Differences between Soccer and American Football


It is a well-known fact that football and soccer are the most famous games in the world as well as the most popular. The name “soccer” first appeared in the 19th century, and the first rules for it were drafted at this time. The name “football” was referred to any kind of sports games which were played with foot. As ma result, it was confusing to call American football a game, where only one player was able to use his feet. Although there are many differences between soccer and football, many people are not confident to explain and differentiate them, since much relating to these games is confusing to them. The world’s society is actively engaged in the debates whether football is another name of soccer or these two sports are completely different. Football and soccer have their similarities and differences. This paper will investigate and clarify the main similarities and differences between soccer and American football with the aim of eliminating further misunderstandings.


It is important to mention that soccer is usually called ‘associated football.’ All over the world, soccer is considered to be the same as football, but, for example, in America, the word “football” is associated with American football, which has more similarities with rugby rather than with soccer. In the USA, football is considered to be a game where one uses his/her hands, while soccer is a game where feet are used. However, it sounds different for European people, because they associate the word “football” with the game where feet are engaged.

The type of ball belongs to other more significant differences between these sports. The ball used for football has a prolate spheroid form (like an oval), whereas the soccer ball has a spherical form. Such peculiarity completely changes the way and style of playing the game as well as the physics and trajectory of the ball movement and its contact with the surface.

The uniform of the traditional European football is different from the American. For instance, in football, there is significant protection of players, e.g. a helmet, shoulder pads, and girdle pads. In soccer, on the contrary, there is no need for such protection; the players on the field are moving freely in light T-shirts and shorts. This is a vivid example of a difference between these two great sports. Due to this fact, soccer is more popular all over the world, because it is not necessary to have much equipment to play it – one needs only one spherical ball. Nevertheless, the situation is different with football, because it requires more equipment and protection. Besides, the fact that it can be more harmful prevents young children from playing it.

Another difference lies in rules and goals of the games, which differ significantly. In soccer, the main idea is to kick the ball inside the goal, and only a goalkeeper is allowed to use hands to catch the ball. On the contrary, there are different approaches, tactics, and rules for football: the goal of the football’s offence is to increase the number of touchdowns and the task of the defensive team is to prevent the number of touchdowns from the rival team.

Cheerleaders’ support is another significant trait that distinguishes football from soccer. American football traditionally attracts cheerleaders to support the team and ignite the interest of the crowd. It is like a business card of the team, whereas in European soccer, there are no cheerleaders at all – it is all about sponsorship by famous brands. Greater emphasis is placed on what the players wear and what is placed on huge billboards on stadiums.

Despite the aforementioned differences, there are also similarities between soccer and football. First, both of these games are team sports. Second, both of them are regarded as cults and have great popularity throughout the world. For many people, they have become an integral part of their lifestyle and the way of spending their free and professional time. Besides, both games involve kicking the ball. In order to win, the team of any of these sports games needs to have a higher score. Finally, the main goal of the games is to cooperate with team players in order to obtain higher scores.


In conclusion, American football and soccer have both similarities and differences and thus cannot be confused. Uniform, game rules, size and shape of the ball as well as the size of the fields where the games are played belong to the unique features of each sport. The differences between American football and soccer are significant and they are difficult to confuse. Besides, they cannot be assessed unequivocally: each of these games is unique in its own way. Nonetheless, in my opinion, the most important thing is not the differences but common impressions and feelings that make people united and share values and traditions. In this way, football and soccer have many things in common. The most important is that they unite millions of people together to enjoy an unforgettable performance and feel the spirit of team play.

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