Sunday, 23 Jun 2024

What do you call this sport? Exploring the Names of the World’s Most Popular Game

Association football, also known as soccer, is the most popular sport in the world. However, the naming of the sport varies across countries and languages. While the official governing body, FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), refers to it as Association football, it is commonly referred to as soccer or football in English-speaking countries. In non-English speaking countries, the word football is often translated or written phonetically, such as “futbol.”

The term Association football originated in the UK to differentiate the game from other versions of football played at the time, like rugby football. From the association part of the name, the word soccer (assoc.) emerged. Interestingly, in the UK, the game is predominantly called football, while in English-speaking countries that were colonized by the British, it is referred to as soccer.

The sport’s name is not limited to just football or soccer. Different countries and languages have their own evolving terms for the game. Traditionally soccer-playing countries are gradually shifting towards calling it football. Multiple names may exist for the sport in countries with multiple spoken languages.

Below is a compilation of the most commonly used names for the sport in various countries, although the lists are not exhaustive. They have been sourced from a variety of platforms, including Wikipedia and visitor feedback. If you have any additional information or corrections, your input would be greatly appreciated.

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Name by Nation

The names for Association Football used around the world have been gathered from various sources, including Wikipedia and Google Translate, as well as visitor feedback.

Name by Language

In this section, you will find the names for Association Football in different languages. The list encompasses 207 languages and the names have been extracted from the respective Wikipedia page for “Association Football” in each language.

Selected Comments

Here are a couple of interesting comments related to the naming of the sport in specific countries:

  • In Namibia, the term “futebol” is not commonly used to refer to football. Instead, the game is referred to as “sokker” or “football” by most people. The term “Fußball” is occasionally used due to the German heritage in the country.
  • In Australia, the sport is commonly referred to as soccer, as the term football is associated with a different sport that the country is well-known for. The oval-shaped ball with laces is known as football in Australia, while the black and white circular ball is called soccer.

To explore further related topics, you can check out the list of national team nicknames, participate in our poll on whether you call the sport football or soccer, learn about sporting team nicknames from around the world, discover more about soccer teams and leagues, explore soccer lists, or delve into sport names in other languages.

In conclusion, the naming of the world’s most popular sport varies across regions and languages. The terms soccer and football are widely used, but there are other names as well. Understanding the diverse names adds to the richness and cultural significance of the game. Whether you refer to it as soccer or football, the passion and excitement for the sport remain universal.

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Q: What is the most popular name for the sport?
A: The most popular name for the sport varies by region and language. In English-speaking countries, it is commonly referred to as soccer or football.

Q: Why is it called Association football?
A: The term Association football originated in the UK to distinguish it from other forms of football, such as rugby football. The word soccer (assoc.) emerged from the association part of the name.

Q: Are there other names for the sport besides football and soccer?
A: Yes, different countries and languages have their own terms for the sport. In some cases, the names are evolving, as countries that traditionally referred to it as soccer are transitioning towards calling it football.


Association Football, also known as soccer, is a globally beloved sport. Its name varies across nations and languages, with some calling it football and others referring to it as soccer. The term Association football originated in the UK to differentiate it from other forms of football. The names for the sport by nation and language have been compiled to showcase the linguistic diversity surrounding the game. Despite the variations in naming, the passion for this sport remains constant. Whether it’s soccer or football, the world is united in its love for this iconic game. So, what do you call it?

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