Why Is Football Called Football? (Soccer’s Role Explained)
As a person who has spent a lot of time in Europe, I find it hilarious that soccer is called football practically everywhere but in the United States, where football is known as American football to the rest of the world.
I have often wondered why this is, and so have many members of my family, friends, and community. As I realized the answer wouldn’t materialize before me, I started researching, and my findings were quite interesting. So why is football called football?
It’s speculated that football is called football because the ball is kicked with the foot; hence, football. Another theory is that football derives from European sports, soccer, and rugby, which were also played with feet. Yet, it isn’t definitively certain which reason is truly responsible for the name football.
However, the most common and believed theory combines all of them. American football is traced back to Europe and its cousin sports, soccer or football, the world’s most popular sport, and rugby.
Both soccer and rugby were originally kicking games, and soccer still is. However, rugby changed in 1823 when player William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran across the goal line instead of kicking it. At the time, this was odd as it wasn’t part of the game, yet people found interest in it, and the metamorphosis of rugby football began. Later, the name was changed to just rugby.
Now, you might ask yourself, how does all of this relate to the football we know in the United States today?
Well, when soccer and rugby found their way to the United States around the 1850s, a combination of both sports was created, which is the football we know today in America. Globally, American football.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the original name of football. Or has it always been the same?
Related: Why Is American Football So Popular?
What Was Football Originally Called?
One of the biggest questions I hear and see considering the name football is whether it was originally called such or something entirely different.
American football was originally called gridiron, but it became football when it reached the United States. When traced back even further, football was first called association football, which is the original name of soccer. They have the same original name because football derives from soccer.
It depends on whether you want to include association football as the original name for American football. It is a name so early that American football wasn’t even formally invented yet.
Gridiron is a more common term for the original name for football because the sport was already very similar to the football we know today.
In the end, the first original name historically is association football, yet gridiron is a world where football was more recognizable.
Speaking of football and its names, let’s find out whether there are more?
What Is Another Name for Football?
Thus far, the words football, American football, association football, and gridiron have popped up. However, as there are many official and slang terms for other sports, there must be more for football.
That’s correct. Below you can find other names for football;
- American football
- Association football
- Canadian football
- Gridiron football
- Gridiron pasttime
- Grid game
- The pigskin sport
The first ones are the more formal and known names for football, but some unusual and funny names are also found. For example, the pigskin sport is my favorite as it’s just hilarious.
The name pigskin sport comes from the ball made from leather. However, the ball doesen’t and never has been made of pigskin or any other part of a pig.
Why Do Some People Call Football ”Soccer”?
At this point, it should be clear why football is called football, what are the name’s origins, and what other names the sport has. However, the similarities between football or American football and soccer or football globally need to be unveiled. Why do some people call football “soccer”?
The globally known sport football is called soccer in the United States and certain other countries because American football is simply called football. That’s why football is called American football or gridiron in most countries, where soccer holds the name football.
The United States isn’t the only place where association football, meaning soccer, is called such. Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and many other countries call association football soccer or something else. In fact, you can see a football vs. soccer pronouncing map from Businessinsider!
At this point, it might be unclear why soccer is called that in the first place. Well, there is a reasonable answer to that.
Soccer was originally called association football. However, the word is quite long, so newspapers at the time wanted a shorter term for it and started to call it assoc from the word association soccer, which was later turned into soc, hence, soccer.
When you think about the origins of names that turn out to be completely different from what they used to be, it makes you think about the size of our earth. It’s a miraculous place!
My Favorite Football Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value you can implement in your life. Finally, below you can find my favorite football equipment that I think would serve you well on the field!
- Football: I like to get quality things at once, so I don’t need to replace everything after a short while. And for that reason, Wilson “The Duke” Football is the only choice for that. You can get this authentic NFL football as an official game ball or a cheaper metallic edition version. Whichever you might choose, The Duke is the only official football in the league’s history, making it the best choice.
- Cleats: Cleats play an important role in football as they are the traction between you and the field. There is no better than the Nike Vapor Edge Pro 360, and for a good reason. The cleats feature a lightweight, short upper, supporting lacing system and a wide stud layout for fast speed and reliable traction. Oh, and all the various designs are beyond stunning!
- Gloves: No matter whether you throw or receive the ball, you can say goodbye to your performance if you don’t have proper gloves. Enter Seibetron Receiver Gloves equipped with various benefits, such as excellent grip on the fingers and palms, great durability, and a green light for machine washing!
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.