Is It Football Or Soccer In Ireland? (Fully Explained)

Football or soccer? Depending on which part of the world you're in, the likes of the Premier League and Champions League can go by either name. Even in English-speaking countries, it will differ. Americans will always say soccer, while the English will call it football. What about other English-speaking countries? So, is It football or soccer in Ireland?

Ireland says both soccer and football. Whether an Irishman says football or soccer will depend on whether or not they follow the sport and where in Ireland they live. People in Ireland who follow soccer will often call it football, while everyone else says soccer.

So now you know that both terms are used in Ireland, but why is this? Find out the answer to this question and more in this article!

Does Ireland Call Football Soccer?

Many people in Ireland choose to use the term soccer. Most of these people probably don't follow the sport, however.

Although there will be some soccer fans in Ireland who choose to say soccer instead of football, there is a sense of pride when it comes to calling it football.

In fact, much like the English, calling it soccer would be seen as embarrassing by some of those who watch and play the game.

People who do not watch soccer, though, will almost definitely call it soccer. 

Why do They Use Both Soccer And Football in Ireland?

The reason that some people say football while others say soccer is due to people wanting to differentiate Gaelic Football from soccer. However, soccer fans still want to call it football.

Gaelic Football is the most popular sport in Ireland. This means that it's easier to call competitions like the Premier League - soccer to avoid confusion.

With that being said, big soccer fans in Ireland don't always follow this rule.

Fans who are passionate about soccer, especially those who don't follow Gaelic Football, will proudly call it football.

This isn't surprising when you consider how many teams in the U.K. have big Irish followings. Scottish teams Celtic and Hibernian both have strong Irish connections.

These teams proudly refer to themselves as football clubs, so it's not surprising that the Irish fans would follow suit.

The area of Ireland you are in also plays a part. It is not uncommon for people in urban areas to use the term football, especially as soccer is more common in those places.

Whereas more rural areas are more likely to call it soccer, given that Gaelic Football is more popular in these areas.

What is the Difference Between Soccer and Football in Ireland?

There is no difference between what soccer fans call football and what everybody else calls soccer.

However, people who like both Gaelic Football and soccer (or neither) will differentiate the two by calling it soccer and calling Gaelic Football just football.

In this case, the difference between soccer and football would be that Gaelic Football is played with both hands and feet and features more players.

Gaelic Football has more in common with Rugby or American Football (NFL) than with soccer.

What is Referred to as Football in Ireland?

In Ireland, both soccer and Gaelic Football can be referred to as football. In some rare cases, Rugby can also be referred to as football.

Using the term football comes with a certain sense of pride in Ireland. What's confusing is that this applies to both Gaelic Football and soccer.

Both sets of fans want to use the term football, so they do.

If you were to hear an Irish person say football, there's no certainty whether they mean soccer or Gaelic Football.

What is Referred to as Soccer in Ireland?

Unlike the term football in Ireland, soccer can only mean soccer. So if you hear an Irishman say soccer, they are definitely talking about competitions like the Champions League or the Premier League.

If you were in Ireland and wanted to avoid any confusion, it might be safe to stick with saying soccer. Just be prepared that some hardcore soccer fans might correct you!

Where Does The Term Soccer Come From?

The term "soccer" originally came from an old term called "Association Football." This is what soccer was originally called in the United Kingdom in the 1800s.

The British used the term "Associated Football" to differentiate the sport from rugby, which was originally called "Rugby Football."

In Britain today, soccer is simply called football, while Rugby Football is now just called rugby.

Countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia then adopted the term "soccer" to differentiate British football (or Associated Football) from their own local versions of football.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it football or soccer in England?

In England, it is most definitely called football. Most English football fans will not even entertain the idea of calling it soccer.

Originally the English called it Associated Football to avoid confusion with Rugby Football. These days though, it's simply just football and rugby.

Unlike Ireland, there isn't another type of football for England to worry about, like Gaelic Football.

This is also the case for most European and South American countries.

(Click here to learn more about whether they say soccer or football in England)

Is it football or soccer in Australia?

In Australia, they call it soccer instead of football.

Like Ireland, the Australians have their own version of football, meaning they go with the term soccer. The only difference is that the soccer fans in Australia actually stick with the term soccer.

What's a bit more confusing is that football in Australia could either mean Australian Rules Football or Rugby, depending on what part of the country you are in.

Soccer, however, is simply just soccer.

Is it football or soccer in New Zealand?

New Zealand is actually a bit mixed, but football is becoming more common to say than soccer these days.

In 2007, the New Zealand Football Organization replaced the word soccer with football in their official title. This was to try to line up with the rest of the world.

For years, New Zealand would follow Australia in calling it soccer to avoid confusion with Australian Rules Football.

However, the Premier League became so popular in New Zealand that the term football began to be used more and more when discussing soccer, especially among younger people.

(Click here to learn more about whether they say soccer or football in New Zealand)

Is it football or soccer in Canada?

Most Canadians call competitions like the Premier League and Champions League - soccer.

If Canadians are talking about football, they are probably referring to the NFL in the U.S., or their own Canadian Football, the CFL.

This is most likely due to Canada and the U.S. sharing the same soccer league (MLS) and wanting to differentiate soccer from the NFL and the CFL.

(Click here to learn more about whether they say soccer or football in Canada)


To summarize, there isn't really a clear answer whether the Irish say football or soccer, as they actually use both terms.

Soccer fans will insist you call it football, while Gaelic Football fans will insist you call it soccer to avoid confusion with their own sport.

November 5, 2022
Published: November 5, 2022