Romez's Soccer Terminology Guide.

Everything related to tactics, coaching and refereeing
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The Italian Mod
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Joined: 19 Jun 2007, 22:03


Everything You Might've Wanted to Know About Soccer Terminology But Were Afraid to Ask: A Guide for Fundamentals for Beginners, and Reaffirming the Basics for Pros


Table of Contents

I was never a fan of these in forum guides, but I am here to please the masses and not myself, so if you may need to get to a certain point in the guide, you can easily do so from here. Each guide is linked with an alphanumeric code, which, if you type into your browser's CTRL + F Find function (CMD + F for you Mac-ers.) and hit 'Next', you will be brought straight to the part you are looking for.

*All terms are in alphabetical order in their sections, as well.*

Code: Select all

Introduction... [INT3]
On-Field Terminology... [OFT6]
### Positional Terminology... [OFT9]
Everyday Discussion Terminology... [EVD2]
Closing Comments [CLO4]
Disclaimer... [DIS1]
Recent Updates Line... [UPD8]

~~~A Roman Intro~~~ [INT3]

Hey guys, this'll be pretty much my first attempt at sitting down and writing a guide for EF. I've done enough writing and typing work elsewhere on various forums, so this should seem pretty straightforward to you. This guide is going to outline some of the most common soccer terminology around. From the stuff you here screamed at you on the field, from your teammates or from the ever boisterous sidelines, or words relating to the sport you might here from an onair commentary or analysis, it should all be covered here. Well, to the best of my ability. Such guides as this are rarely complete; there is not a person or thing anywhere that is perfect, so you are more then welcome to post here with terms you might want added, or any sort of criticism at all. You can also reach me at the following e-mail, which is also my MSN:

Furthermore, I'd like to say that I am writing this guide due to the urging of a forum member most of you guys should know quite well; that being BuzzingBee. New to soccer as she is, she's incredibly smart, and does her best to help all of us, so I thought I'd give a little back. Also, due to the lack of such a guide on the site. I am the entrepreneur, I find and fill the needs. :P Finally, my girlfriend has just recently decided to get into soccer after being so kind as to sit and watch me through so many of mine. Cheers, Kerianne, I hope this helps you as you start off. It's never too late to enjoy a great sport such as association football/soccer.

Enjoy, guys. I know a lot of this is old news to most of you, but if any newer users ever need such a reference point, you can always point them here.

On-Field Terminology [OFT6]

This part of the guide will cover the most common words/commands you will hear shouted while taking part in a game on the pitch. I don't do trick descriptions/naming, there are other guides for that created by other users.

Jargon Note: If, in a definition, you something in italics that has 'See: *insert term here*', that means there is another term outlined that has pretty much the same or a similar meaning or interpretation. Bolded italics means there are one or more related terms that might be useful to look up if you wish to know about this one, and they may or may not be antonyms. (Opposites.)

*insert name*'s Ball

Used by players to communicate with each other, most often in a crowded area, or when someone is unsure of who will make the clearance or go up with the ball. (EX: 'Kieran's!' or 'Scotty's ball!') Can also be known colloquially as 'tagging the ball' or 'putting a name on it'.


Calling for a 'give and go' pass, also known by some as a '1-2' pass, 'triangle' pass or a wall pass. All these terms mean the same thing. You play the ball to a teammate, and then immediately make a run. The person who receives the pass will then instinctively play the ball into space in front of you for you to run onto it, usually leaving a confused defender left behind between you.

See Also: Triangle


Call made by a player at the top of, or outside of, the 18 yard box, who is open and awaiting a pass.


Also 'Into the six.' A player or number of players are in or around the six-yard box and want service from a cross or ball in.

See Also: Ball-In


Called by a referee or by players to alert the ref to the fact. A team with advantage has had a foul committed against them, which the ref recognizes, but they are still in possession of the ball/have an opportunity to continue play in their favour, so the ref has not stopped play. Should the advantage be taken away in a few seconds past the foul, the referee will blow the play down, and the proper restart will be taken for the foul that was previously committed. Also known as 'advantage gone', and you may hear the ref or coaches shout 'Play on!' to indicate no whistle has gone, and that players should play until there is.

Ball In

Called by a player from pretty much anywhere who wants a cross or pass. Can also be used by a player having just played such a ball, alerting his teammate to its approaching if they are not paying attention. A similar request would be 'Through' or 'Put it Through', necessitating a through ball.


See: Lob and Push (Up)

A chip is usually a sort of smaller scale lob, which can either be used to score, particularly when the goalkeeper is off his line (Or, in layman's terms, a little too much away from the net.) or to beat defenders, or orchestrate passes that may be key in defeating an offside trap (The result of a 'Push' which leaves some attackers offside. It is done by putting the tip of ones boot under the ball, and making an exaggerated lifting motion with very little knee movement that is not meant for power or precision, but to lift the ball very high over an opponent.


See: Man On

Another common substitute for 'Man On'. Rarely used by itself, but rather with various adverbs tacked on the end, including 'hard' and 'fast' to help you gauge how fast a purser is gaining on you.


Used to describe when something is further away from the ball then in relation to something else. [EX: Far post, far side, etc.]

See Also: Near

First Time

A command from a player or coach on a team to hit the ball at the first opportunity, usually to strike with intent to score. Also commonly called a 'once-off', 'one and done' or a 'one-timer'. You hit the ball as it is moving, and as soon as it gets to you, without controlling it. Usually used in absence of 'Time'.

First Touch

The initial touch you make when receiving a pass or first gaining control of the ball.


MEANING I): How a player swings his leg through the kick after making initial ball contact. Usually, a deeper follow-through is preferred for accuracy and power, such as swinging the leg right through the ball and hoping off the plant foot, although sometimes, there should be as little follow-through as possible, particularly when one wants to execute a lob or goal kick.

MEANING II): A plead from a coach or player to not give up on a ball they have lost, or chase down and rectify their mistakes. Also known as 'Second chance/touch' and 'Keep on'.


Your teammates will shout this, most likely when you have just successfully taken the ball as a challenge, or even when you merely have the ball in your possession. Variations such as 'I'm going!', 'Gone!', 'Getting there!' all mean the same basic thing... Someone on your team (Follow the direction of the voice... :P) is making a run up field, and want you to supply them with a through ball or lobbed cross.


This is usually a very vocal scream by the keeper as he charges the ball. This is meant to ward off any other players on the keeper's team, and let them know he is laying claim to it, and means to pick it up or clear it forcibly, and perhaps to try and throw off the attacker, if they are on a breakaway.

See Also: *insert name*'s Ball


See: Chip and Switch It

A longer version of a chip, that is also used sometimes as a cross or desperation clearance. Most goal kicks are considered lobs. It is a kick that is taken, not always with a lot of power, but with the intent of a lot of 'loft' or 'air time' so the ball can be cut across the pitch, presumably over obstacles that would normally get in its way if played along the ground. It is preformed by stopping ones follow-through very early, and leaning back to get the appropriate height.

Man On

Despite the gender used here, the term is used in women's soccer and rarely changes wording. Another of the most common onfield terms, it is shouted to inform you that someone from the opposing team is approaching you, and warns you to think fast, and either shield the ball or make a play. Particularly useful if you have your back to someone, or they make a quick, unexpected run.

See Also: Coming

Man to Man

A form of defense where every player is assigned to mark another player on the other team. Players are responsible for defending only that other player that they are assigned, in theory.

See Also: Zone

Mark Up

Simply put, this is a command for everyone to find a person to defend, and ensure they do not score. Also, to ensure that there are no unmarked players, and to alert the team if there are. Most commonly used during set pieces, such as corner kicks, free kicks, etc.


Used to describe anything that is closest to the ball. [EX: Near post, near side, etc.]

See Also: Far


Quite obviously, a demand for quick action. Whether that be taking the shot, making the pass or hitting the cross or what have you, it detonates urgency. Words that might also be used included 'Quickly' and 'Hurry it'.

Off the Ball (OTB) Movement

When your coach asks for more of this, it means you shouldn't be standing around still when you don't have the ball.Only one player out of 22 of you can have it at any one time, so when you don't, you should be running around trying to get in good positions to defend or receive a pass. This known as 'movement off the ball', 'making runs', etc.


See: Time

Someone who is yelling 'Open' has no marker and thus, is primed to receive a pass.


See: Up

A person who is labeling themselves an outlet, is close by, ready for a pass that might relieve some pressure on you, and could possibly spring a quick counterattack down-field.

Overlap (To Overlap)

A person making an 'overlapping run' is running in parallel to the ball carrier, and is poised to make a cutting motion across the field as an option, which allows the player with the ball to continue, or play the ball into space for the runner to continue the attack in a similar fashion.


See: Possession (Stat)

A team in possession has the ball with one of its players. To be in possession is to have control of the ball.

Push (Up)

Usually called by, or in reference to, the defense, this is a signal for all defensive, and anyone hanging in your defensive third, to move up quickly so as to keep with the play, and possibly draw players offside on the other team. A less commonly used variant call would be 'Trap!'.

Send Me

See: Through Ball

A very vocal request for a through ball or pass to be hit for the player to chase, since he is sure he can beat his man in an outright race/tussle for the ball. Called as such because the player wants to be 'sent' after the ball in pursuit, like a letter. Common other terming is 'Send it' 'Stamp it' or, alternatively 'sh*t it through'.


Think in terms of a square.


A square is a shape that is most often thought of like a box. A box with equal lengths of sides. Now, imagine that you have the ball, and are considered a vertex (corner) of the square. When someone calls 'SQUARE!' it means that, directly out from your corner, or, the two sides branching from your corner, is a person who is open for a pass/cross. In short, 'square' is a pleading for a lateral pass; one that is struck in virtually a straight line from your position to a team mate, who is usually, but not always, across from you horizontally.


A similar calling to 'square', support just means you have a teammate close by who is ready for a pass as an outlet, should you need it. This is most often called when you are in a tough situation, shielding the ball from a defender or defenders as you previously had no option to pass the ball.

Switch It

Usually a term used when play is heavy to one side of the field, and runners are going down the opposite side unmarked. A 'switch' is this case would be a cross; normally, as far across field as possible to 'switch up' the focus of play and the ball's position.

Through Ball

A ball that is hit as a pass, not directly to a player, but pushed through the defense, and a little ahead of them, so as to have them run onto it. It is called a 'through ball' because it is hit 'through' the defense, and can cut across the player in order to have them be able to run onto it and lose the defense.


Probably the most common of on-field terminology, it is shouted by pretty much anyone, from players, to coaches, to well meaning fans, to instruct you simply that you have 'time' on the ball. Everyone has their own definition of how much 'time' that really is, but hearing this should give you an idea like, okay, I can think about my next move and dribble a little more into my space, since there is no one directly near me who could pose a threat.


See: 1-2 Pass

Another call for a 1-2 Pass. This is so name because you start out with the ball as Corner #1 of the triangle. You pass it to Corner #2, or your teammate, who then passes it ahead of you as you run. When you receive it, you complete the triangle as Corner #3.


See: First Touch
A touch is any kind of contact you make with the ball, to play it. Someone yelling for you to 'touch it' or 'take that down' is wanting you to touch the ball to gain possession or control of it.

Turning the Corner (To Turn A Corner On Someone)

This is just basically another way of saying you left someone in the dust, or you should try to beat your man. If you pull a trick, and he stumbles and you blow past him, this is the perfect example of 'turning the corner' on the player. Think as if you are walking down a street, perhaps a street block like the square above, and you turn left past a corner. You have left your previous path behind.


The most common command by players/coaches who want people to stop dribbling/screwing around with the ball and simply smash the ball clear and upfield. Another term for it that does not need it's own section is 'Out'.


Called by wingers or anyone currently on the wings of the pitch for a pass to the wing, or down the side of it. I have also heard it called from strikers or the like, who want service from the wing, in the form of a cross or ball in.


A form of marking where a player or group of players is given an imaginary zone on the pitch to defend, and mark or defend whoever enters their zone. A zone can be anything from a small, circular area, to as big as a third of the pitch, depending on how the zone defense is played.

Positional Terminology [OFT9]

This subsection of onfield terminology just describes some common positions on the field, and basic responsibilities of. Nothing huge, just nice to have all in the one resource.

Note: Each definition and term will be accompanied with the same picture, outlining where the particular position fits into an ideal scheme of a formation. It will be circled in pink.

Central Attacking Midfield


A CAM (Central Attacking Midfield) positions themselves just above the midfield, and just behind the strikers, in the center. They are 'forwards' in the true, sense, as they play up to support the strikers and help them score. They most often play alone, without winging attacking midfield, to leave the strength of a midfield core and respect the strikers ability. They find their main usage in formations alone as well, in such formations as 4-3-1-2 and 3-4-1-2. CAMs are especially important in formations that play with a single striker, as they need to be able to supply the balls to a striker, and move quickly to act as an option for the striker.

Example of Famous CAM: Kaká

Center Back


Center backs are often seen as the core of a defense, and several experienced, respected CBs are captains. They hold the defense together at the back, and are most often in charge of marking the center of the field, and usually the other team's most potent player in their center striker. They are usually some of the most physical players, and go in for many tackles and take down many punts with their heads. Teams rarely go without one or two center backs in their formation, and two is usually seen as a strengthening to each other, depending on how many attack the opposing team pushes.

Example of Famous CB: Rio Ferdinand

Center Midfield


Like center backs are the core of a defense, center mids can be the heart of a teams attack. Most often, they are maestros of the midway, directing traffic and ensuring balls are supplied, and support is given, while doing a lot of work themselves. Some center mids are considered the most fit in the entire sport, as top ones can run in excess of 11-12 KM a match. They can also be prolific scorers outside of the strike force, as they often find themselves in an advanced, attacking capacity and the focus of corner kicks, whether it be taking them or receiving them. Virtually every formation needs a center mid, sometimes two, but they are most effective with a strong midfield around them, as in the case of 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 formations.

Example of Famous CM: Frank Lampard

Center Striker


The center striker most often makes his living as the team's top goal scorer and one its most popular and highest paid players for that reason. Some, but not all, tend to stay around the center of the field and the six yard box, and look for service from their wings to finish the balls, although quite a few, such as Fernando Torres, are no strangers at creating their own space and highlights. They are pretty much a staple in every formation imaginable, and often can be called on to play alone up top, should the formation require it.

Example of Famous CS: Eric Cantona

Deep-Lying Forward


Deep-Lying Forwards (Usually abbreviated SS.) play in the spot behind the strikers but ahead of the midfield, to attempt to keep pressure on, and play balls back into the attacking portion of the field for their team. They hang around this area of the field, and are also usually an option for fast breaks, as their quick wit and natural ability to score affords them a whole host of abilities. Those who play with them afford them their own number in the formation, usually with a CAM already in place, to avoid confusion and provide a further mid-to-striker link. [EX: 3-3-1-1-2]

Example of Famous SS: Zinedine Zidane

Defensive Midfield


Also known as a holding midfield, these players are a part of the defensive that serves to bog down the opposition's attack in midfield and, if necessary, can be pushed back to aid the central defenders in clearing the ball up. They are often used to stop a particularly strong attack that is fed through the midfield. Not all teams use them, but when they are used, they are slotted into a regular 4-4-2, usually at the expense of the midfield (So, 4-1-3-2)

Example of Famous DM: Claude Makélélé



Does this position even require any diagrams or introduction...? :P The goalkeeper plays in the net ALWAYS (Unless you are Oliver Khan, and feel the need to Zerg Rush at times. ;) ) and is the only player allowed to use his hands to save balls from scoring on his net. Every team needs a keeper... If you think yours is too good for one, you are sadly mistaken. :P

Example of Famous GK: Iker Casillas

Outside Back


Outside backs tend to be speedy and wise, and are charged with marking and being weary of the runs of the wingers and winging midfields that go down their sides. Their main purpose is to prevent crosses or switches of play into the center that might result in a goal/shot on goal. They tend to be physical as well, as are all defense. Outside backs are almost necessary in defensive formations, but work best when supported behind by a sweeper, giving them more roaming freedom, or when flanking wingbacks, like in a 1-4-3-2 formation with the sweeper put in, or a 3-2-3-2.

Example of Famous OB: Bacary Sagna



Sweepers (Also known as 'Liberios' "Italian for free") are failsafes, and the last line of protection for the goalie before a shot is taken. They pretty much roam the field, cleaning up the messes of the other players and supporting them, mainly a defensive unit. Sweepers are known for their intelligence and ability to deal with situations quickly and effectively. Not all teams use a sweeper these days, but those that do feel the defensive might need a little support due to an exceptionally strong attack. A common formation is 1-4-3-2.

Example of Famous SW: Franz Beckenbauer



Not to be confused with outside backs, wingbacks play in advance of the defensive line a little, more as supporters to the defensive/holding mid, who plays in the center, and play just behind the midfield. They have more freedom to make runs then the defense, and are often called upon to take freekicks in and around midfield. Often, they make runs in support of the wingers, should someone's plan go tits up, and the ball needs to be played backwards. They are usually recognized as a separate line in formations, ahead of the defense as they are moderately different roles. Common layouts for formations with wingbacks include 3-3-3-1, which would be three regular defense, a defensive mid with two wingbacks, three mids and a striker or 3-2-3-2, which is three defense, two wingbacks, three mids and two strikers. You most often see wingbacks in use midway through games rather then as starters, as they are meant to hold a lead in a not very offensive/attacking minded formation.

Example of Famous WB: Roberto Carlos

Winger Midfield


Regarded as some of the more exciting and dynamic players around, a winger midfield is always ready to make a run down the side, and is full of tricks up his sleeves. They are tasked sometimes with supplying crosses or balls into the center, but are also known at times to create their own scoring opportunities for themselves or others, sometimes due to defense's inability to contain them. Wing mids are another of those staple positions, and there is nearly always two of them, one at right and one at left. Also known as prolific runners, they, like all midfielders, are known for fitness. They perform best in 4-3-1-2 with plenty of support from the CAM and CM to draw off their workload.

Example of Famous WM: Rome_Leader



Jokes. :P

Real Example: Cristiano Ronaldo

Winger Striker


Winging strikers are always looking to score, and usually, can supply some key short passes or lobbed balls into the center for their friend the center striker to capitalize on. Being strikers, they are of course expected to score, but a lot of winging strikers carry a sort of finesse with their ball movement, and are known for bursts of speed to turn the corners on their markers. Winger strikers are not always needed in formations and, since most play with 2, there are sometimes only one, to the one side. When used in a rare formation with three strikers though, perhaps to capitalize on and overwhelm a weak defense, they can be very potent. [EX: 4-3-3]

Example of Famous WS: Dirk Kuyt

Everyday Discussion/Commentating Terminology

This part of the guide covers terms you may hear used in discussions of the sport, or used by commentators during matches. The aim of this section is to get you accustomed to them so you have a greater understanding of the sport.

Aggregate Score

It is customary nowadays in many cup formats, such as the Champion's League and UEFA Cups to play two 'legs' of matches, one at one team's home stadium, and one at the other's in knockout stages. An aggregate score refers to the total score of both games added together, and the team with the highest aggregate score advances through the stage. [EX: Manchester United plays a game at their home stadium, Old Trafford, and win 1-0. The second leg is played at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium, where Chelsea defeats Man. U. 2-0. The aggregate score is Chelsea 2 - Manchester United 1] You might hear it referenced often on TV as 'the score of this match is 2-1, 3-1 on aggregate.'.

As You Were

To mean that the teams in question are again on level terms, someone has equalized the score line through a goal.


An assist in any other sport would've been the last teammate of the player to touch the ball before a goal was scored. The absence of such would be referred to as an 'unassisted' or 'solo' goal. However, in football/soccer, this is not the case. It is most usually defined as a player who helps to score a goal, and who doesn't always have to have been in contact with the ball. The Laws of the Game do not, contrary to popular belief, currently have any outlines as to how to record assists and only the MLS (Major League Soccer) in North America records them as an individual stat, although the English Premier League combines them for Actim player ratings.

Most commonly, an assist is credited to a player for passing or crossing the ball to the scorer. It may also be awarded to a player whose shot rebounds (off a defender, goalkeeper or goalpost) to a teammate who scores; or to a player who wins a penalty kick for another player to convert. An attacking player may be awarded an assist for contributing to an own goal. Typically, no more then two people are credited with assisting one goal. (The latest two to have touched the ball, in most cases.) Assists in the former case and sometimes, used as synonyms for assist in general (In sports.) include 'helper' and/ 'lay-off'


A term for when a player scores two goals in one game.


A player is 'capped' for the first time when he represents his country in international competition. The more caps a player has is usually directly correlated to his skill, and importance in his country. [EX: David Beckham has in excess of 100 caps.]


A chairman of an assoc. football/soccer team is the man who fulfills what would be the general manager's duties of any other sport. They control the funding and may also appoint managers. They are representative of a committee of persons, most of whom hold high ranks of shares in the club, and also represent their interests in the club, with regards to advertising and such. [EX: The chairman of Chelsea is Bruce Buck.]

See Also: Manager and Owner

Direct Freekick

A kick which can score a goal immediately from the first touch/strike by a player; it does not need to touch a second player before it enters the net to count. Signaled by a referee pointing to the spot where it will be taken. It is usually award for more personal or dangerous fouls then an indirect freekick, such as blatant tripping, pushing or a slide tackle from behind. Direct freekick offense that happen inside the defending teams penalty area result in direct freekicks known as penalty kicks. Some times, but not always, direct freekick offenses also result in cards for the offender, red or yellow depending on severity or persistence of fouling.

See Also: Indirect Freekick


Not in the sense of the other term for tie. When used in proper context, it means how teams/nations have been arranged into groups for tournament or cup play. An example of a draw would see Brazil, Mexico and England sorted into Group A (Drawn against each other) and Argentina, Poland and Australia drawn into Group B. In such ways, draws can be favourable or unfavourable to some teams.

See Also: Group of Death


The line at which the goal sits on; may also be known as the 'goal line'. Goals will be awarded if the ball crosses over it between the goal posts and under the crossbar, and restarted with a kickoff. Goal kicks are awarded if the attacking team puts the ball over the endline, and corner kicks if the defending team does the same.


How a team arranges its starters on the pitch. Formations are usually discussed and written in numerical form, with the numbers spaced by hyphens. They are counted starting from the back, and include the 10 outfield players only, as it is assumed there will always be one goalkeeper in the same position. [EX: A 4-4-2 is a popular formation, which would consist of four defenders, four midfield and two strikers. There does not always have to be three numbers, though. Such an example would be a 4-3-1-2 formation, with four defenders, three midfield, an attacking midfield positioned a bit further up and two strikers.]
See Also: Starting XI

Free Transfer

See: Transfer

A transfer that occurs when one player's contract expires at a club, leaving him free to go to another club at his digression, barring physical checkups and that the receiving club actually wishes to sign him to a contract. No fees have to be paid to release him from his previous club, but a contract still must be sorted out and paid. In this sense, a free transfer is not really free, but is called as such because one club does not need to pay another for the player's services.


An epithetic term for a Newcastle United supporter.


A fan who supports/follows only those teams with a history of winning titles or games, or those with the biggest name players. Often taken at great insult by diehard supporters of successful clubs, who liked some long before such success. A North American equivalent would be a 'bandwagoner'.

Goals Against (Average)

A stat the involves taking the number of goals a team has scored, and subtracting the ones that have been scored against them. The result is the GA or Goals Against. A GAA or Goals Against Average is a little more complicated, involving factoring in the number of matches the team has had, and dividing by how many. The GA or GAA stats can sometimes decide competitions where both teams have an equal number of wins, losses and draws or points.

Golden Goal

A previously used method of determining winners in overtime games akin to what is used in sports such as hockey and pro American football. The first team to score would win the match right there and then, hence, having scored the 'golden' goal that won their team the match.

See Also: Silver Goal

Group of Death

A group with all nations or teams within it being very skilled, assuring at least two otherwise great teams will be bumped from the competition due to unnaturally stiff competition. [EX: Brazil, France, Italy and Argentina would be one of the biggest Group of Death's ever, if it were drawn. All teams are very highly regarded and ranked, but only two can advance.]

Hat Trick

A term with its roots in hockey, also finds usage in soccer, although it is much more rare. A hat trick is when a player scores three goals in one game. The name is of reference to showing respect for the player who scores one in a hockey game by throwing hats onto the ice (Unless you are in Detroit, where octopus is preferred. ;\). Used in conversation past tense as a player having 'turned the trick'.

See Also: Brace

Indirect Freekick

A freekick which must touch another player before entering the net to count as a goal. Signaled much like offsides, which a referee raising his hand, and keeping it there until the ball has touched two players. Most often awarded for fouls, but more minor ones, such as excessive shirt tugging, improper restarts of play, etc.

See Also: Direct Freekick

Injury Time

Time added on past the 90 minute full time period for things like game stoppages and injuries. Sometimes, so it is known that time can be added for stoppages other then player injuries, such as pitch and equipment issues, this is known as 'added time'. [Not to be confused with 'extra time' which means periods of overtime in a game.]

An epithetic term for a Sunderland F.C. supporter.

Making Way

Commonly used on TV broadcasts in reference to a player who is coming off for a substitute. Hence, he is 'making room' for the player on the pitch. [EX: 'Ahh, here's the substitution now... Yes, yes it's Drogba who will be making way for Kalou.']

An association football/soccer manager is not a manager as in a general manager of a hockey or American football team, or a manager of a store. They are the central figures of the team's sidelines, and arrange the starters, are central in the press conferences and arrange substitutions in games. Managers can be the most colorful and respected personalities of a team, in some cases. [EX: Sir Alex Ferguson is the manager of Manchester United, and Garreth Southgate manages Middlesbrough.]

See Also: Chairman and Owner


An epithet for a fan of Manchester United.

See Also: Red Devil


Ahh yes, the most hard to explain of all soccer rules. Being in an offside position can most easily be described as being BEHIND the second to last defender (Including the goalkeeper, this usually means all onfield players are in front of the attacker, and only the goalkeeper is back minding the net.) However, this in itself doesn't constitute stoppage of play or calling the offsides. Offsides is called when: A) An advantageous ball is PLAYED to the offsides player WHILE he is in an offsides position or B) The offsides player gains any sort of game advantage by being offside (EX: Able to screen the keeper, gets a lucky bounce off the post to careen to him while he is offside, obstructing or distracting other players, etc.)

Offsides is NOT applicable on: throw-ins, corner kicks or goal kicks.


The owner is pretty much the same in every sport. He is top of the pecking order, and has bought the club outright, or holds a majority of the shares. A lot of money tends to come directly from the owner through the club, and in some cases (Such as Chelsea's), the owner may be very wealthy and able to buy the club players, as well as have say in who the manager buys, and even have say in the appointing of managers.

See Also: Manager and Chairman

Possession (Stat)

In addition to being a field term, possession is also a stat, where the amount of time one team has had the ball vs. the amount of time that has elapsed gives their Possession Percentage. Often, TV broadcasted matches will show Possession % for the past 5 or 10 minutes, to indicated a recent dominance or surge in pressure.


Colloquially referred to as 'going up', it means a team has finished in the top 3 of a lower division, or won a playoff round, and will be going up to the next highest division next season. They replace teams relegated down.

See Also: Relegation and Tiers

Red Devil

Another term for a Man. U. supporter, derived from one of their main team colours, red.


Colloquially referred to as 'going down' or sometimes as 'demotion', this means a team finishes in the bottom three of its tier, and is being dropped down to the next division below it. They will replace the three teams promoted from below, in a cyclical fashion.

See Also: Promotion and Tiers

Reserve Team

A team's second choice squad, behind its starting players and its substitutions. Consists mostly of, but not always, of youth players, players who need a tuneup from changing teams or returning from injuries, etc. etc. They are called a 'reserve' team because they are in reserve; able to be called upon should there be a problem with any of the starters. The reserve teams usually play in their own separate leagues, except in some cases like in La Liga, where teams and their reserve teams play on the same pyramid. However, in this case, they cannot be in the same division at the same time as each other.

See Also: Tiers and Starting XI


An epithet for a fan of Liverpool F.C., or someone from the region. Like most epithet's, it is most often used with pride by the LFC fans themselves, but can also be used derogatorily by rival fans.

(Playing) Shorthanded

A team that is playing shorthanded is playing with less then 11 players. This can be temporary, due to injury or absence of a player or players that necessitates starting with less then 11 (But more then 9, as is the professional minimum.) or because of a red carded player, who is not allowed to return to the match or be replaced.

To win a match where one team has conceded no goals. Shutout is the most common terming. Lots of words that mean the same thing include: 'blanking', 'shutdown', 'left out in the cold', 'shutting the door' and etc.

Silver Goal

Another now virtually defunct method of determining winners in overtime where, if a team scored, the remainder of the overtime period they were in would be played out and, if the team could not equalize, the game would end. If this was in the first period, and the team equalized, a second period of overtime would be played.

See Also: Golden Goal

Starting XI or 11

A team's starting formation of players; its starters. This includes one goalkeeper and 10 outfield players, arranged however the manager wishes.


In most professional football/soccer in regions, there is a pyramid system. A 'tier' is simply a level on the pyramid, like you see in this one here, which has three tiers:


A football/soccer pyramid can have any number of tiers, but the English one in particular, which we will use as an example, has 24 tiers. At the top of the system is the English Premier League, regarded as the pinnacle of the sport in England. Most top teams play in or around the top tier.

For many pyramids, the system is as follows... The bottom three finishers in each tier are relegated to the division below, and the top three finishers in any division below the top are pushed up to the next highest, either by virtue of placing, or having the privilege to compete in knockouts for that spot. It is also worthy to note, that the top three finishers in the top tier usually qualify for some sort of international cup. (In the EPL's case, they qualify for the Champion's League.), and the 4th and 5th place qualify for other domestic cups (In our example, the UEFA Cup.)
See Also: Relegation and Promotion


The lines that run vertically on the rectangular pitch when observed from behind a goal, extending to the corners on the same side (The longer sides). Throw-ins are taken when the ball crosses them.


The signing of a player from one club to another. Differs from trades in most other sports in that the only thing changing hands between the clubs is money; no players are exchanged for other players. However, one player may be sold to one club, and that club may again choose to sell one of its own exclusively to the previous club, and, although this happens, it is not a strict person for person trade.

See Also: Free Transfer


When a youth player is given a chance to try out for a youth academy, or for an actual team, such as the Reserves or the first team of a club.

See Also: Youth Academy

When possession is given up (Turned over.) to the other team, common in virtually all team sports, and represented with the same terminology. Usually as result of a steal, or a mistake.

Youth Academy

A youth academy, or simply, an academy, is a place that is usually, but not always owned by football clubs where exceptional young players are invited to come and train with other hopefuls to perhaps earn a spot on the team's reserve roster and possibly, eventually, the team.

See Also: Reserve Team and Trial

Closing Comments [CLO4]

Thanks for reading guys, hope you enjoyed. It's not an essay or a fancy poem or anything, and it's not meant for you to look through and read each and every one.. Just as a reference tool to look up one you mightn't have been sure of, or even if you wanted to see my own take on it. It's been a pleasure to write, and will be worth it if even one person appreciates one of the many definitions. :P Thanks again, and you have my contact information in the intro for questions/concerns/bitching or what have you. I feel I at least needed to put an initial cap on how much I wanted to do with this, or it would never be posted... :P Cheers guys, and until next time.

***NOTE: I still consider this far from complete and will be making regular updates/checks for quite some time. This is the beauty of no edit limit forums... Knowledge without cutoff time. ;\***

Disclaimer [DIS1]

This work is all my own, put into my own words, and uses no reference points or media. It is my own recount of commonly used terms form the sport and there is no copyright placed on this work, and it is free for usage, in part or in whole, by anybody, and may be reproduced at will. Consider it an open source project in soccer terminology.

Recent Updates Line [UPD8]

Monday, August 11th: Added following definitions to Onfield Terms: Chip, Follow-Through, Lob, Send Me, Through Ball and Wing.

Added following definitions to Everyday Terms: Assist, Indirect Kick, Direct Kick, Making Way, Offsides
Last edited by Rome_Leader on 24 May 2010, 19:21, edited 4 times in total.

Veteran Member
Posts: 460
Joined: 25 Jan 2008, 05:24


WOW i didn't know what hattrick meant!? :wink: this guide is sexy and informative,definitely will be some help THANK YOU! :D
Practice and drive are all you need, You will become good, if not great, and then, if you wish to go further, the opportunities will come to you - Rome_Leader

BuzzingBee's at it again

Veteran Member
Posts: 2159
Joined: 13 Dec 2006, 20:15


I like it, your guide making skills are great, easily understandable, but there seems to be something missing? (I'm not sure what, I'll try and figure it out and get it back to you).

Oh, and as for positions, Zidane is the attacking midfielder and Kaka' is the second striker. Just don't want two of my favourite players getting mixed up here :P

Oh, and the introduction was not necessary. Nobody wants to know you anyways :wink:

Here might be some terms you're missing:
- Assist (a common misconception of what an assist in football is)
- Advantage
- Indirect and Direct Free Kick
- Chip/lob
- Wing (like calling for the wing pass)
- Through ball

Some of these were included *just incase*

Posts: 4870
Joined: 24 Feb 2005, 23:40
Location: Michigan, USA


great post.
one question that i'm a bit confused about rome, is buzzingbee your girlfriend? ahha sorry if that's a dumb question

The Italian Mod
Posts: 3028
Joined: 19 Jun 2007, 22:03


Kakasgotskillz wrote:I like it, your guide making skills are great, easily understandable, but there seems to be something missing? (I'm not sure what, I'll try and figure it out and get it back to you).

Oh, and as for positions, Zidane is the attacking midfielder and Kaka' is the second striker. Just don't want two of my favourite players getting mixed up here :P

I thought they were confused... I figured people would get the jist though, as I was sort of burning midnight oil at the time. :P

Oh, and the introduction was not necessary. Nobody wants to know you anyways :wink:

Christ, well, FINE. ;\

Here might be some terms you're missing:
- Assist (a common misconception of what an assist in football is)
- Advantage
- Indirect and Direct Free Kick
- Chip/lob
- Wing (like calling for the wing pass)
- Through ball

Some of these were included *just incase*

Bolded terms are there, italicized are mentioned, but don't have their own section, I'll fix that up. ;)

Thanks a lot for your input, my man.

And lol @ soccer11. :P No, no she's not. We're far apart geographically, and not but friends.

EDIT: For anyone who's wondering 'What exactly is he DOING behind those curtains...?', I've added a 'Recent Updates' section right at the end, so you can see what I've changed; I.E: Added in Kakagotskills' suggestions as well as some that just came to me that I was missing.

It's also for my own reference, at times.

Posts: 4870
Joined: 24 Feb 2005, 23:40
Location: Michigan, USA


haha alright, thanks for clearing that up. i didn't think she was just some of the things in the first post made me go, "wait what?"

The Italian Mod
Posts: 3028
Joined: 19 Jun 2007, 22:03


Ooooh, yeah, I can see how you would get that message. :P

No, first I was talking about how I made the thing for BB, but my girlfriend (Another person.) is also starting into soccer, so... Dual purpose.

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