What Does FC Mean in Soccer?

If you have been following some soccer leagues for a while, you might have noticed that many soccer teams have the prefix or suffix “FC” in their name.

Other clubs also have different prefixes of suffixes like SC, AC and so on. But what do these prefixes and suffixes exactly mean?

In soccer, FC simply means “Football Club”. It is used by a lot of soccer clubs both inside and outside Europe. Even some American clubs use the FC prefix or suffix in their clubs names even though Football is known as Soccer in America.

There are some American clubs (teams) that use SC instead of FC, and as you might have guessed, SC means “Soccer Club”.

Why do soccer clubs add prefixes/suffixes to their names?

Now that you know what FC means, the next question to ask is why do many soccer clubs have it in their name?

The answer is quite simple. A soccer related prefix or suffix can help people identify that the name is a soccer club name and not something else.

Many soccer clubs are named after the cities or states that they originated from. For example. Barcelona is a city in Spain, but there is also a Barcelona soccer club. For the club to be distinguished from the city name, it has to have the FC prefix in its name or any other prefix that can identify them as a soccer club.

In other words, Barcelona is a city, but FC Barcelona is a soccer club.

However, one thing to note is that FC is not only used when the soccer club’s name is already taken by another sports team or another landmark. Most of the soccer clubs that include the FC prefix or any other prefix/suffix in their name do it just to identify themselves as Soccer Clubs  (Football clubs if you live outside the United States)

Back in the old days when most of today’s big soccer clubs were born, soccer wasn’t as big as it is today, so soccer clubs needed a way to make themselves known using their names, and hence they used “FC” to identify themselves as soccer clubs even if their name is already unique.

For example, Manchester United F.C. has the “FC” suffix in their name even if Manchester United is still a unique name.

Are prefixes or suffixes required by the laws in soccer?

Not all soccer clubs have prefixes or suffixes in most of the top soccer leagues around the world. In other words, if a soccer club’s name is unique on its own, then it might not need to add the FC prefix or any other prefix or suffix to be accepted as a soccer club.

In Spain for example, there are many soccer clubs in La Liga that have no prefixes or suffixes in their names. The same thing applies for soccer in the United States.

As long as the soccer club’s name is not already taken, most of the club registration committees will allow them to use names with no prefixes or suffixes included.

What are some of the common prefixes/suffixes used in soccer?

The following is a list of some common prefixes/suffixes used in the names of soccer clubs around the world.

Prefix/suffixFull wordExamples
FCFootball ClubLiverpool F.C.
F.C Barcelona
SCSoccer ClubChicago Fire SC
San Diego Loyal SC
CFClub de Football (Spain)Real Madrid C.F.
ACAssociazione Calcio (Italy)AC Milan
ASAssociazione Sportiva (Italy)AS Roma
UnitedUnitedManchester United FC
Leeds United
RealReal (which means Royal in Spain)Real Betis
Real Sociedad
CityCityManchester City FC
Leicester City FC
Common Soccer Clubs Prefixes and Suffixes

Is soccer the only sport that uses FC and other similar prefixes?

Using prefixes or suffixes in a team’s names is not unique to soccer. Other big clubs from other sports around the world use prefixes and suffixes to identify their clubs too.

For example, some Rugby clubs use the suffix “RFC” which means “Rugby Football Clubs”. 

In other words, some soccer clubs and other well known clubs from other sports around the world add suffixes or prefixes to their club names in order to make them distinguishable from other similar names.

With that said, I’ll end my article here. Here’s a quick summary of what you have just read.


FC in soccer means “Football club”. Prefixes or suffixes like FC are used in soccer in order to distinguish the clubs from other landmarks or other clubs with similar names.

While a prefix or a suffix is not required by the laws of the game, many soccer clubs still use them even if their name is already unique. The reason why is because these clubs want to be identified as soccer clubs immediately when someone learns about their name for the first time.

Using Prefixes and suffixes in club names is not unique to soccer only. Other clubs from other sports do it too.