Soccer Is Called Football in What Countries?

While the United States and some other countries refer to the sport as soccer, it is called football in most of the world, including all of Central and South America, the Middle East and most of Europe, Africa and Asia. Although football and soccer are the two most common terms, some countries call it something else entirely, such as Italy, which refers to it as calcio, meaning to kick.

The countries that refer to the sport as soccer, or some translation of this word, include Canada, Ireland, North Ireland, South Africa, Lesotho, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. Some of the other ways the sport is referred to around the world include “bola sepak” in Indonesia, “ball-pwe” in Burma and “bóng đá” in Vietnam.

Many of the countries that call the sport soccer do so because they already have a sport known as football, such as the United States and Australia. While many people think that Americans came up with the term soccer, it originated in England in the late 1800s and referred to a person that played Association Football. The term was used to clear up confusion between soccer and rugby, which was also referred to as football at the time, so those who played association football played “soccer”, while those played rugby played “rugger”.