Why is Foosball Called Foosball? (A Brief History of the Name and Game)

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Why is Foosball Called Foosball?

We’ve all seen a foosball table. Whether you had one growing up, have one now, or knew someone who had one, we’re all somewhat familiar with them.

The mini soccer players spinning around a support rod and mini goals on either end of the table are a part of homes all over the world. Given that it’s a table-sized version of soccer, one question many people have wondered is: why is foosball called foosball?

That’s an interesting question to ask. Foosball has a strangely complex history, and we’ll be sharing its intriguing story with you in this post.

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Why is Foosball Called Foosball?

We won’t keep you in suspense too long when it comes to the name. The reason foosball is called foosball is due to a man from the UK in early 1900’s named Harold Searles Thornton.

He named the game after the German word for football, which is Fußball (pronounced similarly to foosball). Outside of the United States, soccer is largely called football or something similar, so the name matches more closely with its namesake internationally.

Read Also: 9 Different Types of Foosball Tables

A Short History of the Game

The history behind foosball is a bit more tangled than you’d think. It’s not very straightforward, with just one inventor who created the game as you know it today.

Harold Searles Thornton is just one possible beginning for the game. He supposedly invented it due to the increasing popularity of soccer in Europe at the time. He hoped to make an indoor alternative.

But he’s far from the only person to claim to invent foosball. An inventor named Alejandro Finisterre got a patent for table football in the late 1930’s. It’s his creation that most closely matches what we play nowadays.

Lucien Rosengartt is another person who has some claim to the invention of the game. It is said that this French inventor came up with the idea for the game in the 1930’s, too, and that his goal was to come up with something for his grandchildren to play.

Regardless of who can be called the true creator of foosball, it hasn’t had a very long tenure in the United States. It didn’t come across the Atlantic Ocean until the 1950’s.

Wrap Up

It may have complicated roots, but one thing is simple about foosball: it’s a ton of fun for people of all ages. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the table-sized imitation of soccer, which makes it the perfect game for a rainy day. We’re not at all surprised that it’s so popular today.