (1930, 1950)||Football|
|Chile||19||Round of 16 (multiple occasions)||Fútbol|
|Venezuela||25||Copa America finals||Fútbol|
|Poland||26||Semifinals (1974, 1982)||Football|
|Tunisia||26||World Cup Round of 16||Football|
|Japan||28||Round of 16 (2002, 2010, 2018)||Football/Soccer|
|Algeria||30||World Cup Round of 16||Football|
|Nigeria||32||Round of 16 (multiple occasions)||Football|
|Iran||33||World Cup participation||Football|
|Morocco||33||World Cup Round of 16 (1986)||Football|
|Slovakia||36||World Cup Round of 16||Futbal|
|South Korea||39||Semifinals (2002)||Football|
|Norway||42||World Cup Round of 16||Fotball|
|Jamaica||45||World Cup participation (1998)||Football|
|Iceland||46||Round of 16 (2018)||Fótbolti|
|Egypt||49||Seven-time African Cup of Nations winners||Football|
|Costa Rica||50||Quarterfinals (2014)||Fútbol|
|Ecuador||53||Round of 16 (2006)||Fútbol|
|Cameroon||53||World Cup Quarterfinals (1990) and African Cup of Nations winners (multiple occasions)||Football|
|Finland||54||UEFA Euro participation (multiple occasions)||Jalkapallo|
|Mali||56||African Cup of Nations runners-up (multiple occasions)||Football|
|DR Congo||57||African Cup of Nations winners (1968, 1974)||Football|
|Qatar||58||AFC Asian Cup winners||Football|
|Ivory Coast||60||African Cup of Nations winners (1992, 2015)||Football|
|Burkina Faso||60||African Cup of Nations runners-up (2013)||Football|
|Slovenia||62||World Cup Round of 16 (2010)||Nogomet|
|North Macedonia||65||UEFA Euro participation (2020)||Fudbal|
|Honduras||67||World Cup participation||Fútbol|
|Saudi Arabia||67||World Cup Round of 16||Football|
|Iraq||68||AFC Asian Cup winners||Football|
|El Salvador||70||World Cup participation||Fútbol|
|Guinea||72||African Cup of Nations runners-up (1976)||Football|
|UAE||73||AFC Asian Cup runners-up||Football|
|China||77||World Cup participation||Football|
|Panama||78||World Cup participation (2018)||Fútbol|
|Syria||79||AFC Asian Cup participation||Football|
|Oman||80||AFC Asian Cup participation||Football|
|Zambia||80||African Cup of Nations winners (2012)||Football|
|Bolivia||81||Copa America Champions (1963)||Fútbol|
|Uzbekistan||85||AFC Asian Cup semi-finalists||Football|
|Gabon||86||African Cup of Nations quarterfinals (multiple occasions)||Football|
|Benin||88||African Cup of Nations quarterfinals||Football|
|Lebanon||93||AFC Asian Cup participation||Football|
|Vietnam||94||AFC Asian Cup quarterfinals||Football|
|Jordan||95||AFC Asian Cup quarterfinals||Football|
|Luxembourg||98||World Cup qualification (historically)||Fussball|
|Bahrain||99||AFC Asian Cup participation||Football|
|Cyprus||100||UEFA European Championship qualification (historically)||Podosfairo|
|Trinidad and Tobago||103||World Cup participation (2006)||Football|
|India||104||AFC Asian Cup participation||Football|
|Kenya||104||African Cup of Nations participation||Football|
|Mozambique||105||African Cup of Nations quarterfinals||Futebol|
|Faroe Islands||110||World Cup qualification (historically)||Fotboltur|
|Zimbabwe||110||African Cup of Nations participation||Football|
|Thailand||114||AFC Asian Cup semi-finalists||Football|
|Kosovo||115||UEFA Nations League participation||Futboll|
|Namibia||116||African Cup of Nations participation||Football|
|Angola||122||World Cup participation (2006)||Futebol|
|Togo||124||World Cup participation (2006)||Football|
|Guatemala||130||Gold Cup runners-up||Fútbol|
|Rwanda||130||African Cup of Nations participation||Football|
|Suriname||136||CONCACAF Championship participation (1977)||Voetbal|
|Ethiopia||150||African Cup of Nations winners (1962)||Football|
|Malaysia||154||AFF Championship winners||Football|
|Niger||156||African Cup of Nations participation||Football|
|Singapore||157||AFF Championship winners||Football|
|Kuwait||160||AFC Asian Cup winners||Football|
|Indonesia||170||AFF Championship winners (2000, 2002, 2010, 2016)||Sepakbola|
|Liechtenstein||181||World Cup qualification (historically)||Fussball|
|Bangladesh||186||SAFF Championship winners||Football|
|Pakistan||200||SAFF Championship runners-up||Football|
The ranking is based on 2023 FIFA’s latest ranking data. FIFA rankings are always subject to change based on team performances, recent match results, and other factors.
The American Influence on the Soccer vs Football Debate 🏈
You might wonder why the term “football” is used to describe two different sports in the United States: American football and association football, often termed as “soccer”. Let’s delve into the history to understand better.
In the beginning, “football” was predominantly used to refer to what we know today as soccer. This form of football had its roots set in the U.S. before American football took the stage. However, as American football started gaining traction in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it sort of “borrowed” the term “football”.
There are some fascinating reasons behind this:
- Differentiating the Sports: With the rising popularity of American football, a need emerged to tell the two sports apart. Enter “soccer”, a British slang that served the purpose perfectly.
- Avoiding the Mix-up: Words can be tricky, especially when “football” also refers to other sports like rugby football and Aussie rules football. Using “soccer” ensured clarity.
- Side-Stepping British Roots: Even though association football reached the U.S. shores via British immigrants, there was an apparent intent to diminish this British connection by switching up the name.
Now, although “soccer” dominates the conversation when referring to association football in the U.S., there’s still a minority clinging to the original “football” term. It’s a tad controversial if you ask me, and the debate is alive and kicking!
A Glimpse at the Term Usage in the U.S. 📊
|Soccer||Most common term for association football|
|Football||Used by some for association football; Also denotes American football, rugby football, & Aussie rules football|
What’s in a Name? Cultural Ties to “Soccer” ⚽
Here’s a kicker: countries that call it soccer have cultural narratives attached to their choice of terminology. While some might associate the term with British roots, others might have more localized reasons.
What’s Behind “Soccer”
|Cultural factor||Canada||South Africa||Asian countries|
|Canada||British influence, local tastes|
|South Africa||U.S. vibes, homegrown preferences|
|Asian countries||Local love for the game|
Diving deeper, the term “soccer” finds its roots in England, and many ex-British Empire nations, such as Canada, South Africa, and several Asian countries, have adopted it. However, America’s influence stands tall and unique in using “football” for their gridiron sport. Local preferences can also tilt the scale, especially in places with a vibrant soccer culture.
A couple of other game-changers in this naming match are the soccer infrastructure’s level of development in the country and media influence. If a nation’s soccer team nails it in global competitions, chances are “soccer” will score big in popularity.
But hey, languages evolve and cultures mix. There might be countries swaying to the “soccer” rhythm even under strong American vibes. After all, it’s not always black and white in the colorful world of soccer…or should I say football?
🌍 Why is the term “football” more universally accepted?
The term “football” traces its origins to traditional forms of folk football played in England, which were collectively known as “football”. When the sport began to formalize in the late 19th century, “association football” emerged to distinguish it from other forms like rugby football.
Over time, “association” was dropped and the sport became simply “football” in most parts of the world.
👟 What are the origins of the word “soccer”?
“Soccer” is derived from the term “association” in “association football”. It comes from the colloquial use in England where they often added “-er” to abbreviations. This term was popular in Britain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries but waned in favor of “football”.
🤔 Why did Australia and New Zealand adopt both terms?
Australia and New Zealand have strong ties to both British and American cultures. They originally adopted “soccer” due to British influence, but with the emergence of their own versions of football (Rugby and Australian Rules), it became necessary to distinguish between the sports.
Today, both terms are used interchangeably, but context often dictates which is preferred.
🌐 How does the global community view the “soccer vs football” debate?
For many purists and fans around the world, “football” is the accepted term. However, they also recognize the cultural reasons behind the term “soccer” in countries like the U.S. and Canada. Generally, while there may be playful banter around the topic, there’s a broad understanding of the historical and cultural reasons for the differences.
⚽ Are there other sports with similar naming confusions?
Yes, many sports have different names across cultures. For instance, what Americans call “field hockey” is simply “hockey” elsewhere, while “hockey” in the U.S. usually refers to ice hockey. Additionally, “table tennis” and “ping pong” refer to the same sport but have different connotations based on competitive play versus recreational play.
🏆 How do international tournaments address the term?
In official settings like the FIFA World Cup, the term “football” is predominantly used, given FIFA stands for “Fédération Internationale de Football Association”. However, in countries like the U.S., media might still use “soccer” for local audiences.
📺 How has media influenced the terminology?
Media plays a significant role in popularizing terms. In countries like the U.S., broadcasters and advertisers use “soccer” to avoid confusion with American football. The global nature of modern media, though, means that many Americans are also exposed to the term “football” through international broadcasts.
💬 Are there other English words that have different meanings in different countries?
Absolutely. English as a language has evolved differently in various regions. For instance, in the UK, the back of a car is the “boot” while in the U.S., it’s the “trunk”. Similarly, “chips” in the UK are “fries” in the U.S., while “chips” in the U.S. are “crisps” in the UK.
⚖️ Is one term more “correct” than the other?
Neither term is more “correct” than the other. Both “soccer” and “football” have valid historical and cultural origins. The usage simply depends on regional preferences and cultural influences.
🎓 Are there academic or official guidelines on which term to use?
While there’s no global standard, institutions might have their own guidelines. For example, an American school might use “soccer” in its curriculum, while a British school would use “football”. In international or multicultural settings, the context often determines the preferred term.
📈 Has the popularity of either term changed over time?
Yes, the popularity of terms often evolves. “Soccer” was once a popular term in Britain but is now less common. With globalization and the spread of media, there’s greater exposure to both terms, but regional preferences still dominate.
🤝 Do players have a preference for either term?
Players usually use the term that’s popular in their home country. However, those who play in international leagues adapt to the local terminology. For instance, a British player in Major League Soccer (MLS) would likely refer to the sport as “soccer” in interviews.
📜 What’s the oldest football or soccer club in the world?
Sheffield Football Club, founded in 1857 in England, is recognized by both FIFA and The Football Association as the world’s oldest football club still in existence.
💰 How much is the global football/soccer industry worth?
The global football industry is a multi-billion-dollar sector. As of the last estimates before 2021, FIFA’s revenue for the 2018 World Cup alone was around $6.1 billion. European football, with leagues like the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Bundesliga, contributes billions more in revenues from broadcasting rights, merchandise, ticket sales, and sponsorships.
🎉 How is the World Cup’s impact measured in countries where football/soccer is less popular?
The FIFA World Cup is the most-watched sporting event globally. Even in countries where football isn’t the dominant sport, there’s a noticeable spike in interest during the World Cup. This is measured in terms of TV ratings, merchandise sales, and online engagements.
Moreover, hosting the World Cup can have a transformative effect on a nation’s relationship with the sport, as seen in the U.S. after hosting the 1994 World Cup.