Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich in UEFA’s final. This match will culminate UEFA bringing the best of the best of soccer together to compete, but the big question still remains; who owns the name soccer / football, who owns the game.

The game is comprised of eleven players on one team and eleven players on the other team. Whoever has the ball is on the offense, the opposition team is on the defense. The offensive team is trying to score; the defensive team is trying to prevent the offensive team from scoring while also attempting to gain control of the ball, as part of their defensive strategy. When one team scores, the other team can gain possession of the ball.

The game is physical and requires quickness, agility, great footwork, strength and power. The game is played with referees in outdoor stadiums. What is the name of this game? If your answer is Soccer, you are correct. Did you answer football? You are correct. How about calling the game, Association football /soccer or NFL Football, you are again correct. How can each of these answers be correct? Who owns the name?

Soccer has all of the components listed above, but Association football play their game different from the football that is played in Pop Warner, high school, college and the NFL ranks. It is all called football! There is football, soccer and football. How did this happen?

One football game utilizes a rectangular outdoor field with a grass surface that has a goal in the middle of each end line. The design of the game is for each team to use their feet, kicking the ball, (no hands), to try to execute the ball past the opposition team’s defense to score a goal by driving the ball, with the head or feet, past the goalie into the other team’s net. The team with the most goals at the end of the contest wins the game. Kicking the ball with the foot primarily should easily give the victory of the name and the game of football to soccer only, for some reason it does not.

The other football game is called American football. American football has the same generic components as Association football or soccer, but the how to play and scoring of the game is different. The advancing of the American football when trying to score is done primarily by running with the ball in your hands over the opposition’s goal line or catching a ball thrown by a team’s quarterback to a receiver over the opponents goal line for a six point score. Why am I telling you soccer /football and American football fans about the game you love and know quite well?

Inquiring minds would like to know why did America’s football pioneers think to call a run and throw game football when football /soccer already existed almost a century earlier? Oh that’s right; I forgot the American football players do kick the ball when attempting field goals. An American football team can score one point by kicking the football through the goal uprights after they have scored a touchdown.

A team can also score three points by kicking a field goal for three points, if the team with the football does not think they can make a touchdown for six points on their fourth down. The all important punt can not be forgotten; it is where a team will have a player kick the ball away from their touchdown line, on their last down of play so that the opposition will have to start further away from the kicking team’s goal line.

In soccer /football the ball is kicked continuously hundreds to thousands of kicks a game. In American football the ball is kicked at most fifteen maybe twenty times a game. Why not name it Run Ball or Catch ball, not football. On the matter of the name and game of football, “Why do we have two of the most popular sports in the world called football?”

It is documented that there are several sports named football: each with various levels of kicking a ball. Association football is the most well-known and highly regarded worldwide and is generally called football. In England you may hear football called soccer on occasion. In Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States soccer is the name of choice used to describe their brand of Association football. All these countries have another form of football to protect like Rugby or American football, so it makes sense to choose soccer as the name to call the kicking game of Association football.

Football has a history. In the search of the origin of a subject… answers are found. Association football or soccer, Australian Rules football, international rules football, rugby union, rugby league and American football are all in the same family!  Their history begins in the 1800’s where the origin of Association football began in the United Kingdom. The British Empire helped spread the game worldwide.

The game of football through a coding system of the game along with rule changes, family break-offs forced the game to evolve into rugby and new versions of soccer/football. These games were started in different countries with each branch of the tree never forgetting their roots. 

American football can be traced back to some earlier types of rugby football and a brand of Canadian football. American football was historically connected to Association football until Walter Camp, dubbed the “Father of Football” developed new strategy for the game. He introduced the line of scrimmage, distant and down rules. In the 19th and early 20th century college coaches, Eddie Cochems, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Knute Rockne and Glenn “Pop” Warner helped to enhance Walter Camp’s contribution by taking advantage of the use of the forward pass.

Association football /soccer, American Football and Rugby all want to keep a kicking foot in the family. No one wants to give up the name. Association football, or soccer, will stay with the same name and game, while its cousin American football will keep playing its brand of football while pushing its connection through the name of football. Rugby plays their game with strategy and rules that has historical connections to Association football /soccer and American football. Rugby wants everyone to know, “we are in the family too”, every time the player’s lace up to play.

Soccer, as we know it today is the number one sport in the world. The most recent World Cup final generated over a half a billion television viewers globally.  The  NFL’s Super Bowl championship football game is televised to hundreds of countries and millions of people worldwide and played by millions of players at every level.

Football /soccer, football, rugby, when you say the word football make sue you know to whom you are speaking and to what game you are talking about. Whatever the game the fans love the name of football. I guess it’s safe to say that who owns the name, who owns the game is a family affair.