Soccer vs Football – Difference between Soccer and Football

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Soccer vs Football: The key difference between soccer and American football lies in the usage of a round ball in soccer, whereas American football involves an oval-shaped ball. Football and soccer have passionate fan bases that support and cheer for their favorite teams, creating an energetic and vibrant atmosphere during matches.

Football (American football) and soccer share similarities as team sports with competitive gameplay, strategic elements, and global popularity, despite their distinct rules and gameplay. Here, we will see the differences between Soccer and Football in detail in order to understand the terms better.

Difference between Soccer and Football

One of the main differences between Soccer and football is that primarily foot-based gameplay is allowed in soccer whereas American football incorporates more hand-based actions. Let us see more differences in the table shown below:

Soccer vs Football

Difference between Soccer and Football
Feature Soccer American Football
Ball Roundball Oval-shaped ball
Playing Field Rectangular field Rectangular field with yard lines
Number of Players 11 players per team 11 players per team
Duration Two halves of 45 minutes (plus stoppage time) Four quarters of 15 minutes (plus timeouts)
Gameplay Continuous play with limited stoppages Stop-and-go gameplay with frequent pauses
Use of Hands Generally prohibited except for the goalkeeper Allowed for throwing and catching the ball
Scoring Goal by kicking the ball into the net Touchdowns, field goals, and extra points
Physical Contact Limited physical contact, no tackling Physical tackles and contact allowed
Popular Regions Globally popular Primarily in the United States

Soccer and Football

The terms “soccer” and “football” have different meanings depending on the region. In the United States, soccer and American football are distinct sports with unique rules and gameplay. On the other hand, in the rest of the world, the term “football” refers to what Americans call soccer, tracing its origins back to association football and its standardized rules in 1863.

The use of the term “soccer” in the United States arose to differentiate it from American football. Over time, “soccer” became the prevalent term for association football in the US, while the rest of the world continues to refer to the sport as football.

However, there has been a decline in the use of “soccer” in British publications, with some fans in the UK preferring the term “football” and perceiving “soccer” as an American renaming of their beloved sport. Despite these variations in terminology, the understanding of the sport remains consistent across the globe.


Soccer, also known as football in many parts of the world, is a globally popular team sport played between two teams, each consisting of eleven players. The objective of the game is to score goals by maneuvering a round ball into the opponent’s net using any part of the body except for the hands. Soccer is played on a rectangular field, and the team that scores the most goals within the allotted time wins the match.

Soccer requires teamwork, skillful ball control, precise passing, and strategic positioning. It is widely played at both amateur and professional levels, with numerous international competitions, such as the FIFA World Cup, showcasing the highest level of competition among nations. Soccer enjoys immense popularity, with millions of fans worldwide and a rich history that dates back centuries.

American Football

American football is a widely popular team sport predominantly played in the United States, showcasing intense competition between two teams consisting of eleven players each. The objective is to score points by advancing an oblong-shaped ball into the opposing team’s end zone. This thrilling game combines strategic maneuvers, physicality, and exceptional skills.

American football boasts intricate regulations and diverse player positions, including the quarterback, wide receiver, running back, and lineman, offering a captivating experience for both players and spectators alike. The sport is played at various levels, encompassing amateur, collegiate, and professional leagues such as the renowned National Football League (NFL). With its immense popularity in the United States, American football has garnered global attention, especially during prestigious events like the highly anticipated Super Bowl, drawing millions of viewers worldwide.

History of American Football

The history of American football can be traced back to the late 19th century when American colleges began adapting the rules of rugby and soccer to create their own version of the game. The efforts of key figures like Walter Camp in refining the rules and introducing innovations played a pivotal role in shaping American football into its distinct form.

Professional football gained prominence in the early 20th century, leading to the establishment of the NFL in 1920, which has since become the premier professional football league in the United States. Today, American football holds a significant place in American culture, captivating fans with its unique blend of athleticism, strategy, and excitement, showcased annually in the highly anticipated Super Bowl.

History of Soccer

Originating from ancient ball-kicking games found in diverse cultures, soccer (football) evolved into its modern form during the mid-19th century in England. The standardization of rules occurred in 1863 with the establishment of the Football Association (FA).

Since then, soccer has proliferated globally, captivating millions of fans and securing its position as one of the most popular and widely viewed sports across the world. Explore the rich history of soccer and its global impact here.

Soccer vs Football – Similarities

Although football (American football) and soccer are distinct sports with different rules and gameplay, there are a few similarities between them:

  • Both football and soccer are team sports played between two teams aiming to score points or goals.
  • Both sports involve competitive gameplay with teams vying to outscore their opponents and secure victory.
  • Both football and soccer require athletes to possess physical fitness, agility, coordination, and endurance to perform at their best.
  • Both sports employ strategic elements, with teams utilizing formations, plays, and strategies to gain an advantage over their opponents.
  • While soccer enjoys global popularity, American football has gained significant recognition and a growing fanbase internationally, particularly through events like the Super Bowl.


Soccer vs Football – Key Differences

Hence, we have explained various differences between soccer and football in detail. We found that the terms “soccer” and “football” have different meanings depending on the region, with soccer being the prevailing term worldwide and football referring to American football in the United States. Therefore it becomes clear that both terms may carry the same/different meanings depending on the context and location of usage.

UPSC Notes
Heat Budget of Earth Difference Between BE and BTech
Difference Between Western Coastal Plains and Eastern Coastal Plains Difference Between Rural and Urban
Difference Between Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Difference Between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
Difference Between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles Difference Between City and Village
Difference Between Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sectors Left Wing vs Right Wing
Cabinet and Council of Ministers East Flowing Rivers in India
Our Apps Playstore
SSC and Bank
Other Exams
GradeStack Learning Pvt. Ltd.Windsor IT Park, Tower - A, 2nd Floor, Sector 125, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201303
Home Practice Test Series Premium