Soccer Lingo And Terminology
As one of the most popular sports in the world, there is a good deal of terminology and jargon surrounding the sport of soccer. Read on to learn more about the terminology used by avid soccer fans and seasoned players.
Basic Soccer Terms
Soccer is a game played all around the world. What comes with its popularity are terms that are specific to the sport. We’ll start by learning about basic lingo used throughout the sport.
Pitch: Another word for the field a soccer game is being played on.
Goal (Score): When the ball is kicked into the net it is a goal, and it counts as one point.
Shot: Any attempt to kick the ball into the goal.
Pass: A ball kicked from teammate to teammate.
Assist: The pass that goes to the player that scores the goal.
Header: Hitting the ball with your head.
Save: The goalie blocks a shot.
Volley: When a player kicks the ball while it is in the air.
Trap: Stopping the ball with your body in order to control it.
Tackle: A player’s attempt to steal the ball from the other team, oftentimes involving a slide.
Cross: A kick from the side of the field into the middle.
Punt: When the goalie drop kicks the ball.
Free Kick: Anytime there is a foul, the team that was fouled gets to kick a stationary ball to resume play.
Goal (net): Goal is also a term that refers to the net (which is where you try to score).
Goalie: A position in soccer with the job of guarding the goal. They are the only players who are allowed to use their hands.
Midfielder: A position in between the defenders and forwards, they specialize in passing and moving the ball toward the goal, from the defensive half of the field to the offensive half.
Forward: Soccer’s attacking position, these players are the furthest up the field and are the ones scoring the most goals.
Rule and Technical Terms
Penalty Area: Made up of two boxes, the six and 18-yard boxes. The goalie may use his hands anywhere in the area.
Handball: A violation whenever a non-goalie touches the ball with their hand or arm.
Penalty/Penalty Kick: If a foul occurs in the goalie box, it is called a penalty. One player from the team that was fouled gets to attempt a penalty kick. The ball is placed 12 yards away from the goal, and only the goalie is allowed to try and stop it.
Penalty shootout: Following a tie, a penalty shootout occurs. It involves each team taking five penalty kicks to decide a winner.
Offside: A violation that occurs when an offensive player is positioned behind the last defender and receives a pass from a teammate in front of the defender, as shown below.
Yellow Card: If an action is thought to be flagrant, the player is cautioned and given a yellow card.
Red Card: A card signifying ejection from the game; it is drawn either by one exceptionally bad action or receiving two yellow cards. Players who are given a red card cannot be replaced by another player, leaving the team down a player. Depending on the league, players who get red cards also must sit out the following game.
Soccer Terms for Coaches
Now that we’ve gone over basic terms and lingo relating to the rules of soccer, here are terms that are useful for understanding the tactics in soccer.
Formation: The arrangement of all 11 soccer players on the field. Two examples are 4-4-2 (four defenders, four midfielders, and two forwards) and 4-3-3 (four defenders, three midfielders, and three forwards).
Advantage: The referee can choose to let play continue even when a foul has happened if, after the foul, the offensive team is still in a favorable position.
Wall: In an attempt to block a free kick, a team will set up a row of players 10 yards away from the kick.
Stoppage time/Added Time: At the end of each half, the referee adds additional time to make up for time delays that took place.
Set Piece: A play designed for when there is a free kick or corner kick.
Professional Soccer Terms
Now that we have covered both the basics and tactical terminology, here is some of the language that is used in professional soccer.
Manager/Coach: The person in charge of a team, responsible for making substitutions and choosing a strategy.
Transfer: A trade of a player to another team in exchange for money.
Transfer Window: A period of time in which transfers from club to club are allowed.
Champions League: A tournament between the best club teams in Europe.
World Cup: The biggest soccer international tournament, it occurs every four years and is made up of 32 national teams that must qualify to participate.
Relegation: If a team finishes in the bottom of its league, it is demoted the following year to a lower league.
Promotion: If a team finishes at the top of its league, it will be promoted to the league above it, replacing the teams that were relegated.
Here are a few commonly used slang words within the soccer community.
Woodwork: The frame of a soccer goal, made up of two posts and a crossbar.
Hat Trick: One player scores three goals in a single game.
Nutmeg: A player kicks the soccer ball through another player’s legs.
Bar Down: The soccer ball hits the underside of the crossbar but still goes in the goal.
Clean Sheet: A team does not allow a goal the entire game.
Own Goal: A player scores a goal in the net that they are defending.
Flop/Dive: A player fakes being fouled in order to get a free kick.
Sent Off: A player is “sent off” when they are given a red card, meaning they aren’t allowed back on the pitch for the rest of the match
List of Basic Soccer Terms
Rule and Technical Terms
List of Professional Soccer Terms
- Transfer Window
- Champions League
- World Cup
List of Soccer Lingo/Slang
- Hat Trick
- Bar Down
- Clean Sheet
- Own Goal
- Sent Off
What are some important soccer terms for beginners?
When first starting off on the soccer field, there are a few terms that would be beneficial to know for a better understanding of the game. A “trap” is stopping the ball with your body or feet in order to control it. A “volley” describes kicking the ball while it is in the air. The term “tackle” refers to making a defensive stop, often by using a slide tackle. A “throw-in” is used to return the ball into play after it goes out of bounds on the sideline. A “corner kick” brings the ball back into play if it goes out of bounds on the goal line after being last touched by the defense, while a “goal kick” is used if it is last touched by the offense. There are many more soccer terms for beginners, but these few should give you a good starting point.
What terms are used to describe a goal in soccer?
Besides simply stating “score a goal” when describing a point in soccer, some terms get a little more specific. For example, a goal that hits off the crossbar and goes down into the net is referred to as going “bar-down”. If a player scores three goals in one match, it is referred to as a “hat trick”. When a player accidentally scores a goal on their own team’s net, it is referred to as an “own goal”.
What are the most important terms for soccer coaches to know?
Some of the most important terms soccer coaches should know before taking the sideline at their club’s match are “formation,” “advantage,” “wall,” “stoppage time,” and “set piece.” Each of these terms describe extremely impactful aspects of soccer, and any coach looking to help their team succeed out on the pitch should know their meaning and context with expert prowess. Soccer coaches need to have an expansive knowledge of the game, in order to best manage and lead their teams on the pitch.