Soccer Expressions

06 July 2014 by Diane

Most Important Soccer Vocabulary

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assist (verb/noun): to pass the ball that leads to the goal

ex. He had 2 goals and 1 assist in the match.

Attacker / Forward (noun): a player that makes an assertive or aggressive attempt to score
ex. Ronaldo, Messi and Robben are three of the best attackers in the world.


Corner kick (noun): a free kick from the corner of the field

ex. He always takes the corner kicks for his team.

Crossbar (noun): the horizontal bar between the posts

ex. The player shot the ball, and it hit off the crossbar.

Defender (noun): a player whose task is to protect the team’s goal.

ex. David Luiz is one of the best defenders in the world.

dive (verb): deliberately fall when challenged in order to deceive the referee into awarding a foul

ex. Some players are very talented at diving.

dribble (verb): take (the ball) forward past opponents with slight touches of the feet

ex. He attempted to dribble the ball across the entire field!

first touch (noun): the first contact the ball has with a player’s foot

ex: He has a great first touch.

Foul (noun): a penalty given for an unfair play against an opponent

ex.  You should try not to foul the other team inside the box.

Goal (noun): a pair of posts linked by a crossbar with a net attached behind it
ex.. He scored two goals in the last match.

Goalkeeper / Goaltender / Goalie (noun): a player whose role is to stop the ball from entering the net

ex. The US goalie made 15 saves in the game against Belgium.

Goalpost (noun): the side of the goals

ex. The Netherlands hit the post three times against Costa Rica!


handball (noun): intentionally touching and redirecting the ball with the hand or arm, constituting a foul

ex. That was a handball!


Header (noun): a player hits the ball with his/her head

ex. He is really good at headers on corner kicks.


in the box: inside the 18-yard-box (the box just outside of the goal)

ex: He was fouled in the box!


Linesman (noun): an official who assists the referee or umpire from the sideline

ex. The linesman made a good call.

long ball (noun): a ball that is hit, kicked, or thrown a long way

ex. He is talented at sending long balls over the top.

Mark (noun): the specific player who you are responsible for guarding

ex.  Everyone get a mark!


Midfielder (noun): the players on a team who play in a central position between attack and defense

ex. Our midfielders need to attack a lot in today’s game.

nutmeg (verb/noun): to pass the ball between the opponent’s legs

ex. He nutmegged the defender before taking a shot.

Offsides (adj): in the attacking half ahead of the ball and having fewer than two defenders between the attacker and the goal line at the moment the ball is played

ex. The linesman threw up his flag to show offsides.

on the bench: where the substitutes sit when they are not currently playing in the game

ex: He was on the bench for the whole game.


Overtime (noun): extra time played at the end of a game that is tied at the end of the regulation time

ex.. The games in the World Cup have 30 minutes of overtime, if they end in a tie.

own goal (adj+noun): scoring a goal against your own team

ex: The first goal in the World Cup was an own goal!


pass (verb): move or cause to move in a specified direction

ex. He passed the ball to his teammate.


Penalty kick (noun): a free kick at the goal from the penalty spot (which only the goalkeeper is allowed to defend), awarded to the attacking team after a foul within the penalty area by an opponent

ex.. The referee awarded the opponents a penalty kick after the foul in the box.

pitch / field (noun): the place where a soccer game is played

ex.. The players lined up on the pitch / field.

Punt (verb): kick (the ball) after it is dropped from the hands and before it reaches the ground

ex.: The goalie punted the ball across the field.


red card (ad j+ noun): a card shown to a player being eliminated from the game

ex. Because of his red card, his team had to play a man down for most of the match.


referee (noun): an official who watches a game or match closely to ensure that the rules are followed

ex. The referee made some terrible calls.


Score (verb/noun): gain a point

ex. He scored a hat trick (a hat trick is three goals)!

Set piece (noun): a thing that has been carefully planned

ex. That team is really good at set pieces.

Shoot (verb): kick the ball in an attempt to score a goal

ex. He shoots and scores!  GOALLLLLLLL!


Shootout (noun): a tiebreaker decided by each side taking a specified number of penalty kicks

ex. The Netherlands won the game in a shootout!


Shutout (noun): a competition or game in which the losing side fails to score

ex. The game ended in a shutout.


Sliding tackle (adj + noun) : make an effort to steal the ball by sliding on the ground with one leg extended

ex. The referee called a foul against the defender for doing a dangerous sliding tackle.


stoppage time / injury time (noun): extra time added at the end of each half to compensate for the time lost dealing with injuries

ex. Most halves have about four minutes of stoppage time.


substitute (verb / noun): a player who replaces another player during the game / to use in place of

ex: Referee, I’d like to make a substitution!


Trap (verb / noun): to stop the ball

ex. He trapped the ball with his right foot and immediately took a shot.

yellow card (noun): a card shown to a player being cautioned

ex. He got a yellow card in the first minute of the match.





Soccer Idioms

a game changer – a situation that can have a dramatic effect on something
ex: Learning English could be a real game changer in your career.

to be on the ball – to be aware of what is happening all around you

ex: You need to be on the ball in this job.


to watch from the sidelines – to be an observer, rather than actively involved in something

ex: Don’t just watch from the sidelines.  Do something!


to kick something off – to start something

ex: “I’d like to kick this meeting off by welcoming our guest speaker.


at this stage in the game – at this point
ex: I don’t think there is anything we can do
at this stage in the game.

to take sides – to support one person or cause against another or others in a dispute or contest
ex: I refuse
to take sides in this argument.

a game plan – a strategy worked out in advance
ex: We have to come up with a good
game plan if we want to beat the competition.

give it one’s best shot – try one’s hardest
ex: I don’t know whether or not I can do it, but I’m going to
give it my best shot!

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