Association football, or simply football, (not to be confused with Americanfootball), is a team sport played between two teams of eleven players, and is the most popular sport in the world. The modern rules were first codified in the United Kingdom in the mid 19th century.
The term soccer originated in Britain as slang for "assoc.", and was the preferred name for the sport in British sports journals in the mid 20th century. Around 1980, for reasons that remain unclear, the term "soccer" disappeared seemingly overnight from British media, to be replaced by the original "football." By the 21st century, use of the term "soccer" is generally restricted to North America.
In the United States of the home timeline, soccer was a minor sport which people thought about mainly at the time of the World Cup. Other sports, such as baseball, were far more popular. In the rest of the world, however, soccer dominated.
Prior to its conquest by the German Empire in 1956, soccer was a minor sport in the United States. However, it had grown in popularity and importance in American society during the century and a half of occupation, and was one of the spheres of life in the which the Germans usually did not interfere. In San Francisco, the annual matches between the city's two rival teams, the Seals and the Missions, always drew enormous crowds and often culminated with violent clashes between the rival fans. This rivalry had a social background, with the Seals traditionally supported by the more well-to-do inhabitants while the Missions were championed by the poor. Lucy Woo was a staunch Missions fans, and thought that Paul Gomes was "the kind of person who must be for the Missions", which increased her attraction to him. Indeed - though this polar rivalry did not exist in the home timeline San Francisco he came from - when going to see a Seals-Missions match at Kezar Stadium, Paul sympathized with the Missions and cheered them, while his father Lawrence cheered the Seals.
In the soccer played in this alternate, the overtime was reserved for championship matches, so that other games often ended with a tie.
Football was a popular sport in Münster, Germany before World War II. The Foresters were an important semi-pro team in the city. Their roster was diminished by the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935, which removed Jewish players from the team. Musclebound star Saul Goldman, whose departure was mourned by fans of all races, embarked on an odd career which saw this Jewish strongman becoming a WehrmachtPanzer man on the Eastern Front.
David Goldfarb watched football in his off-time. He wasn't normally a fan of hooliganism, but did silently approve of hooligans supporting Manchester heckling Cologne in a home match, primarily because as a Jew he disapproved of Nazism. Goldfarb was disappointed that that particular match ended in a tie, and disbelieved the Manchester manager trying to spin the tie as a victory.