Some good to know Football/Soccer Terms

Ever wondered what some of those terms used by the on air commentators mean when watching your favorite soccer team playing? Whether you are new to the game or a seasoned fan, the below list of football/soccer terms should be helpful in better understanding the Beautiful Game’s lingo.

Soccer Terms

AgentPerson who represents players and negotiates contracts and transfer moves
AssistA pass that releases a player to score a goal. The pass can be on the ground, a flick or a cross
Away goals ruleIn cup competitions if scores are tied over two legs, the team with the most away goals wins
Back-pass ruleLaw stating that deliberate passes from a player to their goalkeeper may not be handled
CapAppearance by a player for their country
CautionYellow card
ChipA pass propelled into the air from a player to a teammate or as a shot on goal
Counter-attackA quick attack by a team after it regains possession of the ball
CrossTo send the ball in to the center for a wide area of the field
Cushion the ballUse of your body to bring the ball under control by reducing its speed
DerbyA game between two rival teams, usually from the same town or city. i.e. Liverpool and Everton
Direct free kickA free kick from which a goal can be scored without anyone else on either team touching the ball
DissentWhen a player uses words or actions to disagree with a referees decision in a disrespectful manner
DistributionThe manner in which the ball is released by a goal keeper or player to teammates
Final thirdAssuming the field is divided into the back, middle and front, the final third for an attacking team is the front third
Game of two halves A popular phrase describing a game in which one half is vastly different from the other in terms of attacking impetus or possession
Golden goalA system used to decide a winner of a game tied after regulation time. If a team is ahead at the end of the first period of extra time they win the game
Hat trickThe scoring of three goals by one player in a single game
Offside trapA defensive tactic used by teams to lure opposing attacking players into offside positions
OverlapTo run ahead of a teammate with the ball in order to give them passing options
Professional foulAn intentional foul by a defender on an opposing attacker about to be clear on goal
Reserve teamA team made up mostly of a club’s youth and fringe players
Route oneSlang for a style of playing that involves long balls kicked up the field from the defence in search of teammates. Popularized by many English teams in the 80s
Silver goalA system used to decide a winner of a game tied after regulation time. The first team to score in extra time wins the game
Sixes and SevensA British phrase used in soccer to usually describe chaotic defending e.g. “…their defence was at sixes and sevens.”
Square passTo pass the ball to a teammate who is across the field but on the same line
Stoppage timeTime added on by the referee at the end of the regular 90 minutes. Usually for injuries, substitutions and time wasting
Total footballA style of play popularized by Johan Cruyff’s Dutch team in the 70s where every player on the team seamlessly switched positions
VolleyA ball kicked by a player when it is off the ground
WingbackA defender on the side of the field given the freedom to carry the ball up the wing
Zonal marking A defensive system in which players are responsible for areas of the field as opposed to marking specific opponents

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