What is called football in most of countries, called soccer in US. However, there are some inconsistent usage of these terms. For example, in Australia, they have Football Federation Australia (FFA) while they call the national team socceroos.

My main question is what's origin of soccer? and the secondary one is why it's used instead of football? (I'm aware of American Football, too).

  • I'm sure this question has been asked, did you look in the archives?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 7:08
  • Apparently not, the closest one I found was: “Football” and “Soccer”
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 7:17
  • "soccer" is an alternative term in British English and was certainly used when I was growing up. Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


Soccer, is an abbreviation of Association (of Football). U.S. Football later evolved from it with different rules:


  • 1889, socca, later socker (1891), soccer (1895), originally university slang (with jocular formation -er (3)), from a shortened form of Assoc., abbreviation of association in Football Association (as opposed to Rugby football); compare rugger. An unusual method of formation, but those who did it perhaps shied away from making a name out of the first three letters of Assoc.


  • Rules of the game first regularized at Cambridge, 1848; soccer (q.v.) split off in 1863. The U.S. style (known to some in England as "stop-start rugby with padding") evolved gradually 19c.; the first true collegiate game is considered to have been played Nov. 6, 1869, between Princeton and Rutgers, at Rutgers, but the rules there were more like soccer. *A rematch at Princeton Nov. 13, with the home team's rules, was true U.S. football. Both were described as foot-ball at Princeton.+



The English organization responsible for the sport is called the Football Association, so the sport became known as Association football, which may be abbreviated "Assoc. football." Footballer would be a good term for somebody playing the game, except for the confusion with players of American football. "Assoc + er" makes the distinction clear. It's a short step to dropping the initial "A" that sounds like an article.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.