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Okay, let's start with defining what we mean by the

terms soccer' and football'. Soccer is fairly


straightforward as it is the sport of Association Football.
Soccer is known, however, throughout most of the world
simply as football. For the purposes of this article,
however, we will use the term soccer to differentiate it
from its American cousin, American Football.
In fact, if we're to use family terminology to describe the
relationship between soccer and American football, then
grandfather/grandchild would be more appropriate. The
sport that was to become soccer was born' in 1848,
which is when the first formal set of rules were drawn
up. A breakaway group then created a separate sport
(where handling the ball was allowed) and this would
become known as rugby. In turn, rugby would cross the
Atlantic and spawn the creation of the sport of Gridiron
or American football.
The most obvious difference that a sports fan will discern
between soccer and American football is that soccer is
played mainly by kicking the ball and it is only the
goalkeeper who can handle the ball. American football, in
contrast, is played by throwing the ball.
Here, though, is a list of the main differences (and
similarities) between the two sports:
Soccer balls are round. American football uses an oval-
shaped ball
Soccer is played by kicking the ball whereas American
football involves throwing the ball
A goal is scored in soccer by putting the ball into a net
that is made up of two posts and a crossbar
A touch down is scored in American football by touching
the ball down over a touch-line.
Both soccer and American football have eleven players
per side.
Soccer is played over 90 minutes and is split into two
halves
American football is played over just 60 minutes that are
split into four quarters.
Time outs are allowed in American football but not in
soccer
Soccer matches can end in a draw/tie. However, in some
cup competitions, 30 minutes of extra time are played to
try to determine a winner and a penalty shoot-out may
result if teams still can't be separated.
American football matches are decided by 15 minutes
overtime if they are tied after normal time.
American footballers wear extensive body armour. Soccer
players don't although they must wear shin pads.
Pre-planned moves are more prevalent in American
football than in soccer.
Soccer matches are usually played on grass pitches
although occasionally they are played on artificial pitches.
In contrast, American football matches tend to be played
on artificial pitches.
There is also a big difference in terms of international
popularity and distribution. Soccer is the dominant team
sport across South America, Africa, Europe, and large
tracts of Asia. American football is dominant in North
America. One of the reasons why soccer is more popular
in world terms is that it is played competitively at
international level. There is a World Cup which takes
place every four years and that has played a huge role in
spreading the soccer gospel. American Football has its
World Series but it's a misnomer as it just involves North
American club teams.
Another reason why soccer is so prevalent across the
globe is that you don't need much equipment to play it. As
long as you have a ball, then you can use jumpers for
goalposts and play. American football is more physical
and therefore protective equipment is required which
makes it less suited for young children and less accessible
to people in poorer countries.
Soccer is principally a sport that is dominated at
professional level by men. However, female professional
leagues have started to appear. As far as I'm aware,
American football has not obtained the same level of
participation from women.
Hopefully this article has demonstrated that the sports of
soccer and American football are worlds apart. Indeed,
American football is much more akin to the sports of
Rugby Union or Rugby League, which is not surprising
since it was from that branch of football' that American
football evolved from.