I’ll give you many less important options and then give you the big one.
- it’s cheap to play – you don’t need anything extra to play other than a shared ball
- it can be played anywhere – if you have a ball and relatively flat ground you can play
- it’s versatile – you can play indoors or outdoors, with just a few people or many
- it doesn’t require learning any new skills – we all can run around and kick things, the throw in and headers are really the only learned skills
- so simple a child can play it without training – even in soccer hell of America, it’s still by far the most common youth sport – it’s ubiquitous with childhood and families
- so simple anyone can coach it – this actually is taken a little too far in America. I played soccer all through high school and it wasn’t until I began reading European written world cup analysis that I became aware it could be a tactical game as all we ever did was running, skill drills and scrimmage for practice.
- it’s non-violent – it’s perhaps the safest sport to play
- it’s a brief game – especially when compared to the other British games
Now, ready for the big reason?
- The British Empire
Sports, at least as we treat them, are a modern invention. Just when sports were becoming a thing, the British controlled large sections of the globe. If you introduce a good game to a population that by and large didn’t have any beforehand, then it’s going to be adopted rather quickly. After that, it gets a first mover advantage.
Therefore, it got a tremendous advantage being pushed forward by the British Empire. However, unlike the very expensive, violent and time consuming sports, soccer made a smooth transition elsewhere while games like Rugby, Equestrian, Golf and Cricket never really spread for those problems.
Don’t believe me, just look at Rugby and Cricket – two games with almost nothing in common beyond British origins. Try to find a single non-commonwealth nation that excels at both – you won’t. In fact, it’s hard to find it played in non-commonwealth nations. These sports just didn’t have the popular appeal of soccer so stayed located in their imperial bases.
Then look at baseball, where is baseball popular? Countries that border the United States and countries that have (and still are) militarily occupied by Americans.
Also, soccer is a perfectly acceptable term. In fact, the majority of native English speaking countries say soccer because football for them is a completely different sport. Not just in America, but also in Australia, in Ireland, etc etc. In fact, soccer was the commonly used word for it in England as well until the 1960s when football started becoming more common. It’s really silly to call it football if you live in a country that otherwise calls it soccer, if you do, you aren’t being correct, you’re being a sycophant and making an ass of yourself.
A source: Quora.