The Difference Between "Fútbol" and "Fútbol Americano"

Quick Answer

El fútbolis the most popular sport in the world. It’s known as soccer in the United States and Canada, whereas the rest of the English-speaking world tends to call it football. In the United States, the word football refers to American football (fútbol americano), which has more in common with rugby than with soccer. Let’s read more about two of the world's most beloved sports!

How Do You Play?

boys playing soccer Fútbol is a sport that involves two teams trying to score a goal (anotar un gol) by propelling the ball toward the opposing team's portería(goal) in order to score a point. A player can touch the ball with their feet, head, shoulders, stomach, or basically any part of their body except their arms and hands...unless they are the portero(goalie/keeper), whose job it is to keep the opposing team's ball from going into the goal.

American football

In fútbol americano, players score points by carrying, throwing, passing, or kicking the ball into the opposing team's zona de anotación(end zone). Players can score un touchdown(a touchdown) or un gol de campo(field goal). Fútbol americano is a rough, highly aggressive game, so players need to wear cascos(helmets) and hombreras(shoulder pads).

Fútbol and Fútbol Americano

  • Both fútbol and fútbol americano are played with 11 players on the field at a time.

  • A game of fútbol lasts 90 minutes, with 45 minutes in each half. Additional time is added to make up for injuries, substitutions, etc. Games of fútbol americano are divided into four 15-minute quarters, with a halftime intermission after the second quarter. The clock stops often between plays.

  • The ball used in fútbol americano is a "prolate (elongated) spheroid," which is a fancy way of saying it looks like a pointy oval, while the ball used in fútbol is round.

Fun Fact

Many Europeans call American football "handegg" because, as opposed to football, where players actually kick a ball with their feet, American football involves players carrying an egg-shaped object in their hands.

Major League

In the world of fútbol, there are many major soccer leagues, such as Barclay's Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany), Serie A (Italy), and Ligue 1 (France).

The two major fútbol americano leagues in North America are the National Football League and the Canadian Football League.