In soccer, “FC” stands for “Football Club.” Since professional soccer is a relatively new sport in the United States, many Americans ask, “What does the FC stand for in soccer?” Your questions may not end there, as there are a lot of weird terms in the soccer-universe. Whether you’re buying the latest soccer gear, practicing with your friends, or taking the field on game day, it never hurts to know all the terms.

Origins in Europe

The use of “FC” as an abbreviation for “Football Club” has its origins, you guessed it, in Europe. A lot of modern teams have their roots in amateur sporting clubs. For example, a group of guys would get together to play soccer amongst themselves in, say, Liverpool. They would quite literally be the “Liverpool Football Club.” If two or more soccer clubs joined together, they might go by “united” instead of simply “FC.” An example of this would be the world-famous Manchester United. Of course, a town as big as Manchester can support two professional teams, and it’s also home to the Manchester City FC.

Sometimes soccer clubs started out as part of a general sports club, which is why you often see the word “Sporting” in team names. If you’re a Spanish team that happened to be favored by the monarchy, you might have the privilege of adding “Real” (Spanish for “Royal”) to your name.


If you’re an American soccer fan, you’re probably a fan of MLS. Founded in 1993, Major League Soccer now has higher annual attendance numbers than the NHL. Of course, building a soccer fan base from scratch in a country that has been traditionally dominated by four well-established leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL), wasn’t going to be an easy task. How do you get all the Americans who lace up their soccer cleats to play recreationally every year to support their local professional franchise? Many teams choose to use FC in their names as an attempt to link themselves with the traditions of older established leagues. In fact, the term FC has spread to all corners of the globe and is a very popular suffix for teams from South America to Africa, the Middle East, and even Japan.

Some MLS teams have gone a step further, adding “United,” “Sporting,” and even “Real” to their names (though we’re fairly certain the king of Spain isn’t a Real Salt Lake supporter).

MLS Continues to Grow

Major League Soccer continues to grow, season after season. Every year, more people go to games, more soccer jerseys and apparel are sold, and the league rises in international rankings. One can’t help but think a part of this success is due to the league’s branding, which borrows heavily from the successful leagues across the pond, and this includes the use of the FC abbreviation.