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Football is a word which could mean one of several sports. The best-known type of football is association football. This is called "soccer" in North America, South Africa, and Australia to avoid confusion with other types of football that are commonly played there.

The name football comes from the two words 'foot' and 'ball'. It is named football because the players of the game walk and often run (on their feet) while playing, as opposed to (for example) polo where the players ride horses. Football is played using a ball, also called a 'football', that is usually shaped like a sphere or an ellipsoid. The ball is often kicked with the foot, but depending on the game, it can also be hit using other parts of the body (in association football) and handling the ball is a part of some other sports known as 'football'.

Some elements of football have been seen in many countries, dating back to the second and third century AD in China.[1] The modern games of both rugby football and association football comes from 19th-century England.[2] Kicking a ball goes back to the Middle Ages.[3] Association football spread to many other parts of Europe, and was brought to the rest of the world with colonization. Today, it is the most popular sport in the world and many people watch it on television, especially the FIFA World Cup that happens every four years.

Types of football

File:Warrior Games athletes honored at Navy-Air Force football game 141004-D-DB155-022.jpg
A game of American (gridiron) football. Canadian football is very similar.


  1. "History of Football". AETN UK. Retrieved 2015-05-11.
  2. Green, Geoffrey (953; The history of the Football Association. Naldrett Press, London
  3. Eisenberg, Christiane and Pierre Lanfranchi, eds. 2006: Football History: international perspectives. Special Issue, Historical Social Research 31