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Football Vs. Soccer: What You Absolutely Need to Know

Football Vs. Soccer
More often than not, people confuse the game of football with soccer. The football vs. soccer article below will enlist the differences between the two.
Arjun Kulkarni
Last Updated: Mar 13, 2018
The debate between football and soccer has existed ever since Americans started calling the game in which the feet rarely ever touch the ball, 'football', and came up with a completely different word for the game which is called 'football' everywhere else. The difference between both the games is highlighted in the article below. For the sake of avoiding overall confusion, the word 'football' here will refer to American football, the game which predominantly involves handling the ball, and 'soccer' will refer to the game where the ball is touched by foot, or Association football as it is also known as.
  • It is the older game between the two.
  • Although no one knows who invented soccer, the formal rules as they are followed today, the current framework of the game was given in the mid-1800s. The Football Association was established in England, and the popularity of the game has spread ever since.
  • The game has been exported to several countries, and almost every country in the world plays the 'beautiful game'. In fact, with a fan base of more than 3.5+ billion people worldwide, it is the number one sport in the world. As the rules are set by the Football Association, Americans refer to this game as 'association football', shortened later to become 'soccer'.
  • The game is played predominantly with the feet. Only the goalkeeper is allowed to use his hands to touch or hold the ball, and that too within a certain part of the pitch (the D near the goal).
  • The game goes on for 2 halves of 45 minutes each, plus, there is time added on at the end of each half for stoppages in play.
  • The objective of both teams is to defend their goal and attack the goal of the opposition.
  • At the end of playing time, the team which scores more goals wins. Each goal counts as 1, and needs to be kicked into the net.
American Football
  • American football, on the other hand, is a game which is a mixture of rugby and soccer.
  • As the legend goes, some kid at university clearly thought that playing the ball with the feet was too boring, and thought it would be a good idea to pick up the ball in his hands and run unchallenged instead. The story may or may not be true, but the Rugby Union football was born.
  • This game is played with 11 players in each team. The official duration of the game is 4 quarters of 15 minutes each.
  • American football is a more physical sort of game, and hence, more protective gear needs to be worn by the player for protection.
  • Points can be scored in 3 ways - to begin with, the touchdown, which occurs when a player completes an offense by running into the goalposts carrying the ball. One touchdown is worth 6 points.
  • Next, a field goal, one of the very few instances where the ball touches the feet. When the ball is kicked over the crossbar and through the posts, it is called a field goal, and is worth 3 points.
  • The third way to score points is called the safety. The safety is actually points scored by the defense during the opposition's offense. If an offensive player is successfully tackled, and goes out-of-bounds, or drops the ball in his end zone, the defending team scores 2 points.
As we can see, at the end of this debate, both games are exciting to watch and play. American football, obviously is very popular in North America. Rugby is played a lot in countries like England, France, New Zealand, Australia, etc. Soccer, on the other hand, is the most popular sport around the world.