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Soccer Lingo A-Z


soccer ballAmerican Football: term used by non-Americans to distinguish the popular U.S. sport of football from soccer which they also call football.

Assist: the pass or passes which immediately precede a goal; a maximum of two assists can be credited for one goal.

Attacking Midfielder: the most forward-playing midfielder, playing right behind the forwards; she supports the offense by providing passes to forwards to set up goals.

Cap: a recognition earned by a player for each appearance in an international game for his country. (They used to get an actual cap for each game).

Clear: to kick the ball away from one’s goal.

Corner Kick: a type of restart where the ball is kicked from the corner arc in an attempt to score; awarded to an attacking team when the ball crosses the goal line last touched by the defending team.

Cross or Crossing Pass: a pass from an attacking player near the sideline to a teammate in the middle or opposite side of the field; used to give the teammate a good scoring opportunity.

Direct Free Kick: a kick awarded to a player for a serious foul committed by the opposition; the player kicks a stationary ball with no opposing players within 10 yards of her; a goal can be scored directly from this kick without the ball touching another player.

Hand Ball: a foul where a player touches the ball with his hand or arm; the opposing team is awarded a direct free kick.

Hat Trick: Three or more goals scored in a game by a single player.

Pitch: a British term for soccer field.

Red Card: a card that a referee holds up to signal violent behavior or multiple rule infractions and a player’s removal from the game; the player’s team must then play the rest of the game short a player.

Stopper: the defender that marks the best scorer on the attacking team, often the opposition’s striker; exists only in a man-to-man defense.

Striker: a team’s most powerful and best-scoring forward who plays towards the center of the field;

Substitution: replacement of one player on the field with another player not on the field; FIFA rules allow only 3 substitutions per game.

Sudden Death: a type of overtime where the first goal scored by a team ends the game and gives that team the victory; most overtime in soccer is not sudden death.

Sweeper: the defender that plays closest to his own goal behind the rest of the defenders; a team’s last line of defense in front of the goalkeeper.

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