Soccer (Association Football)

Soccer, more popularly known as Association Football, is the only code of football that appears in both the Australian top 10 sports and physical recreational Activities by participation.

Australia's national soccer team, is nicknamed the Socceroos. The team was able to enter the qualifying round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Soccer's governing body in Australia is the Football Federation Australia. It is a member of the Asian Football Confederation, having moved from the Oceania Football Confederation on 1 January 2006. They famously thrashed American Samoa 31-0, a world record, in a 2002 World Cup qualifying match.

Soccer's popularity as a spectator sport has increased in recent years due to reforms made to the sport's national governing body and the participation of the national team in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, their first in 32 years.

Led at the time by coach Guus Hiddink from the Netherlands, they surprised many by reaching the Round of 16, losing 1-0 to the eventual champions Italy courtesy of a dubious penalty.

The "Socceroos" have consistently been ranked inside the top fifty in The FIFA World Rankings. In fact, as of July 2010 the team is ranked 20th (and 16 for the "Matilda's" the women's national team).

In 2005, a professional soccer league called the A-League was launched. The A-League plays during summer, the traditional off-season for other football codes, to avoid conflict in the use of facilities as well as being in line with European competition.

The A-League matches draw massive crowds. The Melbourne Victory averaged 27,728 people to their home matches. The 2010 Grand Final between Sydney FC and Melbourne (also played at Docklands Stadium) drew 44,560.

Historically, the sport has been known by many as soccer, but numerous official organizations, clubs and media companies are now using the name "football" in line with common international usage of the word.

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