In English its football, in French its football...I think its pretty weird to say that football means soccer when the french word comes from the English word! In German its fußball, in Spanish its fútbol, in Chinese its 足球 which literally means "foot ball". All coming from the same English word but when it is translated back to its origin its changed completely to a new word 'soccer'??
Some things just are what they are. The FR "football" refers to a specific kind of game. In much of the English-speaking world, it is called EN "football". In the US and Australia, it is called "soccer". The game that Americans call "football" is actually "football américain". So there is no point in challenging or questioning it. Just know what you are referring to and use the correct term. When you see FR "football", either EN "football" or "soccer" will be accepted.
Actually according to FIFA its officially called 'football', and not soccer so that's the name of it for the whole world. Countries like USA and Australia have their own games that they like to call football but are mostly only peculiar to their own countries and are not real world sports like football is.
It's really "Association Football" and the US uses "soccer" (derived from "association") but the UK and others use "football". From wikipedia: Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA; French: Fédération Internationale de Football Association). I heard this on Jeopardy recently :-)
Actually, it's sometimes called soccer in the UK. It's where the word came from. Like rugby football (its official title) - at least among certain older generations and the posher end of society - is known as "rugger". The public school (trans for US: bloody expensive, posh and not at all public!) "chaps" have to give nicknames to everything and everyone it seems. They usually end up with an ee or er(s) ending. Football is also known as footie. Not to be mixed up with footsie... (Totally different game ;-))
It is the preposition attached to "jouer" when it comes to sports and games:
- je joue à la balle
- je joue au Scrabble
- je joue aux échecs (masculine = chess)
- je joue aux fléchettes (feminine = darts)
But the preposition changes with musical instruments:
- je joue du violon
- je joue de la harpe
- je joue des cymbales (feminine)
You can also find the verb "jouer" as directly transitive (no preposition):
- je joue un rôle
- je joue les idiots (I act like a fool)