Sports terminology: North America has "trades" while Europe has "transfers"?

I’ve noticed this recently. In North American sports, when a player is exchanged for another player on a different team, the transaction is normally called a trade. Yet, in the various European soccer leagues, the same transaction is often referred to as a transfer.

Is it just merely a cultural difference? Or are there actual legal reasons behind the different terminologies for essentially the same thing?

In American sports, when one team wants to move one player to another team, he is usually traded for another player or player. Sometimes, players are just sold for cash. In all sports (with the exception of baseball), the player can be traded for future draft picks.

With baseball being the first team sport in America that was highly organized, at first players would only change teams if one team released the player from his contract and another team agreed to pick him up and did the same for a player on their team. Eventually, with the help of the reserve system, teams dispensed with the formalities of having the players signing new contracts and just agreed to swap contracts.

Okay, but my original question still stands: is there any real reason the aforementioned transaction is called a “trade” in North American sports, but a “transfer” in European soccer leagues? :confused:

But in international soccer, it’s just a transfer. It’s not a trade. It’s not like Real Madrid calls up Chelsea and they agree to swap midfielders. One team sells the other player for a fee. So it’s a transfer of a contract. It’s not a trade of contracts.

Well … while we’re here … do any international professional football teams trade players amongst themselves?

You mean national teams, like Italy and Brazil? No, players play for them for the honour and prestige of representing their country (although I believe they are paid). You have to be of that nationality, or related to somebody who is (rules vary, sometimes the qualification can be quite tenuous) in order to play for the national team. The players are still contracted to their club sides, such as Real Madrid. You’ll see players referred to as e.g. “David Beckham of LA Galaxy and England”.

The rules for qualification for a national team are indeed tenuous at times, which can mean that a player has eligibility for several national teams. However, the general rule is that once you’ve played for one, you’ve made your choice, and you can’t switch allegiances. An exception is made for those eligible for the ‘home nations’, because otherwise situations can easily arise that e.g. a player could not be called up by Wales because they’d once been on the England under-16 squad.

No, something different.

An exchange of players between two Premiership squads … say, Manchester United and Arsenal, for example. One team has two or more strong goalkeepers but a defecit of good strikers; another has a glut of great strikers, but sieves in goal. So they do a deal.

Oh sure, sometimes the deal will involve money + a player or too. I can’t remeber an instance of a purely player for player(s) swap though. And it seems to me that most offten in those cases, it’s a big club offering money + one of its cast-offs to a smaller club, for one of their up-and-coming talents.

Your question threw me because “international” is only used to refer to games at the national team level, such as World Cup games. Games between league clubs, even clubs from different countries, are not described as international.

It’s not common in American pro sports any more, either. Some American pro sports will allow cash to be thrown in to a deal. But in American football and basketball, future draft choices are commonly thrown in to even out a trade.

AFAIK, there is no annual common drafting of amateur talent in any European football league, so obviously draft picks wouldn’t be used for this purpose.

And I forgot to ask … are these known in England as “trades” or “transfers” or something else?

No single specific noun for the whole agreement. Just ‘deal’ or ‘agreement’ or whatever. The movement of each player in itself in such a situation is a transfer, both literally and in the way we refer to it.

And in world soccer you also have a concept not found in the US- a team with a goalkeeper, for example, who they don’t have a spot for on the field but who they want to get real game experience can be “loaned” to another team for a period. They are usually not allowed to play against their club in a match, but a player can definitely affect his home club by doing well for their comeptetion

Absolutely. Although it’s more common that a player will be loaned to a team in a lower league to get regular first-team action, and so there’s no concern about them affecting their home team’s situation. (When a player is loaned, the original contract is maintained, but their wages are paid by the recipient club for the duration of the loan, and they’re treated as a normal player as part of that squad.)

This concept is of course very common in U.S. baseball; the difference being that the lower-league teams are allied with or wholly owned by the top-league team (there being no relegation/promotion for teams from league to league).

Here, I think “international” was meant as “outside the United States.”