The U.S. changed the name of the United States Football Association to the United States Soccer Federation. When soccer became popular in the U.S. in 1974, it was still called football, just like in Europe. However, because we already had a game called football that was popular in America, it became too confusing for people, so they changed the name to soccer, and the name stuck. Now instead of Americans get confused between football and soccer among themselves, Americans and the rest of the world get confused when talking about football.
It is also important to note that, before the sport was even called football, the English actually referred to it as soccer as well. In fact, there are quite the number of games that were once called football, or had “football” in their names. The name “football” simply stuck for soccer. The rest of jaw6827’s answer is correct. The US felt a need to distinguish what we call soccer from American football, so the powers that be reached back into the archives and chose “soccer” as the sport’s new (but old) official name.
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