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15 Countries Where American Football is Played (and Popular)

American Football has a growing popularity, and even though it has not taken over the world yet, it has been making ripples in many parts of the world. It will not be long before the sport makes huge waves on a global scale. Who knows, it might become the most-watched sport in the world; we never know. 

Let us have a look at some of the countries where American Football is played. 

1. Australia

Australia is one of the teams that represent Oceania in the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). Gridiron Australia, which was formed in 1996, is the governing body for American Football in the country, and it’s a member of the IFAF.

The first season of American Football for the Aussies was played in 1984, where the players wore boxing head-gear instead of helmets. 

2. Sweden

The Swedish American Football Federation (SAFF) was founded in 1984. It was founded by Tommy Wiking, who also served as President of the IFAF. The highest-level league in the country is called Superserien. The SAFF has begun promoting flag Football as well. 

In 2008, the Swedish women’s American Football team squared off in their first-ever match, which was a friendly match against Finland.   

3. Israel

The Israeli Football League (IFL), which was founded in 2005, is the American football league in the country. It initially started as a touch football league back in 1988. The first season was in 2007, which ended with the Jerusalem Lions winning the Israel Bowl I.

The Israeli women’s American Football team made its debut in 2005 at the European Women 7’s Championship.  

4. Mexico

Mexicans have mostly been associated with soccer, but what the rest of the world does not know is that Mexicans have been playing American Football since the 1920s. American Football is played in colleges and universities throughout Mexico. The first-ever professional championship in American Football was played in 1928.  

Mexico is one of the countries, besides the United States, where American Football is taken seriously. Mexico has a considerable number of leagues ranging from college leagues to junior leagues to youth leagues.  

The NCAA sanctions a bowl game called the Aztec Bowl in Mexico since the 1950s, and it is played even till today. The bowl game also includes a match between a Mexican All-Star Team and an American All-Star Team of the Football Coaches Association since 1997.  

Some players from the Mexican National American Football team have also gone on to play in the NFL

5. Japan

The sensation of American Football has also reached far and wide in Asia. American Football is also not a new phenomenon on the island, as the Japan American Football Association (JAFA) was founded in 1934. The Association includes corporate-sponsored teams, university clubs, semi-pro teams, and high school squads. The JAFA is also impressive in the fact that each league has its own bowl game and concludes with its own Super Bowl games. 

Japan has its own national bowl game called the Koshien Bowl, which was established in 1947. It is also the oldest national bowl game, and this game determines the best collegiate JAFA team. 

The Rice Bowl was established in 1948 for an East-West All-Star match, but it rebranded in 1983, making it a match between the winners of the Koshien bowl and the Japan X Bowl. 

This bowl is played every year on January 3, and the winner is named Japan’s best club, or you can say, the American Football champions of Japan. The Japan X Bowl determines the best semi-pro champions every year.  

6. Canada

Rugby is a popular sport in Canada, and so is American Football. People with heavy knowledge of American Football know that the sport is a derivative of Rugby itself. And with its long history, Canadians have been playing American Football for as long as the Americans.   

Some even say that Canadians were the ones who invented American Football, claiming that the first game of American Football was played in November 1861 at the University of Toronto. Football Canada is the National team that came into being in 1986 and has been an official member of IFAF since 2004.  

7. Germany

The American Football Association of Germany, which was founded in 1982, oversees the national league, as well as the German Bowls. The German Football League, formed in 1979, is considered one of the strongest in Europe.

8. Great Britain

Great Britain is also home to Rugby, so it is no doubt that people would take an interest in American Football. The British American Football Federation, founded in 1985, is the national governing body for American football.

9. Austria

The Austrian Football League, founded in 1984, is considered one of the strongest leagues in Europe. Their national team is also one of the best in the continent. 

10. Brazil

Brazil is also one of the latest countries to jump on the American Football bandwagon. Their national league, Superliga Nacional de Futebol Americano, was founded in 2010.  

11. China

China is also one of the latest addition to this small group of American Football playing nations. Though it was introduced not too long ago, it is already on its way to making an impact, with many men and women participating in the game.  

12. France

Soccer and Rugby are the two sports that dominate the sports preferences of the public. Even though the skills and the participation of the interested candidates in American Football are plenty, the response from the general masses is quite mixed. 

13. United States of America

It is obvious that the USA plays the sport. It is also widely known that the USA is one of the only countries where the game is played professionally and where the players can actually have a career playing American Football. The National Football League is native to the USA, and it hosts the biggest bowl known as the Super Bowl, where the best American Football teams will compete with one another for the final championship. 

The Super Bowl is also more than just a bowl, as Hollywood’s biggest celebrities attend the game too. The Super Bowl is also popular for its half-time shows, with the biggest artists performing during the half-time. Then there are the million-dollar television advertisements that play every year. They are as popular as the half-time show itself. It is no wonder that people around the world gather around the TV for this spectacle. 

14. Belgium

The Belgian Football League is an amateur American Football league in Belgium. The BFL is divided into two conferences. The Belgian bowl is played at the end of the season, where three teams from each conference will compete to win the championship title.  

15. New Zealand

The New Zealand American Football Federation (NZAFF) governs the American Football teams in New Zealand. American Football has been played in New Zealand since 1982 in an organized form. However, the sport had already entered the threshold of the countrymen as early on as 1971, with Football matches being played at Kelston Boys School.  

It’s important to mention that a number of American Football players of NZ origin have been making appearances on NFL rosters. 


American Football has indeed become quite popular throughout the entire world. Many countries now have some form of a professional American Football league. 

With the high salary of professional NFL players and glamorous pop singers performing at half-time shows, it is easy to see why so many people become interested in American Football.