Game Guide

This Soccer Games Glossary is dedicated to passionate game players and fans that compete, watch this favorite sport and play soccer.

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and is played passionately in most countries worldwide. The game is played on a rectangular field with net goals at either end. Each team consists of 11 players whose objective is to drive the soccer game ball into the other's goal by kicking, heading, or using any part of the body except the arms and hands. The goalie is the only player permitted to touch or move the ball with arms or hands.

At the end of two periods of play, the team with the most goals is declared the winner.  In the case of a tie, a shootout occurs depending on the rules of the league.

Offence & Defence


The soccer player or team not in possession of the ball.


The team unit whose objective is to score goals.

Soccer Glossary

Soccer Games Glossary A

break=3 attackers versus 1 defensive player.
break=3 attackers versus 2 defensive players
playing pattern=4 defenders, 2 midfielders and 4 forwards.
playing pattern=4 defenders, 3 midfielders and 3 forwards.
playing pattern=4 defenders, 4 midfielders and 2 forwards.
Added Time
time added to the end of a game, replacing minutes and seconds lost by injuries or substitutions.
Advantage Rule
refers to the referee directive that states the play should not be stopped because of a foul if it would benefit the team in violation.
term for the team moving to the goal that outnumber the opposing team.
American Football
term to differentiate between this game and soccer football.
a feed, pass or possibly passes that lead directly to a goal. This number cannot total more than two on any single goal.
a player who has the ball and is trying to score a GOAL!
Attacking Midfielder
whose duties are to support the offense by passing to forwards with the objective of scoring a goal.
Attacking Team
refers to the team in possession of the ball.

Soccer Games Glossary B

refers to either a fullback player or active play towards the team's own goal.
Balance or Shape
term for strategic player placement to provide comprehensive coverage on the field of play.
Back Header
player who moves the ball backwards using his head.
the act of passing or kicking the ball to the goalie by his own team, allowing him to kick or throw the ball into play, typically creating a more favorable offensive situation.
Back Tackle
defender who moves in front of the ball to gain possession from the ball carrier.
Ball Carrier
is the soccer player who has the ball.
Banana Kick or Hook
jargon for a kicked ball that curves and moves around obstructions. A beautiful sight to see!
moving the ball past a challenger by dribbling or shooting.
Behind the Defender
soccer games glossary term for section of the field between a defender and his/her goal.
Bicycle Kick
jargon for a ball kicked backwards and over his/her head while in flight.
Break or Advantage
term for rapidly moving the soccer ball towards the opponent's goal before the defenders can retreat.
lots of action here when a player with the ball moves towards the goalkeeper without coverage resulting in a man-to-man shot.

Soccer Games Glossary C

refers to the number of appearances a player has made for his country in international play.
Carrying the Ball
foul worthy occurs when a goalkeeper moves more than 4 steps while holding/bouncing the soccer ball.
Caution (yellow card)
given by the official or referee as a sign of warning to a player who has gained ill favor by his actions on the field. Should a player receive two of these cards or warning during one match they must leave the field and no longer participate.
Center or Cross
refers to a pass from the sideline with the objective of moving the ball closer to the goal.
Center Circle
the area in the middle of the field where kick offs take place at the beginning of the game, after half time and after each goal that is scored.
Central Defender
refers to the player who is assigned to guard the section of the field in front of his/her goal.
physical contact between players, initiated by the player seeking to take possession of the ball. If done illegally, a foul is called, resulting in a free kick.
Check Away
refers to movement away from a teammate in possession of the ball to bamboozle or trick a defender. Gotcha!
soccer games glossary term for action to strike the ball hard in a different direction to escape a defender.
Chest Trap
refers to using the chest to manage an air ball.
Chip Pass
player's high pass to a teammate in an attempt to loft the ball over a challenger's head.
Chip Shot
term for highflying kick over the goalkeeper's head that could score if under the crossbar.
refers to moving the ball away from the goal.
an air-bound high motion with the intention of moving the ball up field.
term for tips at the bottom of soccer shoes required for traction on the field.
a league soccer team.
Consolation Match
game to decide 3rd place between the 2 semi-final losing teams.
Corner Arc
a quarter circle located in the corner of the field marking the spot where a corner kick must take place.
Corner Kick
the act of kicking the ball in the corner, necessitated by the ball passing the boundary on the end of the field by a defender.
Corner Flags
soccer games glossary term for flags situated at the 4 field corners.
quick attack by the challengers shortly after they regain possession of the ball.
play where a defender assists a teammate against an attacking player.
Creating Space
tactic used by an attacking player without the ball to lure the opposition away from his/her teammate in possession of the ball.
Cross or Crossing Pass
player who passes the ball to a mid or opposite field teammate to provide a possible goal.
refers to the top of the goal, this bar is 24 feet in length and 8 ft above the ground.
Cut Down the Angle
strategic move by the goalie to move in on the attacker.
Cut Off
tactical move by a defender to position his/her body between the attacker and the goal to force a move to the sidelines.

Soccer Games Glossary D

Dangerous Play
a foul called by the official when a player’s actions are deemed dangerous to the opposition.
Defenders or Defending Team
refers to the soccer player or team not in possession of the ball.
Defense or Defensemen
position of play or players assigned to curtail the challenger from scoring.
Defensive Midfielder
player whose duties are to cover the best offensive player from the other team, usually stationed in front of the team's defense.
Defensive Pressure
refers to aggressive tactic of defender(s) to cover the ball carrier.
refers to a hit ball that bounces off a player.
refers to play action movement from corner to corner of the field.
Direct Free Kick
a kick awarded as a result of a foul or infraction where a goal can be scored.
Diving Header
jargon for a ball hit by the head of a diving player close to the ground.
soccer game that finishes with a tied score.
soccer games glossary reference for a player who uses his/her feet to move the ball. There are some smooth moves with this action.
Drop Ball
action to re-start the game by dropping a ball between 2 players.
Drop Kick
2-step action by the goalie—drop ball and kick before it touches the ground.
, Fake or Feint a fake action by a player to trick a challenger into thinking he/she is about to receive the ball.
Dummy Run
movement by two players of the same team; only one of which has the ball, with the intention of tricking the opposing team.

Soccer Players Terms E

during a goal, penalty, corner or free kick, the other team must be at least 10 yards away or as stated by the rules.
End Line
the line or boundary at either end of the field where the goals reside

Soccer Players Terms F

Far Post
refers to the goalpost that is furthest from the ball.
this is where the action takes place.
Flick Header
lingo for a player who deflects the ball with his/her head.
Foot Trap
player who uses his/her foot to manage the ball.
recognized name for soccer worldwide not to be confused with American football where different rules and playing methods apply.
term for players assigned field positions.
Forward Pass
made towards the challenger's goal.
Forwards or Forward Line
also known as strikers or wingers, these players are in charge of scoring for the team.
rule violation resulting in a free kick.
Free Kick
given to a player when a foul penalty is called against the other team.
Front Header or Header
jargon for a player who uses his/her head to control the ball
Front Tackle
defender who tries to move the ball away from a challenger by a head-on approach.

Soccer Players Terms G

Give-and-go or Wall pass
strategic 3-step move where a player passes to a teammate then runs to the open awaiting the return of the ball.
a double meaning in soccer. It can refer to the apparatus consisting of one bar going across with two supporting poles and a net attached where each team attempts to put the ball to score. It can also mean the act of kicking the ball into the goal.
Goal Area
measuring 20 X 6 ft deep located in front of each goal at either end of the field.
Goalkeeper or Goalie
one of the most important players of the team, he/she can use the hands when the ball is in play and wears a distinctive jersey or shirt.
Goal Kick
occurs when the ball is kicked away from the goal.
Goal Line
area of the goal where the ball is required to completely cross to score.
refers to the front area of the goal.
Goal Posts
support the crossbar and each measure 24 ft across and 8 ft high.
Golden Goal
lingo for the goal that wins and completes the soccer game.

Soccer Players Terms H

lingo for the kicking a challenger's legs—could be foul worthy.
intermission slotted between 2 periods/halves of the game.
Halfway Line
the line dividing the field in half.
Handball or Handling
the act of touching the ball in play with your hands. This infraction results in loss of possession and is a foul.
Hat Trick
jargon for 3+ goals by a single player in a single game—tip of the hat for this admirable achievement.
the act of restraining an opponent during play.

Soccer Players Terms I

Impeding or Obstructing
physically blocking or obstructing and opponent during play.
Indirect Free Kick
kick requiring the touch of another player for a goal to be scored.
In play
occurs when ball is within field boundaries and not stopped by a referee call.
Injury Time
amount of time added to a period of play because of injuries/stalling by a team as determined by the referee.
Instep Drive
refers to a precise and strong shot made from the instep of a soccer player's foot.

Soccer Players Terms J - K

action to play for time when an opposing ball carrier is near the goal in order to allow teammates to assist with the tackle.
lingo for controlling the ball in the air using a player's body parts other than the hands/arms. When done skillfully, it's an entertaining sight to see.
occurs at the game start or re-start where a player passes to a teammate from the center.
Kicks from the Mark
another name for a shootout at the end of a tied game where a winner must be determined. These are a series of penalty kicks taken by each team. The suspense mounts for both players and fans.

Soccer Players Terms L

Lead Pass
strategic calculation whereby a forward pass reaches a teammate correctly, so that he/she can continue the drive.
game officials who monitor the side and goal lines, signal with a flag and assist the referee.
Loft or Lob
refers to a high-flying kick.

Soccer Players Terms M

Man-to-Man or Marking
refers to a strategy whereby a defense player marks or covers an opposing forward player.
refers to a soccer game and the action is on to the delight of both players and fans.
field area close to the midfield line.
Midfield Line or Centerline
refers to line that halves the field area by width.
term for players who play behind the forwards of a team and connect the offensive/defensive units.
behavior deemed by an official to be inappropriate, unsportsmanlike or detrimental to the game. Typically results in a yellow or red card and possible ejection from the contest.
a very skillful player versus an average player is not a good match.

Soccer Players Terms N

National Team
speaking of skillful players, this is such a group who play for their country at international matches like the World Cup.
Near Post
refers to the post closest to the ball.
refers to either the goal or the material covering the frame of the goal.
jargon for action of threading or moving the ball through the space between a player's legs.

Soccer Players Terms O

action used by a defender to curtail the play of an offensive player.
team unit whose objective is to score goals.
Official Game Clock
used by the referee to monitor when each period ends. It should be noted that the clock does not stop during game play.
includes 2 linesman and referee who monitor the score/time and call fouls according to the rules of the game.
Offside Line
the limit to which a defender can proceed without the ball while not being penalized.
Offside Position
refers to an attacker in position in order that fewer than 2 opposing defensive players are between him/her and the goal being attacked.
On Defense
refers to the team players who do not have the ball.
On Offense
alternatively, refers to the team players who do have the ball.
term for attacker who is not covered or marked by an opposing player. There is an advantage here—go fer it!
Out of Bounds or Out of Play
refers to soccer ball that has moved outside the official boundaries of the playing field.
Outlet Passes
this action that begins a counterattack, occurs when the ball is moved towards the opposing team's goal.
occurs when a forward moves from the sideline to center field in order to allow a teammate to advance the ball undefended along the side of the field.
term for additional periods played after a regular game has been completed in order to break a tie score.

Soccer Game Terms P

the term is all about moving the ball towards the challenger's goal.
Penalty Area
the mark around each box that typically measures 18 yards by 44 yards. The goalkeeper can handle the ball inside this box and any infraction by the opposing team in this area will result in a penalty kick.
Penalty Kick
as the result of a foul, the opposing team is awarded a penalty kick that is taken against the offending team's goalie. During the kick, all other players must stand away at least 10 yards. These penalty kicks are often used to decide the winner of the match after a tie score.
Penalty Spot
area on the field 12 yards from each goal.
refers to advancing the ball past and behind opposing defenders.
refers to a game segment, usually two periods of 45 minutes each constitutes a completed regulation game.
Persistent Infringement
repetitious foul play, typically resulting in a yellow card.
Play on
signal by the referee to continue play as no game stoppage will be called. See Advantage Rule.
once the regular season ends, this tournament will name a champion. Always exciting play for these soccer games.
term for team or player stats as follows win=2 points, tie=1 point and loss is 0 points. For players, it is goal=2 points and assist=1 point.
you and your team now have the ball.
soccer game terms for the goalpost.
Professional Foul
usually defender vs. attacker attempting to score, but this foul is not necessarily worth a penalty kick.
using the body to physically move another player.

Soccer Game Terms R

term for a player who receives a pass from a teammate.
Red Card
the ultimate misconduct during a match whereby an official deems a player's misconduct beyond inappropriate. Or the issuing of a second yellow card. This results in ejection from the match.
official in charge of overseeing the soccer match.
Regular Season
refers to scheduled game play to determine teams that qualify for the playoff tournament.
Regulation Game
consists of 2 halves without overtime.
refers to competition between teams to determine which team qualifies with a win to move upward to the next round and team. Example World Cup=5 main rounds.
a revised version of soccer wherein players can pass and run utilizing their hands plus contact other players. OK, folks—no debating about which game is better -)

Soccer Game Terms S

skillful play by goalie to block/stop thus preventing a goal.
into the net, the ball goes and another score is on the board.
likely the most admired players on the team, or is it the goalie?
Scoring Opportunity
refers to a golden chance to score.
Send off
the result of a player receiving a red card and in turn, the action of being ejected from the game.
Serious Foul Play
uncalled for physical violence against an opposing player during a match, resulting in a red card.
Set Play
this term refers to the team plan following a throw-in, kick off or free, corner and penalty kicks.
this ball carrier is keeping and controlling the ball closely to ward off a defender.
Shin Guards
equipment worn on the lower legs for protection.
Shooting or Shot
action of kicking the ball at the opposing goalie with the objective of Goal!
refers to a team playing with less than 11 players.
Shoulder Charge
term for shoulder-to-shoulder contact, not usually foul worthy.
soccer game terms for 0 or no scoring by one of the teams playing the game.
Side Tackle
tactical move by a defender to change the direction of the ball in the possession of the challenger.
Sideline or Touchline
boundary line of the field on each side.
Single Elimination
term for a single team loss that results in tournament elimination.
Sliding Tackle
tactical action by a defender by sliding feet first into the ball.
Small-sided Game
if you want to play a soccer game with less than 11 players/side, then this is the game for your group.
Square Pass
lingo for pass to a teammate running neck-to-neck or close by.
usually the most skillful players will play at the beginning of the game.
it is mine now, says they player who took the ball from a challenger.
term for a defender who covers or marks the leading scorer of the opposing team.
jargon for the best of the best scoring player on the team.
the act of replacing one player with another during play.
Sudden Death
a rare occurrence in soccer, but this term refers to the first goal scored that then determines the winning team and completes the overtime and the game.
jargon for the remaining defender before reaching the goalie—a last line of defense.

Soccer Game Terms T

act of trying to obtain the ball with your feet. If physical contact occurs with the player, a foul is assessed.
refers to that half of the field defended by a team.
Thigh Trap
jargon for a tactic of using the thigh to manage the ball in the air.
Through Pass
term to pass the ball to a teammate while he/she is behind a defender.
the act of putting the ball back in play after an out of bounds infraction. This is done with two hands on the ball and no more than one-step taken to throw the ball in.
Tie Game
term for a soccer match where each team scores exactly the same number of goals.
method to declare the game winner with a series of penalty kicks taken by both sides.
is one of the duties of the referee.
as there are no timeouts in soccer, this term refers to an official break in the action.
Toe Poke
soccer game terms for tactic used by a player using a toe-touch to tackle a challenger.
lingo for running close behind another player.
using his/her feet, chest or thighs, a player is attempting to manage the ball with this technique.
the attempt to knock down an opponent by tangling up their feet.
this team just lost ball possession to their challengers.
Two-touch Play
term for a 2-step action where a player first gets the moving ball and follows with a shot or pass to another player.
Two-on-one Break
=2 attackers versus 1 defensive player.
Two-way Midfielder
valuable team member who arranges and plans midfield play.

Soccer Game Terms U - Z

Unsporting Behavior
any conduct deemed inappropriate by the official. This type of infraction results in a yellow card.
term for a ball kicked that is not on the ground.
jargon for a line-up of defenders close together with the purpose of preventing a goal coming from a free kick.
Wall Pass
soccer game terms for a strategic play between two attacking players, where one player passes to a teammate then moves rapidly behind a defender to accept a pass back.
Win-draw-loss Record
summary of a team's playing record.
Wings or Wingers
term for outside forward players whose duties are to make precise passes to strikers.
World Cup
the top event in the world of soccer and the most popular sports event viewed globally. Every 4 four years, the best pro teams are sent to play in the country vs. country competition.
Yellow Card
the less serious infraction in a soccer match, two of which result in an ejection from the game.
bad case of nerves resulting in shakes that make it very difficult for a gamer to play well. This phrase can be used in reference to many games and is recognized by both players and fans alike.
refers to a type of defense where the player covers a specific field area.