Soccer Terms 2023
Advantage clause: Also called "Advantage Rule"; after a foul is committed, the referee is allowed to continue a play to avoid unfairly punishing the fouled team, and to prevent the foul from benefiting the team that committed the foul.
Advantage rule: The referee does not have to stop play every time he detects a foul. If the offending team gains an advantage from the offense, he will certainly do so. But sometimes it is penalizing the innocent team to stop play if, for instance, a defender deliberately handles the ball to bring it under control but only succeeds in deflecting it to an opponent who is well placed for a shot at goal. To stop play at this moment would penalize the attacking team. In such a case, the referee would apply the so called advantage rule and allow play to go on.
Advantages: When a team possesses the ball and outnumbers the opponent near the opponent's goal.
Afc: The Asian Football Confederation, the Confederation in charge of Asian soccer.
Aggregate score: Many of soccer's most important club competitions are played on a knockout basis. A draw is conducted to decide the pairings. The two clubs drawn as a pair play each other twice, home and home. The winner is decided by adding together the scores from the two games the aggregate score. If the aggregate score is tied, then the winner is the club that scored more goals on its opponent's field (usually referred to as "the away goals rule"). If the score is still tied under the away goals rule, then 30 minutes of overtime (usually it is not sudden death) are played. If that doesn't produce a result, then a penalty shoot out is used to decide the tie. See also Scorelines.
Aggressive soccer receiving: Receivers are alert with every pass, no matter how imperfect it is, in an effort to prevent a pass from getting away from them.
Air ball: Also called "Lofted Ball" or "Lifted Ball"; when the ball is airborne.
American football: Non Americans use this term to distinguish the common U.S. sport from another country's sport of soccer, which they also call "football".
Angle of run : the direction of the run from a supporting player
Angle of the pass : the direction of a pass in relation to defender, attacker
Angles : most often used for goal keepers, "narrowing the angles"
Apsl: American Professional Soccer League ? The original A League, APSL was the nation's professional men's outdoor soccer league from 1990 to 1994. It was formed as a merger between the American Soccer League and the Western Soccer League, and consisted of American and Canadian teams. It was renamed "A League" in 1995.
Arc: Also called "Penalty Box Arc"; the arc at the top of the penalty box.
Assist: An American term that is gaining acceptance throughout the soccer world. The Italians regularly use the word, while the official FIFA World Cup statistics now include a list of assists. The English find every reason not to use the word. The idea of an American contribution to soccer is evidently more than they can bear.
Assistant referee: Also called "Linesman"; a person positioned on either side of the field who basically "calls the line", among other things, to assist the referee.
Association: Originally used by England’s Football Association, the term is applied to the national governing body for soccer in a country. The word ‘soccer’ is taken from ‘Association.’
Attack staller: An attacker who slows an attack unnecessarily.
Attacker: The player that possesses the ball.
Attacking: Also called "Offense", when a team possesses the ball. There are two basic kinds of attacks; direct (passing the ball directly and rapidly toward the goal), and indirect (passing the ball sideways and backwards in search of weaknesses in the defense).
Attacking half: The one half of the field containing the other team's goal.
Attacking midfielder: The midfielder that plays directly behind the forward players, and sets up goals by passing the ball to forwards, and in this way, supports the offense.
Attacking plan: A plan for how a team will execute a play.
Attacking team: The team that possesses the ball.
Attacking third: The one third of the field containing the other team's goal.
Ayso: American Youth Soccer Organization. An administrative entity, which sets rules and provides resources and information to youth soccer leagues around the country.
Back four : often used to describe the defensive line, e.g. right and left back and two central defenders
Back header: A player uses his head to pass a ball backwards.
Back tackle: A defender tries to seize the ball from the carrier by the defender swinging his leg from behind to the front of the ball.
Backs: Refers to defenders. In a four back set, two center backs play between the left back and right back.
Ball carrier: The player who possesses the ball.
Ball in and out of play: For the ball to pass out of play, all of it must be outside all of the sideline or goal line (the lines can be up to five inches wide). Thus, a ball on the line is in play. Even a ball resting on the ground just outside the line is in play if any part of it is projecting over the line. Similarly, a goal is not scored until all the ball has passed over all the goal line. The position of the player controlling or dribbling the ball does not matter he can be standing or running with both feet outside the touchline, but as long as the ball is in play the game goes on.
Ball watching : describes a soccer player who is not aware of what's going on around them as they are more intent on focusing on the ball rather than players and situations building around them
Ball : the spherical object that the game revolves around!
Banana kick: A strategic kick used to angle the ball around an obstacle.
Bicycle kick: A volley in which the player kicks the ball over his own head. This is not just a simple overhead kick, which can be accomplished keeping one foot on the ground. In the true bicycle kick, the player has both feet off the ground. With his body "floating" horizontally he uses a rapid pedaling motion of both legs (hence the bicycle reference) to kick the ball backward. The player is, in effect, performing a somersault as he kicks. This allows him to get his feet above the level of his head so that the trajectory of the ball can be kept down, essential for one of the bicycle kick's most spectacular uses as a shot on goal. The bicycle kick should not be confused with the Scissor Kick.
Blind side : playing the ball to the opposite side of where an opponent is focused
Block tackle : strong frontal tackle
Booking: See Caution.
Booter: Ugh! This, I suspect, is the invention of some deservedly obscure headline writer looking for an easy way of identifying soccer players. The word has an aura of heavy clumsiness about it, and no self respecting soccer enthusiast should be caught dead using it. In any case, "to boot" has a more specific soccer meaning and should not be used as though it means simply "to kick." To boot the ball in soccer is to kick it hard and long and usually high; an aimless, thoughtless sort of wallop that is the very antithesis of good soccer.
Box: The box means the penalty area. Sometimes called the 18 yard box, to distinguish it from the goal area, which is the 6 yard box (for those with a metric turn of mind, the corresponding measurements are 16.5 meters and 5.5 meters).
Box : the penalty area / 18 yard box where strikers do the damage
Break: Also called "Advantage", players quickly advance the ball down the field toward the opponent's goal before defenders can get the ball.
Breakaway: Also called "Fast Break" or "Counterattack"; an attacker quickly moves in behind defenders leaving only the goalie between the attacker and the goal.
Breakaway : counter attack where rapid movement is made into forward space. Counter attacking soccer is a strategy employed by teams when playing away from home.
Caf: Confederation Africaine de Football, the Confederation in charge of African soccer.
Call: up When a player is asked to play for a national team.
Calling : communication between soccer players e.g. give him a call
Cap: An appearance in a game for one’s national team. At one time, it was common for a player called into a national team to be given a cap to mark the occasion.
Carrying the ball: A foul is called on the goalkeeper for taking more than 4 steps while bouncing or holding the ball.
Caution: When the referee shows a player the yellow card, usually in response to an action that is not in the spirit of fair play. A second caution in a single match results in the player being shown the red card. See also Red Card
Center: A pass from the sidelines to a player in the center of the field.
Center circle: Also called "Center Spot", the marked, center of the field where kickoffs are made.
Center line: Also called "Midfield Line", this is the line that divides the field in half.
Central defender: The player who guards the field directly in front of the goal.
Channels : area approximately 15 yard from the touchline
Charge: A player runs into an opponent, either legally or illegally.
Chest trap: To use the chest to control or slow the ball while in the air.
Chip pass: Passing the ball into the air using the chest in order to evade an opponent.
Chip shot: A pass lofted into the air and over the goalie's head in an attempt to make it under the crossbar and into the goal.
Chip : short lofted pass or shot that gets the ball in the air
Clear: To kick or head the ball away from the goalmouth, thus killing an immediate threat to the goal. In theory, there ought to be two types of clearance good, in which the ball is passed to a teammate to start an attack, or bad, in which the ball is hoofed anywhere. In practice, the first, good, type of clearance is always referred to as a pass or as starting an attack. The words clear and clearance almost always describe those panic situations in which a defender is under pressure and is quite happy to boot the ball aimlessly upfield or out of play.
Closing down : players should advance to an opponent with the ball in an attempt to stall play or win back possession
Commit : getting your opponent to commit to a course of action that your player can then do the opposite too
Concacaf: The Confederation of North, Central American and the Caribbean Association Football, the old name for the Confederation in charge of soccer in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. CONCACAF was briefly called The Football Confederation, though many people still referred to it by the old name.
Conditioned play : where an artificial restriction is placed upon players so that they are forced to perform a specific technique, skill or tactic
Confederation: One of six regional bodies that govern groups of national soccer associations. See also CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, CAF, AFC, UEFA, OFC.
Conmebol: La Confederacion Sudamericana de Futbol, the Confederation in charge of South American soccer. Also known as CSF.
Consolation match: A tournament between losers of the two semifinal games to determine the third place team.
Control (ball) : bringing the ball under control by cushioning its arrival at a player with a surface on the body
Control (play) : possession and tempo are the key to having control of the soccer game. Oh yes, and a couple of goals!
Corner flags: Flags that mark the corners of the playing field.
Corner kick: a free kick taken by an attacking player whenever a defender last touches the ball before it completely crosses the goal line.
Corner : dead ball restart situation where a player touches the ball last and it travels over their own goal line.
Counterattack: Also called "Fast Break", and "Breakaway", a play begun when the ball is obtained on a turnover from the other team. There are two kinds A slow, controlled attack that involves many short passes in all directions; the other is moving the ball directly forward into the other team's "danger zone" as quickly as possible.
Cover : defensively where a second soccer player provides cover to another player. This follows the defensive soccer principles of first and second defender.
Coverage: Defense players are covering important areas of their "danger zone" and in front of their goal.
Create: To create scoring opportunities.
Creating space: A player creates space around the ball carrier by moving without the ball in order to draw defenders away from him.
Cross: A pass from near the touchlines that is directed towards the area in front of the goal. A cross is usually intended to be headed or volleyed with the foot into the goal by a teammate.
Cross : a long pass often in the air that is played diagonally from the flanks or channels into the box
Cross, far post : long cross from a corner that misses out the penalty box and aims for the furthest post
Cross, inswinging : a cross which arcs from the center of the pitch to the goal area
Cross, near post : shortish cross aimed at the nearest post
Cross, outswinger : a cross which arcs from the by line out to the center of the soccer pitch
Csf: See CONMEBOL.
Cushioning the ball: When a player catches a pass, he relaxes his body in a way that absorbs the impact in order to control the ball.
Cut down the angle: The goalie moves out in front of the goal closer to an attacker to widen the barrier and create less net to shoot at.
Cut off: A player positions himself between an attacker and the player's goal, forcing the attacker toward the sidelines.
Danger zone: The goal area where most shots are scored.
Dangerous play: an action on the field ruled by the referee that will likely cause an injury; will at minimum draw a yellow card but could draw a red card for the offending player.
Dead ball: When play is stopped and the ball is not moving, it is a dead ball. All free kicks, including penalty kicks, have to be taken from a dead i.e., stationary ball.
Decoy run : where a soccer player executes a run to draw attention from the intended play. Also known as creating space.
Defend deep: Keeping defense deep in the defense half of the field.
Defender: A player positioned in front of his goalkeeper who is primarily focused on stopping the opposition’s attackers from scoring.
Defenders: Team players not in possession of the ball who are defending their goal.
Defenders : players who should stop, hold up and minimize any attempts on goal
Defense: The object of keeping the other team from scoring.
Defensemen: Also called "Fullbacks", the players whose main objective is to prevent the other team from scoring.
Defensive half: The one half of the field that contains the goal.
Defensive third: The one third of the field that contains the goal.
Deflection: The ball bounces off of a player.
Deliver the ball: A pass that generally results in a scoring opportunity.
Direct free kick: awarded as the result of a personal foul, such as kicking, tripping, holding or pushing; the kick is taken from the point of the infraction and the designated player taking the kick may score directly without another player having to touch the ball.
Direct kick: After a foul, a team is awarded a free kick, in most cases, a direct free kick. A direct kick can result in a goal; a player can use the kick to take a shot directly on the goal and score. See free kick.
Dismissal: Ejection from a match as a result being shown a red card.
Diving header: A player dives toward the ground to strike the ball with his head.
Division: Most domestic leagues have multiple divisions, separate leagues based on performance where clubs can move between divisions through promotion and relegation. Major League Soccer in the United States is one of few professional leagues with only one division.
Domestic league: The home league based on geography. Normally, FIFA requires clubs to play in the league of the country where they are located. Major League Soccer, for example, is the domestic league of the United States.
Drag the ball: A strategy that involves moving the ball slowly along the ground with one foot in an effort to protect the ball from a defender.
Draw: A game that ends tied.
Dribbling: When a player runs with the ball at his or her feet, directing the ball with small, quick touches.
Dribbling : the art of close control while moving with the soccer ball at the feet
Drive: Also called "Power Shot"; to strike the ball with the top of the foot, or "laces".
Drop ball: The referee drops the ball between two players in order to restart the game.
Drop kick: The goalkeeper drops and then kicks the ball after it bounces off the ground.
Dummy : similar to decoy, any trick, technique or skill that unbalances or confuses an opponent and can send them the wrong way in order to gain an advantage
Early ball : simple phase of soccer play where an immediate pass is played to a team mate at the earliest opportunity, often to exploit space
Eighteen: The "Penalty Box Line", which runs 18 yards out from the goal line into the field.
End line: The lines extending from the goal line to the corners of the field; If the defending team puts the ball over the end line, the attacking team is awarded a corner kick. If the attacking team puts the ball over the end line, the defending team is awarded a goal kick.
Endline: Also called "Goal Line"; the line, which runs along its width directly in front of the goal, that defines the end of the playing field and which the ball must cross in order to score a goal.
English football association: An association of British soccer teams formed in 1863 to establish the sport's rules and regulations.
Equalizer: The tying goal in a game.
European cup: Final tournament played among Europe's top teams.
Extra time: The overtime period used to decide tied, or drawn, games. Most leagues let draws stand, but in some knockout competitions, a 30 minute overtime divided into two 15 minute halves is used. Currently, FIFA employs a ‘golden goal’ extra time where the first team to score wins. If the game is still tied at the end of extra time, the game is decided by penalties.
F.A.: Football Association; in cooperation with FIFA and other leading soccer organizations, F.A. helps maintain soccer rules and regulations.
Fair charging: Also called "Shoulder Charging", a legitimate tackle that can be used to gain possession of the ball.
Fake: Also called "Feint"; a deceptive move made by a ball carrier to fake the opponent into thinking the carrier is going to make a pass in another direction.
Fakeover : technique where a player looks as if they are to take the ball from their team mate who is in possession but they don't and just run past each other
Far forward: The player positioned ahead of teammates who is farthest from the ball.
Far fullback: The fullback, or defenseman, farthest from the ball.
Far midfielder: The midfielder (positioned between the fullbacks and the forwards) farthest from the ball.
Far post: Also called "Back Post", the vertical beam (there are two beams that form either side of the goal) that is farthest from the ball.
Far stopper: The farthest stopper (a center fullback who stops attacks in the center of the field) from the ball.
Fast break: Also called "Breakaway", and "Counterattack", an attacker gets behind defenders and advances to the goal, undefended.
Federation: See Association.
Feint : an action that attempts to confuse and trick an opponent e.g. step over, scissors, Beardsley, Ronaldhino, Ronaldo, Cryff all have feints named after them.
Field: Soccer fields are by no means all the same size. International rules allow substantial variation, but the length (from 100 to 130 yards) must always be greater than the width (50 to 100 yards). Excessively narrow fields are a problem in the USA. Many soccer fields are modified football fields, whose playing width of just over 53 yards can rarely be sufficiently enlarged to give the minimum 70 yards that a satisfactory soccer field needs. See also Pitch.
Fifa: The acronym of Fédération Internationale de Football Association, World football’s governing body, made up of the member confederations and associations, is responsible for staging international competitions like the World Cup and setting the international standards for soccer.
Fifty: FIFTY BALL A loose ball, or a badly placed pass, that is as near to a player of one team as it is to a player of the opposing team, allowing both an equal chance of controlling it. Bad soccer, in which players lack the technique to control the ball properly, is often a succession of ugly little tackling battles for possession of fifty fifty balls.
First attacker: The player in who possesses the ball.
First defender: A player is strategically positioned near the ball.
First touch : vital skill of any soccer player is to be able to get the ball under control and set up their next option, often known as their first touch
Fixture: A scheduled match , See match.
Flank : the 10 15 yards from the side lines, often where crosses come in from
Flick header: A player redirects the ball by ricocheting it off the top or side of the head.
Flick pass: A quick, strategic pass using the outside of the foot, usually close to the goal.
Flight : referred to the flight of the soccer ball
Floor: The ground, on the soccer field.
Foot trap: A player controls a ground ball with his use of the foot.
Football: What soccer is referred to as, in other countries. In the U.S., the popular sport that evolved out of soccer and rugby.
Football confederation, the: See CONCACAF.
Formation: Players form positions on the field.
Forward: A player positioned at the front of a formation responsible for trying to score goals.
Forward line: Forwards consisting mainly of "strikers" and "wingers" who work cooperatively on the field to try and score goals.
Forward pass: The ball is passed in the direction of the opponent's goal.
Forwards: Players positioned ahead of teammates whose main job is to score the goals.
Foul: A stop in play when the referee judges a violation against an opposing player. The team that suffers the foul is awarded with a free kick unless the foul is committed by a defensive player inside his own penalty area, in which case the foul results in a penalty kick.
Fourth official: Stationed on the sideline near the center of the field, this official signals substitutions and the amount of time added by the referee at the end of each half.
Free kick: A kick given to the team that has suffered a foul at the spot of the infraction. The kicker is given a ten yard buffer between the spot of the kick and the first opposing player. A free kick is usually direct, meaning the kicker can score without the ball having to touch another player before it enters the goal. An indirect free kick is used for minor fouls in or near the penalty area that require the ball to touch another player before crossing the goal line.
Free kick : dead ball restart situation when play has been stopped by the referee for an infringement of the laws of the game
Friendly: An international match that is not a part of an official competition. Also refers to club games that do not officially count in league or competition standings.
Front header: To strike the ball in the air using the forehead.
Front tackle: A defender approaches an attacker head on with intent to kick the ball away from the attacker.
Fullbacks: Also called "Defensemen", players who are not in possession of the ball.
Funnel: The strategic manner in which players concentrate their efforts on achieving the goal as they advance from their field positions closer toward the goal.
Game winner: The goal scored that results in a win for the team. I.e., if the score was previously 1 1, whoever scores the goal to make it 2 1 scores the game winner (even if the same team continues to score and the final score is, e.g., 4 1). If a team wins by 1 0, the sole goal scorer also scored the game winner.
Give and go : were a player passes the ball and them moves to receive the ball back from the player they played it to also known as wall pass or 1 2
Goal: All goals, under international rules, must be scored they cannot be awarded by the referee. If a defender (other than the goalkeeper) punches the ball away from the goal, the referee cannot award a goal, even though the ball was clearly going into the net, and even though the defender's action was flagrantly illegal. The referee will eject the player who handled the ball, and give the attacking team a penalty kick.
Goal area: The designated area in front of the goal, 20 yards wide by 6 yards deep, where goal kicks are made.
Goal kick: a free kick taken either by the goalkeeper or member of the defending team after the attacking team puts the ball over the goal line.
Goal line: Also called "End Line", the boundary line that runs just in front of, and parallel to the goal at each end, which the ball must cross in order to score points.
Goal lines: lines which runs from corner flag to corner flag across each end of the field of play and which the goal is situated; represents the end of the playing area at the far end of each side of the field.
Goal mouth: The goal's entrance.
Goal posts: The vertical beams on either side of the goal.
Goal side : the area between ball and the goal when defending
Goal : something every team needs to focus on, whether its defending or scoring!
Goalie: Also called a "Goal Keeper"; the player positioned in front of the goal whose job is to defend the goal.
Goalkeeper: This is the soccer term, sometimes shortened to goalie, or keeper. Beware of imitations, especially one labeled "goaltender." The trouble with goaltender is that it is a hockey term and it is likely to bring with it ideas that cannot be applied to soccer. A hockey goaltender is frequently credited with having "registered a shutout," and with a small goal (6 feet by 4 feet) to guard, it is possible for him to single handedly defy a barrage of shots. It is theoretically possible for a soccer goalkeeper to do the same. Possible, but rare. His goal is eight times as large (twenty four feet by eight feet) and to remain unbeaten for 90 minutes he needs a lot of help from the defenders playing in front of him. In fact, it is probably not an exaggeration to say that in most soccer shutouts, thanks to his teammates' superior defensive play, the goalkeeper has relatively little to do.
Goals: standing in the center of the goal lines; each goal consists of two wooden posts, 24 feet apart, and a crossbar, 8 feet above the ground.
Goaltender: See Goalkeeper.
Ground: Another word for a soccer stadium, mostly used in reference to European stadiums.
Guard: See Mark.
Hacking: To kick an opponent's legs.
Half: one of two periods in a match.
Half volley: Kicking the ball on a drop kick as soon as it touches the ground.
Half volley : when a player volleys (using their laces)an upward bouncing ball that has just landed in front of them
Halfback: Also called "Midfielder", the player positioned between the fullbacks and the forwards.
Halves: Also called "Periods"; the game is split into two 45 minute segments, or "halves".
Hand ball: An offense in soccer, obviously. What is not so obvious is that the term "hand" includes any part of the arm below the armpit.
Handball: infraction called when a player other than a goalkeeper intentionally plays a ball with his hand; if a defender handles within the penalty area, a penalty shot is awarded; if the goalkeeper handles the ball outside the penalty area, a direct free kick is awarded.
Hat trick: A player scores three or more goals in one game.
Head: To head the ball is to play it with the forehead, whether the intention is a clearance, a pass, or a shot at goal. The British describe all three under the general term "header," but the American term "head shot" to describe a header that is intended as a scoring effort is a useful addition to soccer's vocabulary (and, more than likely, another term of American origin that the English will refuse to adopt).
Header: When a player strikes or deflects the ball with his head to pass or shoot.
Heading : using the head to direct the balls flight
High press : tactical deployment of the soccer team where all players apply immediate pressure to the opponents when possession is conceded, often in opponents half
Hollywood ball : an ambitious pass that is only seen in the movies!
Hook: A curve ball caused by a kick that "spins" it.
Hopped pass: A pass made high enough in the air to clear players' ability to catch it.
Ifab: International Football Association Board; an entity comprised of FIFA and British soccer organizations that officially approves changes in international soccer rules.
Indirect free kick: awarded for less serious infractions to the team fouled; for a goal to be scored on an indirect free kick, a player other than the kicker must touch the ball before it can be scored; the kick is awarded from the point of infraction.
Indirect kick: A free kick that must be touched by one other person (from either team) before it can result in a goal. This kick cannot enter the goal straight off the shot and be called a goal. In indirect kick situations, you will see the ‘tap’ phenomenon one player will tap the ball a few inches to a fellow player, who will then take a direct shot on goal. See free kick.
Injury time: See Stoppage time.
Instep drive: A straight shot taken with the instep of the foot.
Instep : upper surface of the foot, when coaching players it's the laces part of the boot!
Inswinger : where the flight of the ball arcs towards the target
International: 1. A match between two national teams from separate countries. 2. A player that plays for his national team.
Jockeying : delaying and holding up play, not diving in with a tackle but staying up right and preventing the advancement of the opponent
Juggle: To keep the ball above the ground using any part of the body except the arms and hands.
Keeper: An abbreviation, See Goalkeeper.
Kicker: Like the odious "booter" (q.v.), sometimes used to identify a soccer player. It should be shunned. It is not a particularly pleasant word and it already has a specific soccer meaning. A kicker is a player who tends to kick opponents more than he kicks the ball a dirty player.
Kickoff: A player starts or restarts the game by kicking the ball from the "center circle" to a teammate.
Kill the ball: To stop the ball "dead" with the foot.
Killer ball: A pass, usually a "through" or "long" pass, which sets up a goal.
Killer pass : a perfectly timed and weighted pass through a defense on to the foot of a team mate
Last defender: The last field player nearest to the goal.
Late tackle: Delayed tackle; player contacts the ball carrier after the carrier has passed the ball.
Late tackle : an unfair challenge, where a soccer player commits a tackle after an opponent has already played the ball
Laws of the game: The 17 official soccer rules as determined and published by FIFA.
Ldmf: Left Defensive Midfielder.
Lead pass: A pass made ahead of a receiver.
League: A blanket term meant to cover the multiple divisions that make up most domestic leagues.
Leg: Each of the two matches in a home and away knockout format.
Line (holding the) : defensive term where the defenders keep an imaginary line to catch opponents offside
Line of recovery : when a player is beaten, this is the line on which they retreat back towards their own goal to get goal side of the attack
Linesman: Former term for assistant referee. See Referee.
Linesmen: The two officials stationed along the sidelines who monitor the offside rule and point out fouls to the referee.
Linkmen: Also called "Midfielders" or "Halfbacks"; players positioned between the Fullbacks and the Forwards. They "link" the two positions by supporting them both.
Loft: Also called "Lob"; a foot pass that sends the ball into the air.
Lofted pass : a high pass executed by kicking the bottom half of the ball sending it into the air
Long ball: A long pass, such as one made from the Fullbacks to the Goalkeeper.
Long corner: A long "cross" or corner kick of the ball toward the goal.
Major league soccer (mls): This is the top professional playing league in the United States. Governed by the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF), the league includes 10 teams in two divisions, and has a playoff round with a championship. The season begins in April and runs through October.
Man: to Man A one on one defense strategy in which a defender is assigned to "mark" or guard a player from the other team.
Man to man marking : a system that can be deployed where individuals are given specific tasks of marking individuals
Mark: In man to man coverage the defender is said to mark (rather than guard) the attacker. The closer he plays to him, the tighter the marking; the further away, the looser the marking.
Mark the ball: Instead of marking an opponent, a player marks or defends the multiples zones, or spaces, between the ball and the net.
Mark : to cover a player who may or may not have the ball, prevent a player from receiving the ball
Match: A regulation game. A standard international game features two 45 minute halves with the referee keeping time on the field. The clock does not stop until the end of the half, with the referee adding time to account for injuries and stops in play. Also known as a game, tie, or fixture.
Midfield: Area between the Forwards and the Fullbacks.
Midfield anchor: Also called "Defensive Midfielder"; the player situated near the center line just in front of his team's defense, and who is assigned to mark the toughest offensive player.
Midfield line: Also called or "Center Line"; the line at the center of the field that divides the playing field in half.
Midfielder: A player positioned between the forwards and defenders, midfielders control traffic in the middle of the field and the transition between attack and defense.
Midfielders: Players positioned behind the forwards who make passes between the fullbacks and the forwards.
Misl: Major Indoor Soccer League. Predecessor to the MSL, a U.S. indoor league begun in 1977. Games consisted of 6 players on each side, and played on hockey rinks converted into soccer fields.
Mismatch: Man to man markers are mismatched, skill wise.
Mls: Major League Soccer; outdoor league begun in 1995.
Movement off the ball: A concept referring to strategies of teammates not in possession of the ball, and critical to both offensive and defensive teamwork.
Msl: Major Soccer League; a U.S. indoor soccer league existing from 1990 1992, and formerly the MISL.
Narrowing the angle : closing down a player so that the angle they have to shoot or pass is reduced significantly
Nasl: North American Soccer League; a major U.S. outdoor soccer league existing from 1967 1985, which attracted international players and large audiences.
National team: An all star team that represents a country in the various international tournaments e.g. the World Cup, the Olympic Games, the under 20 World Cup, etc. National teams are supposed to consist of the very best players in the country, regardless of which club they play for. They are not permanent teams; they are assembled only to play in specific games or tournaments. The clubs are expected to cooperate by releasing the players for the required period (it may be just two or three days, or a month or more for the World Cup). All of the top soccer nations in the world now have a full time national team coach. Playing for the national team i.e., representing one's country was once considered such an honor that clubs rarely refused to release their players. Nowadays, release is less certain. For the World Cup, yes, pro clubs will release their players. But for other national team games, especially for exhibition games, clubs are not so keen to release their highly paid players, who run the risk of injury or who may miss vital club games while away on national team duty.
Near post: The goal post nearest to the ball.
Near stopper: The stopper, or center fullback who stops attacks at the center, who is closest to the ball.
Net: Often used interchangeably with "Goal", literally refers to the corded material attached to the goal frame which captures the ball.
Npsl: National Professional Soccer League Originally the American Indoor Soccer Association, an indoor soccer league (1984 2001) in which games were played indoors on converted hockey rinks, and by non traditional rules. May also refer to a league (1967) that merged with the United Soccer Association to create the North American Soccer League.
Nutmeg: To pass the ball between a player's legs.
Obstruction: A player uses his body to block an opponent from getting the ball.
Ofc: Oceania Football Confederation, the Confederation in charge of soccer in the Oceania region, which includes Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific island nations.
Off his line: The Goalie is off the goal line, or out from between the two goalposts.
Off the ball: Offense players not in possession of the ball.
Off the ball : movement of players, to create space and provide options
Off the play: Offense or defense players not immediately involved in a pass.
Offense: Also called "Attacking"; when a team has the ball.
Offensive player: Also called "Attacker"; a player who is in possession of the ball. Offensive team
Offside: The word is singular. Offside. How or why the plural version "offsides" arose I have no idea, but it is incorrect.
Offside line: The farthest point down the field that an attacker may be before being considered offside.
Offside offense: Also called "Offside Infraction"; receiving or making a pass from the offside position.
Offside position: A position in which a player is closer to the opponent's goal fewer than two defensemen are between an attacker and the goal.
Offside trap : when a defender(s) acting on a common understanding or trigger moves forward in a line to catch one or more opponents offside
On ball: When a player has the ball, he is said to be "on ball".
On ball attacking: A ball handler strategy to create space for scoring opportunities.
On his line: Opposite "Off His Line", the Goalie is on the goal line, or between the two goalposts.
One touch: A ball is shot or passed from one player to another with one touch, and without stopping. In this case it is said to be a "one touch" shot or "one touch" pass.
One touch soccer : players move the ball quickly and immediately when they receive it
One two : see give and go
Open: An unmarked defensive player.
Open space: Playing field space devoid of defenders, particularly between the ball and goal.
Out of bounds: The ball is out of the playing field boundaries.
Out of play: A play is stopped usually because the ball is out of bounds or a foul has been called.
Outlet pass: Often used to start a counterattack, a defender or goalkeeper kicks the ball from near his team's goal close to the opposing goal.
Outswinger : when a ball is played but curls away from the target
Overlap: An outside Forward advances toward the center of the field to allow space for his teammate to move the ball toward the sideline.
Overtime: Time is added to an intercollegiate or championship "Regulation Game" that ends in a tie, to determine the winner.
Own goal: It is, obviously, possible for a player to kick, or head, or deflect, the ball into his own goal. If he does so, the score counts for his opponents; and if the ball clearly would not have gone in without his intervention, then he, unlucky soul, is listed as the scorer with the letters o.g. (for "own goal") after his name.
Pace : the speed of a player or ball
Pass: A play, kick, or strike of the ball with head, chest, or thighs, to a teammate.
Pass : technique to move the ball from one player to another. Various techniques apply, chip, half volley, push, lofted etc.
Penalties: A way of deciding tied games. Each team nominates five penalty takers who alternate taking penalty kicks. If the two teams are still tied after each has taken five penalty kicks, they continue alternating in the same fashion until one team has a goal more than the other after both have taken the same number of kicks. The shots are taken in rounds up to five. If the teams are still tied, extra rounds of penalties are added to determine the winner.
Penalty: Beware! The word "penalty"? has a very specific (and very dramatic) meaning in soccer. It should be applied only to the award of a penalty kick i.e., the 12 yard direct free kick taken from the penalty spot with only the goalkeeper to beat. It should never be used in connection with any other offense or free kick situation.
Penalty arc: The arc adjoining the penalty area, extending 10 yards from the penalty spot.
Penalty area: The 18 yard rectangle in front of the goal where the goalkeeper is allowed to touch the ball with his hands. Also the area where harsh fouls committed by the defending team result in penalty kicks.
Penalty area– the area in front of each goal in which the goalkeeper can use his/her hands.:
Penalty kick: awarded for any personal fouls or for intentionally handling of the ball by a defending player within the penalty area; a penalty shot is taken from the designated spot, 12 yards from the goal line in the center of the penalty area, with only the goalkeeper defending the shot.
Penalty shot: Kick made from the penalty spot.
Penalty spot: The small marked spot from which penalty shots are made, extending 12 yards out from the center of the goal line.
Penetrate: To advance the ball from behind defending opponents.
Penetration : a phaseof play where a team breaks through the opponents defense
Period: Soccer games are (or should be) divided into two halves a first half and a second half. The term "period" belongs in games like football and hockey that are played in quarters or thirds. See also Time.
Peripheral vision : being able to see wider than just what's direct in front vision
Pinnie: A mesh or nylon training vest used in practice.
Pitch: An English word for a sports field. It is not specific to soccer there are cricket and field hockey and rugby pitches as well. It has come into vogue in the United States, mouthed by those who feel they are showing some special inside knowledge when they use it. They are merely being pretentious. The American term "field" is all that is required.
Pitch : the lovely green turf, where soccer should be played
Play: A strategic pass or kick of the ball to a teammate.
Play maker : a designated player who has good vision, excellent passing ability, can open up defense lines and create opportunities
Play on: A referee has determined that no foul or reason to stop a game has been committed.
Play on the break : counter attacking soccer
Playoff: An end of the season game that determines the champion.
Plyometrics : drills and exercises that develop explosiveness in players
Pop: It To pass the ball to yourself.
Possession: To have control of the ball.
Pressure training : a method of training that requires rapid repetition for a limited time
Professional foul: Also called "Tactical Foul"; a deliberate foul played to prevent the opponent from scoring a goal without being awarded a free kick; is considered an act of misconduct and player is given a yellow warning card.
Promotion: In multiple division leagues, advancing from a lower division to a higher division.
Promotion and relegation: Soccer leagues throughout the world usually feature a number of divisions. The weakest clubs are in the lower Divisions, the strongest in the top Division. The composition of the Divisions changes each season. The top clubs in each lower division (usually the first three or four) are promoted to the division above, whose bottom three or four clubs are relegated (demoted) to replace them. Thus each division features two competitions one at the top to decide the championship and promotion places, the other at the bottom to avoid relegation.
Punt: A useful way of measuring the sophistication of a soccer crowd is to listen to their reaction to a long punt by the goalkeeper. If they ooh! and aah! as the ball arcs downfield for 40 or 50 yards, chances are that they don't know too much about soccer. A long punt, assessed by football criteria, is impressive. By soccer standards it is next to useless. As a pass, the high towering punt has two major drawbacks The ball is in the air too long, allowing opponents plenty of time to cover the intended receiver, and when the ball finally does come down, the angle and the speed of its descent make it extremely difficult for a forward to control. The defender, of course, doesn't have to control it he merely heads or hoofs it back whence it came. To the reader who asks why, then, do goalkeepers constantly punt the ball, I can only reply that it is a total mystery to me, too.
Push pass: An advance of the ball using the inside of the foot, which appears as if the player is pushing the ball.
Qualifying draw: Two years before "The Draw", teams are divided into groups to ultimately determine World Cup qualifiers.
Qualifying matches: Two years prior to the "World Cup", teams hold games to determine World Cup qualifiers.
Receiver: Player who receives a pass from his teammate.
Receiving : technique required to control an incoming ball
Red card: the card shown to a player being ejected from a match by the referee; players ejected cannot be substituted for, and often a red card offense carries a penalty of additional matches missed.
Referee: The person in charge. His decisions on the field are final. He (or she) starts the game and, because under international rules he is also the official timekeeper, he (and not the scoreboard clock, should there be one) says when it is over. No player can enter or leave the field without his consent. He calls the fouls and has the power to caution players or to eject them from the game. He is also responsible for seeing that the ball and the players' equipment conform to the rules. He has two assistant referees, but their function is strictly advisory. If an assistant, for example, waves his flag to indicate offside, the referee does not have to whistle for the infraction he is entitled to overrule the assistant and allow play to continue.
Regulation game: Game consisting of two, 45 minute periods.
Relegation: See Promotion and Relegation.
Rounds: Segments that the competition stage of a tournament in divided into. In a World Cup soccer tournament, five Rounds are played.
Rugby: Predecessor to American football, but still existing as a form of the popular sport, derived from English soccer in the 1800s. Differs from soccer, but similar to American football, in that players can receive, pass, and carry the ball with their hands, and contact each other.
Running with the ball : player in possession exploits space by carrying the ball quickly and efficiently, different to dribbling a player must beat an opponent
Save: the goalkeeper stopping a scoring opportunity by either catching the ball or knocking it away from the goal.
Save : when the goal keeper or defender prevents a goal!
Scissor kick: The side volley. The ball is kicked in the direction that the player is facing. The player leans sideways, throws his legs upward, and volleys the ball forward with a scissor like motion as the kicking leg passes forward over the other leg. Not to be confused with the Bicycle Kick (q.v.).
Scorebox: Also called "Danger Zone", refers to the area where goals are scored.
Scorelines: The convention used throughout the soccer world is to name the home team first. Thus, a scoreline of AC Milan 3 Lazio 2, tells you not only that Milan won the game, but also that the game was played in Milan. A scoreline of AC Milan 0 Lazio 1 indicates an away win for Lazio at Milan. The American convention of listing the winning team first is an annoying one to soccer fans, as it fails to indicate the home team. This is often vital information. There are certain two leg cup series (e.g., in the European cup competitions), in which goals scored on an opponent's field may count double. (Soccer, however, does use the American system for tournaments such as the World Cup that are played at a fixed site, and where there is in effect only one home team, the host nation.) See also Aggregate Score.
Scouts : quite often volunteers that watch local junior and youth soccer for professional clubs to eye the talent and recommend them for academy trials
Send off: A player is removed from the game for earning two caution cards, or committing a serious foul during a game, leaving his team short handed.
Sending off: An ejection resulting from a player being shown a red card. See also Red card.
Serious foul play: A player commits a serious act of misconduct and earns a "red card", removing him from the game.
Service: To pass the ball.
Service : used to describe whether or not the attackers / strikers as getting quality balls played into them e.g. "attackers are just not getting the service!"
Set play: A game restarts with a pre planned play.
Settle: A player is able to control the ball after receiving it.
Shadow marking: A defender is assigned to keep a watchful eye on an attacker.
Shadow play : playing without opponents
Shepherding: Also called "Jockeying", "Steering", and "Channeling"; a kind of one on one strategy used by the "first defender" to control the "first attacker".
Shielding: Also called "Screening"; the ball carrier protects the ball from an opponent by positioning himself between his opponent and the ball.
Shielding : keeping possession and control of the ball by using the body to come between the ball and the opponent
Shot: A shot is any attempt to score by a team. The shot can result in a wide or high ball (over the goal), a keeper save, a deflection by another player or the post, or a goal. A shot is not necessarily a shot on goal.
Shot on goal: A shot on goal is any shot that results in a goal or a keeper/player save. All shots on goals count as shots, but not all shots are shots on goal.
Shoulder charge: Legal shoulder tackle between a defender and the attacker to gain possession of the ball.
Show: The ball carrier lets a receiver know with clear body communication that he intends to pass the ball, or a receiver communicates to the carrier that he is open to receiving the ball.
Show : when a player makes themself available
Shut out: The goalie prevented any shots from entering the net during a game, resulting in 0 points scored by the opposing team.
Shutout: See Goalkeeper.
Side tackle: One of the most effective tackles in which a defender moving in the same direction as an attacker tries to redirect the ball using the foot nearest to the attacker, or using a shoulder charge, in order to gain possession of it.
Sideline: The sides of the field designated by the touchline.
Sidelines: Also called touchlines. A ball that goes out of play over the sidelines is said to have gone into touch.
Single elimination: One loss eliminates a team from the tournament.
Six: Also called "Goal Area" or "Goal Box"; the six yard box in front of the goal line.
Sliding tackle: A player tries to gain possession of the ball by sliding into the ball feet first.
Sliding tackle : when a defending player goes to ground and uses an extended leg to win the ball
Slot: Space between defenders.
Small: Sided Game A game with fewer than 11 players per team, usually in youth leagues.
Soft pass: A light, ground pass with a spin.
Space : creating , exploiting and running into space
Spot: KICK A penalty kick, so called because the ball is placed on the penalty spot, 12 yards in front of goal.
Spot kick: Another word for a penalty kick because of the dot drawn on the field to mark the place from which penalty kicks should be taken. See also Penalty kick.
Square ball : a ball that is played from one side of the pitch to another, laterally
Square pass: Also called "Flat Pass"; a pass made across the field, parallel to the end line.
Starters: Players positioned on the field at the start of the game.
Statistics: Inevitably, Americans have brought statistics to soccer, a sport in which, traditionally, records have not been particularly plentiful. The theory behind most of the statistics to plot the shape and progress of a game with figures is excellent. But soccer is a game that is proving stubbornly resistant to having its portrait drawn in columns of numbers. I can only say that soccer statistics, particularly those such as shots on goal, or saves, should be viewed with caution. Many of them will be judgment calls by the scorekeeper, who may or may not be reliable. Also, special soccer considerations must be taken into account when assessing the figures (see the discussion of shutouts under Goalkeeper).
Stats: Short for ‘statistics,’ stats refer to a player or team’s ‘accomplishments’ throughout any given game. For instance, during games, statisticians keep track of shots, saves, fouls, etc., to create stats sheets to follow the players’ progress. Individual and team stats can have a great bearing on playing time, game outcome, all star selections, team rankings, and more.
Steal: A defensemen seizes the ball from an opponent.
Stoppage time: Time added by the referee at the end of each half to account for injuries and stops in play.
Stopper: Players who stop attacks at the center of the field.
Strength on ball: It is difficult to "steal" the ball from the carrier.
Stretched defense: There is too much space between defensemen.
Stretching the play : making the pitch big, wide and deep
Striker: A term that can be used interchangeably with forward, though it sometimes refers specifically to a forward that is his team¿s primary scoring threat.
Substitution: A non player replaces a player on the field.
Sudden death: In the case of overtime, a first strike goal ends the game, resulting in a win.
Support play : team mates move into and create space and options for the player in possession
Sweeper: In some formations, a single defender that plays between the keeper and the other defenders.
Sweeper : specific role on the pitch where a player will sit just in front or behind the defense
Switching play : changing the angle of attack
Tackle: To use the feet in attempting to take the ball from an opponent's feet. A tackle may be accompanied by a legitimate shoulder charge, but there must be no holding, pushing, tripping, elbowing, or hip checking. Clean tackling the ability to strip the ball from an opponent without fouling requires considerable skill. Unfortunately, the leniency shown to defenders has meant that many defenders are not good tacklers. They simply clatter into the guy with the ball, often from behind, and if called for a foul protest, "But I got the ball ref!" Possibly, but only by demolishing the opponent as well. FIFA's claim that its rule changes have banished the more violent tackles from behind is questionable such tackles are still frequently seen.
Tackle : a challenge to win the ball off an opponent
Tackling: Use of the feet or shoulder in an attempt to get the ball away from the carrier.
Tactical foul: Also called "Professional Foul"; a deliberate foul that prevents the opponent from scoring but not being awarded a free kick, and is considered an act of misconduct.
Takeover: An advanced strategy in which a ball carrier moving in one direction "drops" or abandons the ball so a teammate behind him can carry it in another direction.
Taking a player on : when a player in possession runs at a defending player with the aim of going past them
Target man : a striker / attacker (often big and shields the ball well) who should always be available for a pass from the midfield who can then hold up the play until reinforcements arrive
Target player: A player targeted for a specific receiving position whose job is to follow through or create scoring opportunities.
The draw: Selecting and placing qualifying World Cup teams into groups.
Thigh trap: A ball handler uses his thigh to slow or control the ball.
Thirds : the pitch can be segmented roughly into a defensive, a midfield and attacking third all of which are approximately 35 yards (give or take a couple)
Three: on one Break Three strikers versus one defensive player.
Through ball: A pass ‘through’ the defense into space intended for a teammate to run onto it.
Through pass : a pass which is played between two defenders for an attacker to run onto
Throw: IN the method of restarting play when the ball has crossed the touchlines; a throw in is awarded to the opposing side of the team which knocked the ball out of play. 2 feet must remain on the ground with both hands throwing ball behind head evenly.
Tie: Though commonly used in the United States to indicated an even score, in regards to world soccer tie is usually used to mean a match. See also Match.
Tie game: A match is completed with the same number of goals scored.
Time: Traditionally, soccer games have always been divided into two halves 45 minutes per half in professional games, less (30 or 35 minutes) for youth games.
Timeout: The referee alone can stop the clock in soccer. Coaches are not permitted to call timeouts. A FIFA experiment with timeouts during the 1995 U 17 World Cup in Ecuador (coaches were allowed to call one 90 second timeout in each half) was not repeated.
Toe kick: Kicking the ball using the front or toe end of the foot, but should be avoided because of its difficulty to control.
Toe poke: Poking the ball with the front foot, as opposed to the "toe kick"; the preferred method because of a player's ability to control it, and should generally be used by a player in a position to "steal" the ball, or a pass the ball into the goal.
Total soccer: A rarely used method today, but popular with the Dutch in the 1970s, that encourages continuous movement of the ball by adding more defense to the field in order to maximize scoring opportunities.
Touch lines: the boundary lines running the full length of the field on each side of the playing area.
Touchline: The line surrounding the field of play, made up of the sidelines and the end lines.
Track: To "mark", or keep a watchful eye on an opposing player.
Transfer fee: When a player under contract to a club is traded (transferred) to another club, the new club has to purchase the contract, often paying huge sums of money for it. This is the transfer fee it goes to the selling club, not to the player.
Trap: Controlling or slowing the ball with the feet, thighs, or chest.
Travel soccer: Also known as "Select Soccer"; competitive youth soccer so called because it involves traveling to other cities.
Travel team : serious youth / junior soccer where teams regularly play out of state games. US term
Trials : term used to describe a process of evaluation on a players ability and suitability for a team e.g. "we are holding trials to bring in some new players."
Tripping: To trip an opponent, which is a foul.
Turning an opponent : when running at an opponent, the use of feints and fakes to trick the opponent into turning or by pushing the ball past them and causing them to turn
Turnover: Another player gains possession of the ball.
Two: way midfielder A strong and versatile player that direct plays in the midfield area.
Uefa: Union des Associations Européennes de Football (Union of European Football Associations), the Confederation in charge of football in Europe.
Un: sportsmanlike Behavior Conduct on the field that warrants a yellow or red card, as outlined in the referee's official Rulebook.
Under the ball: To keep the ball aloft using head, feet or chest.
United states youth soccer association (usysa): The official governing body of all youth soccer programs in the United States (www.usysa.org), the USYSA creates rules for all levels of youth play and also coordinates activities and events among teams, including state tournaments, ODP programs, and soccer development programs.
Ussf: United States Soccer Association, the governing body of soccer in the U.S.
Usysa: United States Youth Soccer Association; self governing youth soccer organization officially accepted by the USSF in 1974.
Vision: A player foresees possible passes in order to create scoring opportunities.
Volley: To kick the ball before it hits the ground.
Volley : striking the ball before it lands, difficult skill to master but very powerful
Wall: PASS The give and go. So called because in soccer games played by boys in streets, the ball was often rebounded off a wall rather than passed to a teammate.
Wall pass : see give and go
Weight of the pass : key ingredient to a perfect pass, the pace or power of
Wide players : often called wingers who play near the touch line
Width: in Attack Creating space between attackers.
Win: draw loss record A record of a team's game results.
Win the ball: To possess of the ball.
Wings or wingers: Outside Forwards positioned near the Strikers in order to create scoring opportunities.
Women’s united soccer association (wusa) :the first official professional women’s soccer league, currently on hiatus following an exhibition schedule in 2004.
Work permits: In the case of the soccer world, this phrase refers to the necessity of garnering a work permit from a different country if a player wants to play professional soccer in that country. Obtaining a work permit can be a difficult process, and if it doesn’t work out the first time around, a player can apply again the following year.
Work rate : players and teams contribution to the game
World cup: The official international soccer tournament held every four years among the world's top professional teams.
Worry the goalkeeper: To harass the goalie, a foul punishable by a yellow card warning.
Wrong side : when and opponent is allowed to get between the defender and the goal
Yellow card: a caution card showed to a player by the referee after a dangerous play foul; a second yellow card in the same match earns the offending player a red card and automatic ejection; some leagues and tournaments have rules regarding the receipt of yellow cards in successive matches, which often result in a one game ban.
Zonal marking / defense : a system where players have a specific area that they have to cover
Zone: Area surrounding the goal that player's are assigned to mark or defend.