American Football vs Soccer – What is the difference?

American football vs Soccer: These are two significant sports across the globe. However, there are some differences between American football and soccer. Let’s check out the post below to see what is the main differences between these 2 sports!

Comparison chart of American football vs soccer 

American FootballSoccer
Number of players 11 players11 players (10 players on defensive and offensive lineup and 1 goalkeeper)
Game objective Score points by carrying the ball to the opponent’s goal line by running or passing the ball to other players. When a ball breaches the opponent’s goal line, this is called a touchdown (6 points). Kicking the ball through the goal post is called a field goal (3 points)Score a goal. The team with had higher goals will be the winner
Time limitation Four 15-minute quarters, with a half-time intermission after the second quarter.45 minutes for each half of the game. There is added time for each half. 90 minutes in total
Definition A game with physical aggression to score a point against the opponent team. Players are required to put on helmets and paddingThe most common sport across the globe. The game’s objective is to score goals by kicking the ball into the net behind the goalpost.
Major League The National Football League – NFL Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Bundesliga(Germany), Serie A (Italy), Ligue 1 (France)
Countries The USA, CanadaWorld wide
Current World Champions Tampa Bay BuccaneersFrance
Number of referees 3 to 6 referees3 referees
Protective Gear Helmet, Shoulder/Chest pad/protector, upper leg padding, and mouthguardBoots, Leg padding, and Gloves for the goalkeeper
Major Tournament NFL PlayoffsWorld Cup, UEFA Champions League, FA Cup, Copa del Rey, DFB Pokal, Coppa Italia, Coupe de France
Highest governing bodyNFLFIFA


Soccer vs American Football history

The first American football game was played on November 06th, 1869 between 2 college teams name Rutgers and Princeton. The match consisted of 25 players per team and used a ball that could not be picked up or carried. Rutgers won the game 6–4.

After that, Representatives of Yale, Columbia, Princeton, and Rutgers met on October 19, 1873, to create a standard set of rules for use by all schools. Teams were set at 20 players each, and fields of 400 by 250 feet (122 m × 76 m) were specified.

After playing McGill University using both Canadian and American rules, the Harvard players preferred the Canadian style. It has only 11 men on the field, running the ball without having to be chased by an opponent, the forward pass, tackling, and using an oblong instead of a round ball.

American Football vs Soccer history

With soccer, while those associated with football in England pride themselves on the fact that they are the ‘inventors’ of modern football, in many other parts of the world there are other versions of football, even earlier than in the UK.

The first football version was thought to be ‘Cuju’, originating from China during the Han Dynasty, from 206 BC to 220 BC. ‘Cuju’ is understood in the literal sense of ‘shot’ and the purpose of this game is to bring the ball into the net. Like the later versions in the UK, Cuju did not allow the ball to touch.

Similarly, in Greece, there are similar matches, called “Episkyros”. However, the difference is that in the matches in Greece, players can use their hands to play football.

The difference between the rules of the 2 sports

In American football rules, a team will score points when their player placed the ball on the opponent’s goal line. When a player passed the ball to the opponent’s goal line, this will be called a touched down and the scored team gets 6 points. When a free-kick happened and the players pass the ball through the opponents’ goalposts, the teams will get 3 points.

Each match is 60 minutes long, divided into 4 halves, excluding dead time (ball out of play), so sometimes the total playing time on the field is up to 180 minutes. The ball is made of leather, weighs 400 grams, is oval, and has 2 white lines for easy viewing, but it is not available in the NFL. Referees are also known as “The Zebras” because of their white, black plaid uniform. Each match has from 4 to 7 referees on duty.

American Football vs Soccer Rules

On the other hand, in soccer, each team will have 11 players (10 for the defensive and offensive lineup squad, and 1 goalkeeper). To win the match, each team needs to score plenty of goals to their opponent’s goalpost. Therefore, the 3 points will be given to the winning team after 90 minutes are finished.

Moreover, if the match ended up with a draw result, each team who participated in the match will receive 1 point on the ranking table. The team who receives the highest score on the football league ranked table will be the champion.

American Football vs Soccer ball, field shape

The length of an American football is 120 yards (109.728 meters) in total (100 yards (91.44 meters) of playing field, with two 10-yard (9.144 meters) end zones), and the width is 160 feet (48.768 meters).

American Football vs Soccer ball, field shape

On the other hand, the soccer field shape is 110 yards to 120 yards (100 – 110 meters). In addition, the goal line width is 70 yards to 80 yards (64 – 75 meters)

Overall, this is the comparison of American football vs soccer, you can see more in the same article “American Football vs Rugby“. Stay tuned and instantly updated sporting difference for the latest information about the players and the sport which you are into.

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