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Culture: Five Ways International Sports Differ From US Sports


While the name of a sport can be the same around the world, the way it is played in different countries varies. Each country has its own rules. In sports like American soccer, where International play occurs, referees must remind the players of International playing rules as they do vary from their home country’s rules.

Sport Name Differences

Some countries have a different name for some sports. In European countries, soccer is known as futbol, or football in English. It comes from the use of the ball with the feet. When soccer is referred to in International countries, it is specifically called American soccer to distinguish the sport from the International version.

Rules Differences

While there are universal rules for sports internationally, each country does have specific rules for player safety. When teams play internationally or in events like the Olympics, generalized rules are followed so that players on both teams remain safe and play a clean game.

You may come across instances where you see what would normally be a foul go uncalled. In most cases, it is not a case of the referee missing the call, it is just not a violation under their guidelines.

Different Variety of Sports

In the United States, the main sports are football, baseball, soccer and hockey. Versions of these sports are available worldwide. European countries have rugby, polo, cricket and a different variety of watersports. Leagues are available in almost every country for International sports. Since residents transplant to international locations, being able to participate in their favorite sports generates interest among other transplants to form teams and/or leagues in their local areas.

Native Language Commentary

When you are watching a sport on an International level, it is ideal to know the language being spoken. Of course, you could use the subtitle feature on your television, but these are not always accurate in translation. Take a bit of time to study the language with courses from a school like, cursosdeinglesmanchester.es so that you can follow along well.

League Differences

The way that leagues run from country to country varies. The bracketing systems are different as well. When watching International sports and US sports, it is a good idea to view how the leagues work. American sports are split into 4 leagues based upon the region the team is located in. Some International countries have leagues and brackets for a specific state which combine with regional leagues for championship purposes.

It can be a bit confusing to watch sports from other countries. You may feel like you are unsure of what is really going on. Educate yourself on that specific country’s rules so that you are more aware of what you are watching. If you have the ability to travel and view a sporting game in-person internationally, it is an enlightening experience to watch how fans react. You will notice that fans are just as enthusiastic around the world when supporting their favorite team as US fans are. They react as positively and/or negatively as Americans do.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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