Football is the world’s most popular sport, though the name of the sport is not universal. It is also known as soccer in the USA, Canada and elsewhere, and in other languages, you may find it referred to as futbol, bollfoer, calcio, fussball, labdarugó, podosfairiki and voetbal.

And these are general football terms that you might need to know:

  • Attacker: A player whose job is to play the ball forward towards the opponent’s goal area to create a scoring opportunity.
  • Back Heel: A ball kicked using the back (heel) of the foot.
  • Back Pass: A pass that a player makes back toward their own goal, usually made back to the goalkeeper. This is often a defensive move to restart a new phase of play.
  • Ball Carrier: The player in possession of the ball.
  • Bending the Ball: Striking the ball off-center so that it travels in a curved path, ideally for shots at goal.
  • Bicycle Kick: A spectacular move in which a player jumps in the air in a backflip motion, kicking the ball backward over their head. The name comes from action which mimics their legs moving as if pedaling a bicycle.
  • Center Spot: The spot marked at the center of the field from which the kickoff is made.
  • Confederation: Organization responsible for football in their region
  • Corner Flag: The flag marking each of the four corners of the field.Football Dribbler
  • Corner Kick: A free kick taken from the corner of the field by an attacker. The corner kick is awarded when the ball has passed over the goal line after last touching a defensive player. The shot is taken from the corner nearest to where the ball went out.
  • Cross: A pass played across the face of a goal.
  • Defender: A player whose job is to stop the opposition attacking players from goal scoring.
  • Direct Free Kick: A free kick in which a goal may be scored by the player taking the free kick.
  • Dribble: Keeping control of the ball while running.
  • Dummy Run: A run by a player without the ball, to lure defenders away from the ball carrier.
  • Far Post: The goalpost farthest from the ball.
  • FIFA: The acronym used for the Federation Internationale de Football Association, the world governing body for the game of association football, which is based in Switzerland.
  • Football: The term used for soccer in Europe and other countries outside of North America and Australia.
  • Foul: Any illegal play.
  • Free Kick: A kick awarded to an opposition player when a player has committed a foul. Free kicks can be either direct or indirect.
  • Futsal: the version of Football played indoors
  • Give and Go: (also known as a 1-2) When a player passes the ball to a teammate, who immediately one-touch passes the ball back to the first player.
  • Goal Area: The rectangular area in front of the goal. It is also known as the 6-yard box because of its dimensions.
  • Goal Kick: A goal kick is awarded to the defending team when the ball is played over the goal line by the attacking team. It can be taken by any player though it is normally taken by the goalkeeper.
  • Goal Line: The two boundary lines located at each end of the field.
  • Goal Mouth: The area in front of the goal.
  • Goalkeeper: The specialized player who is the last line of defense, who is allowed to control the ball with his hands when in the goal area.
  • Header: Using the head to pass or control the ball.
  • Indirect Free Kick: A free kick awarded to a player from which a goal may not be scored directly.
  • Inswinger: A kick that curves in toward the goal.
  • Kickoff: The kickoff is taken from the center spot at the start of play at the beginning of each half and after a goal has been scored.
  • Man to Man Marking: A defensive system where defenders are designated one attacking player to track continuously.
  • Midfielder: The playing position for players that are responsible for linking play between attackers and defenders.
  • Nearpost: The goalpost nearest the ball.
  • Obstruction: Causing obstruction, which is blocking an opponent with the body, is penalized by awarding an indirect free kick to the opposition.
  • Offside Trap: A technique used by defenders to put attacking players in an offside position, by moving quickly away from their own goal to leave attackers offside.
  • Offside: A player is in an offside position if he is nearer to his opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the second-to-last opponent. This does not apply if the players are on their half of the field. An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team at the place where the offside occurred.
  • One-Touch Pass: A pass in which the ball is played on with a player’s first touch.
  • Out Swinger: A kick that swerves away from the goal.
  • Penalty Area: The rectangular area in front of the goal in which the goalkeeper may handle the ball. It is also known as the 18-yard box because of its dimensions.
  • Penalty Spot: The marked spot 12 yards from the goal line from which a penalty kick is taken.
  • Penalty: A penalty kick is awarded when a foul has been committed inside the penalty area in front of the goal. A penalty is taken by one player opposed only by the goalkeeper.
  • Pitch: The soccer field of play.
  • Red Card: A red card is issued to a player when that player has committed a serious infraction or has been issued with two yellow cards within the same game. The red card held up by the referee to signal that a player is being sent off. The player sent off cannot be replaced.
  • Referee: The official who is in charge of the game.
  • Shot: A kick, header, or any intended deflection of the ball toward a goal by a player attempting to score a goal.
  • Sliding Tackle: A tackle in which the defender slides along the surface of the field of play before making one-footed contact with the ball.
  • Striker: An attacking player whose job is to finish attacking plays by scoring a goal.
  • Sweeper: A defensive player whose job is to roam behind the other defenders.
    A sweeper has no specific marking duties and is the last line of defense before the goalkeeper.
  • Tackle: To take the ball away from the opponent using the feet.
  • Through Pass: A pass played past defenders into free space to allow a teammate to run onto the ball.
  • Throw-In: The ball is thrown in after the ball has crossed the touchline. A player taking a throw-in must have both feet on or behind the touchline, must maintain contact with the ground, and must use a two-handed throw made from behind the head. A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in.
  • Toe Poke: Use of the toe to strike the ball.
  • Touch Line: The line that defines the outer edge of the longer sides of the field of play.
  • Trapping the Ball: Controlling the ball with the sole of the foot.
  • Volley: Striking the ball in mid-air with either foot.
  • Wingers: Attackers who play on the wings/flanks of the field.
  • Yellow Card: A yellow card is held up by a referee to signal caution for a minor infringement.
  • Zone Defense: A defensive system where defenders mark a designated area of the field of play instead of tracking players across the field.



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