What is called football by most of the rest of the world, including UK English speakers, is known as soccer or European football in the USA and Canada.
One of the best-known differences between British and American English is the fact that the sport known as football in Great Britain is usually called soccer in the United States. Because the sport originated in England, it is often assumed that soccer is an Americanism. In fact, the word is thoroughly British in origin.
England and Soccer. Former English colonies like Ireland, Australia, South Africa, and others call the UK’s football soccer instead. The reason is that the term soccer was actually more popular than football before the 70s in England. The switch to football became acceptable as football was viewed as an American term that was frowned upon. Former English colonies also happen to have their own version of football, which differs from the US and UK’s version.
The word “soccer,” which is believed to have originated in Britain some 200 years ago, comes from the official name of the sport, “association football.”. As other versions of the game evolved to include Rugby Football, it is believed the Brits adopted colloquialisms to distinguish each game.
It's confusing that some countries call this sport "football" while Americans and a few other countries say "soccer," but apparently the British are mostly to blame. Football is one of 10 other ...
According to a paper published in May by the University of Michigan and written by the sport economist Stefan Szymanski, "soccer" is a not a semantically bizarre American invention but a British import. Soccer comes from "association football" and the term was used in the UK to distinguish it from rugby football.
Many in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland call association football soccer, likely as a way to distinguish it from Australian rules football and Gaelic football, which are commonly referred to just as football in those places—just as Americans call American football simply football. So, the next time a British person thumbs their nose at you for calling football soccer, you can let them know that soccer was a UK original! And, if you’re having trouble keeping all these names straight ...
So it’s kind of funny, and maybe even ironic, that nowadays the word “soccer” is used in the United States, but not in the United Kingdom where the game is simply called “football”. This British word was brought to America by the Americans and, as the sport became more popular and more popular, it stuck.