Key Differences Between American Football and Soccer

Key Differences Between American Football and Soccer
Key Differences Between American Football and Soccer

Depending on where in the world a person might be, the word ‘football’ can mean two very different sports.

Of course, in America, football is immediately associated with what is known as American Football and the sport that features huge historic franchises such as the New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers and “America’s Team” the Dallas Cowboys, whilst football in almost every other part of the world is the sport that has a literal translation of being a sport that is played with a ball that is largely kicked by a person’s foot.

Naturally, there are a number of different football clubs from across the world that have a huge reputation and a brand image, with English clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea carrying a huge presence, as do other clubs from around Europe.

Nonetheless, both sports are incredibly popular all around the world, with betting on football one of the most popular betting markets across the globe, although this might just be down to the global appeal the sport continues to provide and its continued emergence and growth in locations such as the US where it did not initially have great appeal.

Origin of Soccer

Despite the fact that over 90% of the world’s population know the sport that is played by 22 players in the middle of the field that is shaped in a rectangular form as ‘football’, it was once known as ‘Association Football’ back in 1863 when the English Football Association gave the game its first rules.

It was given the name of Association Football to avoid confusion from other sports carrying the football title, such as Rugby Football (Rugby now), and required a new name in the United States, hence where Soccer comes in.

A Number of Key Differences

As mentioned, it would be incredibly hard to mix up American Football and Football – which is also known as Soccer out in the United States of America – as the games are played entirely differently, with a real contrast in almost everything about the two games.

In fact, it could be argued that the only similarities of the two sports are the fact that they are both played as a team, a ball is used and the ultimate aim is to score the highest number of points/goals (although, that terminology would suggest there is a difference there, as well).

However, the similarities almost immediately end there when the two highly competitive sports are compared.

American Football

One of the main differences that many will notice if they did not know too much about American Football but more about Soccer is the fact that the ball is a different shape and that it is rarely kicked, in comparison to the other sport.

The ball is typically in the hands of a quarterback once it has been snapped and they will then either throw it to someone to try and move the chains 10 yards within four attempts, or they will hand it to a running back who will then look to carry the ball and run as far as they possibly can without losing the ball or being tackled and put on the ground.

Something else that will be noticeable in American Football and not Soccer is the fact that a lot of protective equipment is used, as players can be hard-hitting when making tackles compared to what they would be allowed to do when playing the other version of football. In fact, the sport could actually be very close to rugby when it comes to comparing sports.


Unlike American Football, Football will see the ball be played with a player’s foot for the vast majority of the game, with only goalkeepers allowed to use their hands and those individuals who are putting the ball back in play via a throw-in.

The actual ball is spherical as well, thus making it easier to kick along the floor and also direct with real power. Indeed, American Football has specialized players when it comes down to kicking the oval-shaped ball that they use as it is not the easiest of skills to have or be able to utilize.

Other differences include the amount of protection equipment worn, with football players only being required to wear shin pads and not protective gear such as pads and helmets, whilst those that compete would arguably be leaner and perhaps a little more fitter as they will be required to run around a lot more than their American Football counterparts, who can range from incredibly muscular and huge guys to smaller men with pace or ball skills such as throwing or catching.

Staff Writer
Author: Staff Writer