In Australia, “football” can refer to any of several popular codes, including Australian football, the rugby league, the rugby union and association football. As is the case in the United States and Canada, soccer is the more commonly used term for association football. The origin of the word “soccer” lies in England, where it was created by linguistically creative students at Oxford University in the 1880s to distinguish between rugby football and association football. The term “soccer” quickly spread beyond campus and is now used in countries where other major sports called soccer exist.
For example, Canada has its own version of field soccer; Ireland is home to Gaelic football; and Australia is crazy about Australian football (which is derived from rugby). In some countries, the name of the sport may not be clearly one or the other, and in some countries and languages it is evolving. In general, countries that have traditionally called it soccer are starting to call it football more regularly. The United States Football Association, which was formed in the 1910s as the official organizing body of American football, changed its name to the United States Football Association in 1945 and, later, dispensed with “soccer altogether”.
As a result, American football players increasingly adopted soccer to refer to their sport.