What Does FC Stand for in Soccer?

Soccer as a sport is host to a whole variety of short form acronyms.

Players, analysts and spectators use shortened words to refer to different aspects of the game.

That could include:

  • A soccer position;
  • Season statistics like points tallies, goals scored and goal difference; or even
  • A soccer team name

As a newcomer to the sport, it can be difficult to keep up with why things are the way they are.

But worry not, the Soccer Whizz blog has your back!

This article in particular will cover what the acronym FC stands for in soccer, as it’s used quite extensively across multiple areas of the game.

So, what does FC stand for and mean?

In soccer, FC is an abbreviation for “Football Club”. The short form contraction is usually appended separately at the end of a soccer team name to denote the fact that the club in question participates in association football.

Read on for further information.


Origin and history of the FC abbreviation

The inception of the “FC” term can be traced all the way back to 19th century England.

More precisely, it was the late 1800s when usage of the word would begin to gather steam.

You see, back in those days if you were part of a soccer team you would describe yourself as being part of a football club.

In England, culture around the world’s most popular sport is markedly different from what you see in the United States.

Naming conventions back then were quite contrasting, because members of a soccer team would refer to the game as “Association Football” instead of soccer.

And because of all the tradition and camaraderie that surrounded teams back in those days, members would feel part of a close-knit group and would characterize themselves as a unified “Football Club”.

what FC stands for in soccer - football club

So, for example, if you were a defender playing for a group based in Dagenham, the team name would be called “Dagenham Football Club”.

Now obviously, it makes sense to shorten the name to make it easier to reference in future speech or text, and that’s exactly where the “FC” abbreviation came to be born.

In today’s game, you’ll find a number of soccer teams have the “FC” acronym fixed at the end.

Eventually, adoption of the suffix became widespread as it was really easy for players, coaches, analysts and spectators to include and remember.


Examples of soccer teams with FC in their name

Here are some team specific examples:


1. Liverpool FC

soccer team with FC in their name - liverpool

In England, Liverpool are a team that have the FC contraction added at the end of their team name.

However, it’s important to note that not all clubs in England affix the abbreviation to their name.

This is because there are cases were two or more clubs join together to form a single team.

In such a scenario, it would be more appropriate and significant for the team name to have the word “United” at the end of it as opposed to “FC”.


2. FC Barcelona

soccer teams with FC in their name - barcelona

Quite remarkably, the abbreviation even made its way over to Spain in the 1800s, where the term “Club de Fútbol” was used to signify the same “football club” meaning.

Although it must be said that in Spain, the “FC” short form is typically added to the beginning of a team name instead of at the very end.

Like with Fútbol Club (FC) Barcelona in this instance.


3. Villareal CF

In some cases, the acronym is added to the end of Spanish team names just like it is in England.

In fact, Villareal Club de Fútbol (CF) can attest to this.

The letters “C” and “F” are swapped over and placed at the end, even though the meaning is exactly the same – to denote the fact that this is a football club in Spain.


What is the difference between FC and SC?

In addition to the term “FC” that this article has just explained, there exists another variation with the same meaning.

It’s called “SC” and in most cases it’s meaning can be construed as “soccer club”.

Therefore, the difference between “FC” and “SC” lies in the first letters for each acronym, with each symbolizing football and soccer respectively.

Soccer teams in England use the term “FC” to signify the fact that they are a football club.

But what about soccer teams primarily based in the United States?

Well, the answer here is actually quite obvious.

Soccer in America is referred to as “soccer” and not as “association football” or “football”.

Which by extension means that soccer teams in America call themselves “soccer clubs”.

The reason for this is because on that side of the globe, people have grown up watching and playing another sport called “American football”, which is what the habitants over in England like to call “rugby”.

You see there are such major differences in nomenclature which carry over to the way in which professional sports teams in the United States like and want to be identified as.


Why do MLS teams have FC in their name?

Funnily enough, a couple of teams in America go against the conventional naming pattern by using “FC” in their team name instead of “SC.

A couple of examples include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Atlanta United FC;
  • FC Dallas;
  • Columbus Crew FC; and
  • Chicago Fire FC

Now, the only plausible reason why teams in America would incorporate FC in their club name is if they’d want to promote and grow the popularity of “association football” in the country.

Or it could just be a case of defying the usual traditions.

Even though America’s most popular soccer league is the Major League Soccer division, causal fans are unlikely to get confused even if the team they support has the word “football club” at the end of its name.

Samuel Waihenya
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