Why do some people say soccer and some say football?

The game was actually originally called 'soccer'.

A Matildas player runs as she kicks a ball during a World Cup match.
The British word 'soccer' goes back almost 200 years. Credit: Getty Images (Getty Images)

Many call it football, while others call it soccer. So how did we end up with two names for the game that sees a spherical ball manoeuvred around a field?

‘Soccer’ is a British word that comes from the use of the term ‘association football’ and goes back almost 200 years, according to Business Insider.

In the 1800s, different versions of football-type games were played in Britain with varying rules. To standardise the games across the country, they were then categorised, with one variation called ‘rugby football’ and another referred to as ‘association football,’ according to John M. Cunningham for Britannica.

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'Over time the different sports were given nicknames, with Rugby football being referred to as ‘rugger’, while association football became ‘assoccer’, later shortened even further to ‘soccer'. But by the 20th century association football was simply known as ‘football'.

Lionel Messi runs and kicks a ball against a defender.
A few countries still use the term 'soccer' today. Credit: Getty Images (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Americans chose to refer to 'association football' as 'soccer' and what was called 'gridiron' in Britain became 'football' in America, reports Business Insider.

There are a few countries that still use the term 'soccer', which is usually due to the fact that they have other sports they call football.

For example, in Australia, the term 'football' wasn’t officially used until 2006. Rugby League and AFL are usually referred to as 'football', and while soccer is now officially called football as well, soccer is still a commonly used term. In fact, our national men’s team are called the 'Socceroos'!

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