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FIFA Football Terminology

'Terminologies of Football: Terms Related to the Beautiful Game'

UK FOOTBALL TERMS: A concise list of terminologies in football. You will find 100s of football terms and definitions used by players and officials, all listed from A to Z.

Football teams and match referees can use this football glossary and the top slang terminologies.

Learning some of the English vocabulary, titles, and common match rulings will also help spectators and footy fans.

The official football rules and regulations is a good place to start if you are learning to play.

These football key words cover the advanced lingo and all FIFA terms related to the game. Shoot through to the most common football terminologies by clicking the alphabetic facility below. Or, take extra time and sharpen your knowledge and understanding of the beautiful game.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Note: This unabridged list of football terms and definitions continues to grow. Check in often for more information associated to football playing techniques and match-winning strategies.

A – A to Z Football Teams

An up-to-date list of football teams a-z English names, location, stadium title, and the football ground capacity for 2022/23 soccer season in United Kingdom.

A – Advantage Law

A clause in the law that directs the referee to refrain from stopping play for a foul if a stoppage would benefit the team that committed the violation.


In FIFA terminology of football, advantages refer to situations where a team has possession of the ball and outnumbers the opposition near the opposing goal.

Angle of Run

The angle at which a player runs, sometimes applied in relation to the ball and sometimes in relation to the goal.

Angle (altering the angle)

Applied to a player controlling the ball and moving it two or three yards to the side and then passing on the second touch.

Angle (narrowing)

Applied to defenders, especially the goalkeeper, moving nearer to the ball in order to reduce passing or shooting angles.

Angle (passing)

Applied to the line of the pass, i.e. angling the ball to the right or left of a player.

Angle (widening)

Usually applied to supporting players moving into a position where the point of attack can be changed, thereby creating a better angle for a forward pass.


Any player on the team that has possession of the ball. All players on the team are attackers but predominantly it is a player whose job is to play the ball forward towards the opponent’s goal area to create a scoring opportunity.

Attacking Team

The team that has possession of the ball.

Away-Goal Rule

The away-goal rule is a terminology in football that only applies to some competitions, e.g. the UEFA Champions’ League, is a rule that rewards teams for scoring away from home over two legs (or matches).

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B – Back Header

A player’s use of his head to direct the ball backwards.

Back Heel

A ‘back heel’ is FIFA football terminology describing 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. The pass back to goalie strategy is often a defencive move to restart a new phase of play.


Positioning defenders away from the ball to protect the vital space behind the defense.


FIFA govern the match balls used in soccer football games and they regulate the ball’s size, material, and inflated pressure. The quality and measurements must meet all the required ball specifications.

Ball Carrier

The player in possession of the ball.

Ball Watching

Watching the ball is football terminology when a player focuses solely on the ball and loses sight of the opponent he or she is supposed to mark.


To get the ball through or around an opponent by dribbling or shooting.

Bending the Ball

Striking the ball off-center so that it travels in a curved path, ideally for shots at goal.

Bicycle Kick (scissors 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.

A player kicks the ball in mid-air backwards and over his/her own head, usually making contact above waist level; an acrobatic shot.

Blind Side

The blind side is a FIFA terminology of football that relates to the opposite side of a defender to the ball.


When a team quickly advances the ball down the field in an attempt to get its players near the opponent’s goal before the defenders have a chance to retreat.


When an attacker with the ball approaches the goal undefended; this exciting play pits a sole attacker against the goalkeeper in a one-on-one.

C – Carrying the Ball

A foul called on a goalkeeper when he takes more than 7 seconds while holding or bouncing the ball.

Center Circle

In football game terminology the center circle is a circular marking with a 10-yard radius in the center of the field from which kickoffs are taken to start or restart the game.

Center Pass

A pass from a player located near the sideline towards the middle of the field; used to get the ball closer to the front of the goal.

Center Spot

The spot marked at the center of the field from which the kickoff is made. The center spot is a small circular mark inside the center circle that denotes the center of the field from which kickoffs are taken to start or restart the game.

Checking (run)

Movement used to create space between the player with the ball and the marking opponent.


Making a movement in one direction, stopping, and then moving off in the opposite direction is ‘checking’ in football terminology UK.

Chest Trap

When a player uses his chest to slow down and control a ball in the air.

Chip Pass

A chip pass is a popular terminology in football. It refers to a pass lofted into the air from a player to a teammate.

Chip Shot

A kick lofted into the air to try to sail the ball over the goalkeeper’s head and still make it under the crossbar into the goal.


The act of moving the ball out from within scoring range. A defensive measure.


The metal, plastic or rubber points in the bottom of a soccer/football shoe used to provide a player with traction.


Organization responsible for football in their region (see acronyms)

Control (cushion)

Control of the ball by withdrawing the surface in contact with the ball on impact, e.g. the thigh.

Control (wedge)

Control of the ball with the use of a rigid surface, e.g. the sole of the boot.

Controlling Surface

The surface of the body in contact with the ball to bring the ball under control.

Cool Down

The portion of practice devoted to stretching muscles and returning body functions to their normal state.

Corner Arc

A quarter-circle with a radius of 1 yard located at each of the 4 corners of the field.

Corner Flag

The flag marking each of the four corners of the field.

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 and from the one yard arc at the corner of field.


In the terminology of football a ‘cross’ describes a pass played across the face of a goal.

Counter Attack

An attack launched by a defending team soon after it regains possession of the ball.

Cover (defensive support)

To take a position close to your opponent so as to challenge his/her efforts

Cross (diagonal)

Usually applied in the attacking third of the field to a pass played well infield from the touch-line and diagonally forward from right to left or left to right.

Cross (far-post)

A pass made to the area, usually beyond the post, farthest from the point from which the ball was kicked.

Cross (flank or wing)

A pass made from near to a touch-line, in the attacking third of the field, to an area near to the goal.

Cross (headers)

64% of all goals from crosses are scored by headers.

Cross (mid-goal)

A pass made to the area directly in front of the goal and some six to twelve yards from the goal-line.

Cross (near-post)

A pass made to the area four to six yards infield from the post nearest to the point from which the ball was kicked.


The horizontal beam that forms the top of a goal and sits on top of the two posts; it is 24 feet long and supported 8 feet above the ground.

Crosses (prime target area)

Four out of five goals are scored from crosses into the prime target area.

Cut Down the Angle

When the goalie comes out of the goal several feet to make himself closer and larger to an attacker, leaving the attacker less net to shoot at.

D – Dangerous Play

When a player attempts a play that the referee considers dangerous to that player or others, such as trying to kick the ball out of the goalie’s hands, even if no contact is made.


A player whose job is to stop the opposition attacking players from goal scoring. The players on the team that does not have possession of the ball are defenders.

Defender (committing the)

Attracting the exclusive attention of a defender by moving towards him with or without the ball.

Defending Team

The team that does not have possession of the ball.

Defense (back of)

The space between the goalkeeper and the defender nearest to him.


A team’s function of preventing the opposition from scoring.

Defensive Pressure

When one or more defenders closely mark a ball carrier to harass him into losing the ball.


The FIFA terminology of football uses the term ‘deflection’ to describe the ricochet of a ball after it hits a player.

Direct Free Kick

A free kick in which a goal may be scored directly by the player taking the free kick (the shooter).


Concealing one’s intentions by pretending to do one thing and then doing something else.

Dive Header

Acrobatic skill used to score goals off low crosses in the goal area.


A draw is a terminology in football where a game that ends with a tied score. There is no winner or loser if a match is drawn.


Keeping control of the ball while running. A dribble applies to an attacker taking the ball past an opponent.


A player who advances the ball while controlling it with his feet.


A way of moving the ball along the ground by using the feet while keeping the ball under player’s control.

Drop Ball

A method of restarting a game where the referee drops the ball. The ball must hit the ground.

Drop Kick

When a goalie drops the ball from his hands and kicks it before it hits the ground.


Stepping over the ball and letting it roll past you to a teammate, or applied in dribbling to feinting to move in one direction, to unbalancing an opponent, before moving away in a different direction.

Dummy Run

A run by a player without the ball, to lure defenders away from the ball carrier.

E – Equaliser

An equaliser is a goal that cancels out the opposing team’s lead and leaves the match tied or drawn.


Proper soccer equipment and clothing is a requirement for all players. Leagues and school teams will not allow players to participate without it. Most importantly, equipment provides players with the tools they need to play soccer efficiently and safely.

Extra Time

Extra time sometimes takes place if a match has no winner at full-time. Two x 15 minutes of extra time may be played in some competitions.

F – FAQs

Use the Football Frequently Asked Questions research section to improve your overall knowledge and understanding about the game. We answer all the top questions in the soccer football glossary with up-to-date factual content and blog articles.

Far Post

The goalpost farthest from the ball position.


Body movements designed to unbalance an opponent, or a deceptive movement which can be applied with or without the ball, e.g. feinting to kick the ball, or feinting to move in one direction.


The rectangular area where football/soccer matches are played.


Federation Internationale de Football Association use the 4 letter acronym of ‘FIFA‘. They are the official governing body of international football since 1904 which established the World Cup tournament.

The FIFA Official Rules of Football help set and revise laws of the game from their base and headquarters in Switzerland.

Flank (wing or attacking third)

Cross the ball early from the flank (wing) in to the prime target area. The area of the field within fifteen yards or so of the touch-lines.

Flat Front

The phrase ‘flat front’ is a common terminology of football. It relates to players attacking or defending in straight line across the field.

Flick Header

A player’s use of his head to deflect the ball.

Flight (line of)

Applied to the trajectory of the ball.

Foot Trap

A player’s use of the bottom or sides of his/her shoe to control a rolling or low-bouncing ball.


The name and football term used for soccer everywhere in the world but mostly in Europe and other countries outside of North America and Australia.

Formation Abbreviations
  • 3-3-4: A formation that consists of 3 defenders, 3 midfielders and 4 forwards.
  • 4-2-4: A formation that consists of 4 defenders, 2 midfielders and 4 forwards.
  • 4-3-3: A formation that consists of 4 defenders, 3 midfielders and 3 forwards.
  • 4-4-2: A formation that consists of 4 defenders, 4 midfielders and 2 forwards.
  • 5-3-2: A formation that consists of 5 defenders, 3 midfielders and 2 forwards.
Forward Passes

The statistics and terminologies in football show 27% of all goals are from long forward passes.

Forward Runs (objective)

Make forward runs as direct and quick as possible.

  • The attacker team must gain entry into the attacking third of the field with each attack.
  • In the attacking third, retain the momentum by passing, crossing, dribbling or shooting.
  • In the attacking third, if there is an opportunity or if there is any doubt at all, shoot!
  • Forward runs down the flank, if there is space to cross the ball, do so early and preferably to the back of the defense.

Any illegal play. A violation of the laws for which an official assesses a free kick.

Free Kick

A kick awarded to a players team for a foul committed by the opposition; the player kicks a stationary ball without any opposing players within 10 yards of the ball. A kick awarded to an opposition player when a player has committed a foul. Free kicks can be either direct or indirect.

Full time

Full-time is the point of the game when the referee blows the final whistle and the match is over. Normally after 90 minutes and any added injury or stoppage time.

Full Volley

Shooting a ball directly out of the air.


A version of football usually played indoors.

G – Game of Two Halves

A game of two halves an expression referring to the fact that a football match can change unexpectedly over 90 minutes, and especially between the first half and second half of the match.

Give and Go (1-2)

When a player passes the ball to a teammate, who immediately one-touch passes the ball back to the first player.


When the ball passes completely over the goal line and under cross bar, one point is scored per goal.

Goal Area (6 yard box)

A soccer goal area is a rectangular zone measuring 20 yards wide by 6 yards deep and located in front of each goal net. The goalkeeper may handle the ball inside the goal area which is sometimes called the 18-yard box.

Goal Celebrations

While it is permissible for a player to demonstrate his joy when winning a goal, the celebration must not be excessive. Choreographed football team goal celebrations are not to be encouraged.

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.

A type of restart where the ball is kicked from inside the goal area; awarded to the defending team when a ball that crossed the goal line was last touched by a player on the attacking team.

Goal Line

The two boundary lines located at each end of the field. The field boundary running along its width at each end; also called the end line; runs right across the front of the goal.

Goal (mid-goal area)

An area in front of the goal and six to twelve yards out from the goal-line.

Goal Mouth

The goal mouth is a terminology of football which refers to an area directly in front of the goal.

Goal Nets

Full size soccer goal nets are measured to fit the goal frame and must conform to official FIFA dimensions for 11 v 11 soccer games.

A quality goal net is made from net twine and available in different thicknesses graded from 2.0mm to 4.5mm. All soccer nets are knotted to provide greater durability and withstand changing weather conditions.

Goal Posts

Regulation soccer goal posts measure 8 feet high and 24 feet wide (2.44 x 7.32 metres) according to FIFA’s 17 Laws of the Game. From age 13 young footballers start playing with this goal post dimension.

Goal Side of the Ball

A position between the ball and the goal one is defending.

Goal Side Position

Correct position of a defender when marking an opponent.


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. A goalkeeper is the player in goal who has to stop the ball from crossing the goal-line.

Goalkeepers are the only players who are allowed to handle the ball during open play.

Goalkeeper (one-on-one)

5% of all goals are one-on-one against the goalkeeper.

H – Half Volley

  • Striking a dropping ball at the moment it hits ground.
  • To kick the ball the instant after it touches the ground.
  • Kicking the ball on the short hop.

The intermission between the 2 periods or halves of a game.

Hand Ball

A foul where a player touches the ball with his hand or arm; the opposing team is awarded a direct free kick. The codified rules of play for soccer deliberate handball and intentional ball touching are officially handled in the FIFA ‘Laws of the Game’ according to Law 12.

Hat Trick

3 or more goals scored in a game by a single player.


The striking of a ball in the air by a player’s head. Using of the head to pass or control the ball.


22% of all goals are from headers.


An act of directing the ball with any part of your forehead.

I – In Bounds

When a ball is within the boundaries of the field, having not completely crossed a sideline or goal line.

Indirect Free Kick

A restart situation which will not score a goal unless touched or played by one other player before going into the goal. A free kick awarded to a player from which a goal may not be scored directly.

Injury Time

Time added to the end of any period according to the referee’s judgment of time lost due to player injuries or intentional stalling by a team. Injury time is also called stoppage time. It is added minutes at the end of the regular playing time at half-time or full-time.

In Play

When a ball is within the boundaries of the field and play has not been stopped by the referee.


The upper surface of the foot or boot, e.g. the laces.

Instep Drive

A straight shot taken with the instep of a player’s foot; usually the most powerful and accurate of shots.

In the Attacking Third

Once the team has the ball in the attacking third of the field, the attacker must try and keep it there by making it as hard as possible for the defenders to clear the ball.


A kick that curves in toward the goal.

J – Javelin Throw

Method of goalkeeper distribution used to distribute the ball over distances of 40 or more yards.


A way of covering the man with the ball by feinting without committing yourself.

K – 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. The method of starting a game or restarting it after each goal.


A knockout is used to eliminate other teams from a competition.

L – Linesman

A linesman is the referee’s assistant and the person whose main duty it is to indicate with a flag when the ball has gone out of play or when a player is offside.

Line of Recovery

The path a defender takes when running back towards his/her goal to get on the goal side of the ball.

Line of Retreat

The path a defender takes when moving back towards his/her goal from a position on the goal side of the ball.

Lofted Drive

A powerful kick with the instep through the bottom half of the ball.

Long Power Shots (outside the penalty-area)

The shot may score direct or be deflected by a player into the goal. The goalkeeper may not see the shot through a crowd of players. Even if the goalkeeper makes a save, the goalkeeper may not be able to hold on to the ball or push it out for a corner, and the attacker may have a simple tap-in.

M – Manager

A manager is the person in charge of a team and responsible for training, new players, and transfers.

Man On

The football term ‘man on!‘ is a shout during a football match to warn a team-mate that a player of the other team is right behind. It is often used as a call to pass the ball away quickly.

Man to Man Marking

A defensive system where defenders are designated one attacking player to track continuously. Marking a particular opponent in all the important defensive areas of the field.


Adopt a position, in relation to an opponent, which enables a player either to prevent the opponent from receiving the ball or, at least, to challenge for the ball.


A soccer/football game. A match is two teams playing against each other in a 90-minute game of football.

Midfield Line or Center Line

A line that divides the field in half along its width.


The playing position for players that are responsible for linking play between attackers and defenders.

A player who links the defenders with the attackers and contributes to both attack and defense.

Moves (that start in the attacking third)

53% of all goals come from moves that start in the attacking third of the field.

N – Nearpost

The nearpost is one of the terms used in soccer. It refers to the goal post that is nearest to the ball position.


A nutmeg is a trick or technique in which a player passes the ball through an opponent’s legs and then collects it from the other side. In soccer lingo, nutmeg can also be used as a verb, e.g. the attacker ‘nutmegged‘ the defender.

O – Obstruction

Causing obstruction, which is blocking an opponent with the body, is penalized by awarding an indirect free kick to the opposition. When a defensive player, instead of going after the ball, uses his body to prevent an offensive player from playing it.

Official Game Clock

The clock that the referee carries with him on the field so he can signal when each half is over; does not stop during the game, even when play does.


The referee and 2 assistant referees who work together to make sure the game is played according to the laws of game; responsible for stopping and restarting play, keeping track of the score and the time remaining and citing violations of the laws, called fouls; they wear uniforms that distinguish them from the players on both teams.


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 a player is on their half of the field. An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team at the place where the offside occurred.

The soccer offside rule governs a situation in which an attacker positioned in the opponents’ half of the field does not have two opponents between him or herself and the goal at the moment the ball is played to him or her.

Off-side (cannot be declared off-side)

A player cannot be declared off-side by the referee if he receives the ball direct from a goal kick, a corner kick or a throw in.

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.

On Defence

It is one of the terminologies of football describing a team that does not have possession of the ball.

On Offense

On offence is soccer terminology describing a team in possession of the ball.

One-touch Pass

A pass in which the ball is played on with a player’s first touch.

One Touch Soccer

Inter-passing among teammates without stopping the ball.

One Touch

72% of all goals are from one touch.

Out of Bounds

When a ball is outside the boundaries of the field, having completely crossed a sideline or goal line.

Out of Play

When a ball is outside the boundaries of the field (pitch) or play has been stopped by the referee.

Outside Penalty Area

16% of all goals are from outside the penalty area.

Out Swinger

In the terminologies of football an ‘out swinger’ describes a kick that swerves away from the goal.


A tactic used to move defenders and midfielders into attacking positions.

Own Goal

An own goal is a goal scored accidentally by a member of the defending team that counts in favour of the attacking team.

P – Pass (chip)

A pass made by a stabbing action of the kicking foot to the bottom part of the ball to achieve a steep trajectory and vicious back spin on the ball.

Pass (flick)

A pass made by an outward rotation of the kicking foot, contact on the ball being made with the outside of the foot.

Pass (half-volley)

A pass made by the kicking foot making contact with the ball at the moment the ball touches the ground.

Pass (push)

A pass made with the inside of the kicking foot.

Pass Master

Pass master is one of the common terminologies in football. Describing someone as a pass master in football would be player who is thoroughly experienced or exceptionally skilled passing the ball.

Pass (swerve)

A pass made by imparting spin to the ball, thereby causing it to swerve from either right to left or left to right. Which way the ball swerves depends on whether contact with the ball is made with the outside or the inside of the kicking foot.

Pass (volley)

A pass made before the ball touches the ground.


When a player kicks the ball to his teammate.

Penalty Arc

A circular arc whose center is the penalty spot and extends from the top of the penalty area; designates an area that opposing players are not allowed to enter prior to a penalty kick.

Penalty Area (18 yard box)

At each end of the soccer field two lines are drawn at right angles to the goal line, 18 yards from each goal post. Lines also extend into the field of play for a distance of 18 yards and are joined by a line drawn parallel with the goal post.

Penalty Kick

A penalty kick is awarded when a foul has been committed inside the penalty area in front of the goal. A soccer penalty kick is taken by one player opposed by only one player – the opposition goalkeeper.

Penalty Shootout

During a knock-out competition, a penalty shoot-out takes place if a match is a draw after full-time or extra-time. Five players from each team take a penalty each, and if the score is still level after that, one player from each team takes a penalty in turn, in order to decide who wins the match.

Penalty Shot

The penalty shot is football terminology resulting from a direct foul committed by a defender within his or her penalty area.

The small circular spot located 12 yards in front of the center of the goal line from which all football penalty spot kicks are taken; positioned at the center of the penalty arc.


Penalty Spot

The soccer pitch is where the field of play takes place.

The touchlines and ground markings identify areas where footballers play a match and soccer pitch dimensions.

Play (conditioned)

Applying an artificial restriction, e.g. all players must pass the ball on the first touch.

Play (cross-over)

Applied to the movements of two attacking players moving in opposite directions past each other. These movements are usually made with the ball but can also be made without it.

Play (one-touch)

One-touch play is football terminology describing a player passing the ball first time, i.e. without controlling the ball.

Play (shadow)

A method of coaching which allows players to create movements without opposition.


A play-off is an extra match to decide which of two or more teams should go through to the next round.

Play On

Play on is one of the terminologies of football used by referees to indicate that no foul or stoppage is to be called; used by referees when applying the Advantage Law.

Player (challenging)

Applied to a defending player attempting to dispossess an attacking player with the ball.

Player (covering)

Applied to a defending player who is assisting the challenging player by adopting a position which will enable him/her to challenge if the challenger is beaten.

Player (positions/numbers)

The simplified categorization of soccer player positions is goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders, and forwards.

Player (supporting)

Applied to an attacking player who has positioned to receive a pass from the player in possession of the ball. Usually, but not always, the supporting player is behind the ball.

Poke Tackle

A poke tackle is FIFA football terminology referring to a method of tackling in which a player extends his or her leg and kicks the ball away from an opponent.


Possessions is part of the terminologies of football used most often when a player or team has control of the ball.

Pressure Training

A method of training players to perform a technique many times in rapid succession for a limited period of time.

Prime Scoring Area

22% of all goals are from the area of the far post from the prime scoring area.

Q – Questionnaire

A Football Frequently Asked Questions research section to improve your overall knowledge and understanding about the game. We answer all the top questions in soccer football with up-to-date factual content and blog articles.

R – Ready Position

The goalkeeper’s basic stance when the ball enters shooting range is called the ‘ready position’ in football terminologies.


To draw back part of body upon contact with the ball. This absorbs the shock on impact.

Red Card

The soccer red card rule may be imposed 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. The player’s team must play the rest of the game shorthanded; presented for violent behavior or multiple law infractions (two yellow cards = one red card).


Within the terminology of football, the match official is the person who is in charge of the game.

The chief official makes all final decisions, acts as timekeeper, calls all fouls and starts and stops play. The role of a football referee is making sure the players follow the rules.

Match referees normally wear a black shirt and shorts, and have a whistle. There are many professional female referees officiating football matches.

Restarts (of the game)

Restarts are terminologies of football relating to corner kicks, drop balls, free kicks, goal kicks, penalty kick, place kick, and throw-in.

Run with the Ball

Movement with the ball without dribbling past an opponent is called ‘running with the ball’ in football terminologies.

Run Blind-side

In the terminology related to football it is a run by an attacker on the opposite side of a defender from the ball.

Run (cross-field)

A run made side-to-side as opposed to end-to-end or diagonally.

Run (diagonal, inside-to-outside)

In football terminology it is a run made by an attacker, diagonally, from a central position towards a touchline.

Run (diagonal, outside-to-inside)

A run made by an attacker, diagonally, from a flank (wing) position towards a central position.

Run (overlap)

The movement of an attacking player from a position behind the ball, outside the player with the ball and into a position ahead of the ball.

Running Straight

Defenders will be much less worried about attacker who run straight up and down the field than those who move across it. Running straight is not likely to trouble the defenders, who will be able to mark players and space as well as support one another.

Runs (split)

Runs made usually by central forward players in opposite directions in order to create space in central attacking positions.

S – Save

Terminology related to football describes a save as the actions of a goalkeeper in blocking or stopping a shot that would have gone into the goal without his intervention.


In football terminology UK scoring means to put the ball into the net for a goal; also, the tally of goals for each team playing in a game.


According to the accepted terminology of football glossary, the scorers are the players who score goals most often.

Scoring Opportunity

A situation where a team stands a good chance of scoring a goal.

Season Ticket

English football grants access to all regular home games for season ticket holders. There is no extra charge for entrance to the games for that season. For example the Premier League season ticket price offers a discount over purchasing a ticket for each of the home games individually.

Set Play

A planned strategy that a team uses when a game is restarted with a free kick, penalty kick, corner kick, goal kick, throw-in or kickoff.

Set Plays

According to football terminologies 40% of all goals are from set plays (free kicks, corners and throw-ins).


In the glossary of soccer terms and definitions, ‘shielding‘ is the positioning between the ball and an opponent attempting to gain possession.

Shin Guards

Pads that strap onto a player’s lower leg to protect the shins should he or she be kicked there.


In terminology related to football shooting refers to the moment when a player kicks the ball at the opponent’s net in an attempt to score a goal.

Shooting on Target (at the goal)
  • The average number of shots on target for each game is 6.5 shots.
  • The average number of shots to score 1 goal is 3.5 shots on target.
  • 10 shots on target in a game gives an 86% chance of winning.


A kick, header, or any intended deflection of the ball toward a goal by a player attempting to score a goal. A ball kicked or headed by a player at the opponent’s net in an attempt to score a goal.

Shoulder Charge

Minimal shoulder-to-shoulder contact by a defender against a ball carrier; the only contact allowed by the law unless a defender touches the ball first.

Side Tackle

An attempt by a defender to redirect the ball slightly with his foot away from a ball carrier running in the same direction.


Skill refers to the application of the correct technique on demand regarding the glossary of football terms and rules.


A skipper is the player who leads a team, also called the captain.

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. An attempt by a defender to take the ball away from a ball carrier by sliding on the ground feet-first into the ball.

Soccer games are won by taking advantage of space

Before a team can take advantage of space, it must first create the space. Space is created either by a single player or by coordinated team plays. Space can be given away by mistakes of the defending team. Attacker must always plan on the basis that the defender will give away nothing.

Space (creating)

Increasing the distance between, to the side, in front of, or behind opponents.

Space (exploiting)

In a full-length glossary of FIFA football terms UK ‘exploiting space’ means utilizing created space effectively in the attacking area of the field.

Square Pass

A pass made by a player to a teammate running alongside him.


When a player takes the ball away from an opposing player.


A central marking defender.


An attacking player whose job is to finish attacking plays by scoring a goal. A front-running central attacker.


Replacement of one player on the field with another player not on the field.

Support (wide-angled)

Support at a sufficiently wide angle to give the greatest possibility for passing the ball forward.


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. The “free” player in defense who covers the marking defenders.

Swerve (in-swerve)

A ball curling in towards the target, e.g. an in-swerve corner swerving towards the goal.

Swerve (out-swerve)

A ball curling away from the target, e.g. an out-swerve corner swerving away from the goal.

T – Tackle

To take the ball away from the opponent using the feet. A challenge using the feet, to win the ball from an opponent.


Taking the ball from your opponent by using the feet.


A football term sometimes used to describe a cross-over movement where the player without the ball takes the ball from the dribbling player.

Taking Players On

Applied to dribbling past opponents.


A single player performance, e.g. a good push pass, chest trap, turning, jumping, etc.


The half of the field which a team defends.

The 8 Points to Spread Out Side-to-side.
  • The decision to spread out must (should) be taken early (at the time the team gains possession) and the team must (should) cover the ground as quickly as possible.
  • Spreading out from side-to-side, means wide out to the side line (touch line).
  • Runs must (should) be made at different angles into spaces, but not losing sight of the ball.
  • Take up positions or spaces that makes it difficult for defender to mark and have support.
  • Attacking player must (should) be in positions or spaces that give them wider field of vision as possible to receive the ball.
  • The ball must (should) be played to a teammate that can take advantage of forward play; not because your teammate is in the biggest space.
  • A pass should be delayed until a teammate is in position to receive it and control it. A bad pass or poor control can destroy the space that has been created.
  • The team must take advantage of the space that has been created by forward play. If teammates insist on playing the ball square, or back, possession might be retained.
  • Then, the initiative and the opportunity to take advantage of space will be lost.
Thigh Trap

When a player uses his thigh to slow down and control a ball in the air.

Things to Remember (in defending)

Once the Defender is in position goal side of the ball, the Defender must think about his/her line of recovery, marking and challenging an opponent. The Defender has 5 options.

  • Track an Attacker who is making a run to the back of the defense.
  • Occupy important space goal side of the ball.
  • Mark an Attacker in the area of the ball.
  • Cover a teammate who is challenging the Attacker with the ball.
  • Challenge the Attacker with the ball.

Things to Remember (in passing)

  • Pass the ball into space in back of the defense.
  • Pass the ball to feet of the most advanced attacker.
  • Pass the ball beyond at least one defender.
  • Pass the ball cross the field to switch the line of attack.
  • Pass the ball back to a supporting teammate.
Things to Remember (on free kicks, corners and throw-ins)

  • Move in to the prearranged marking positions quickly.
  • Mark close in the area of the ball.
  • Mark in back of the attacker.
  • Mark the space in front of the attacker.
  • The goalkeeper be in the right position.
  • Seal off as much space as possible inside the penalty area.
  • Player in the wall line up, tallest on the outside (in line with ball and post) and the shortest is on the inside.

Things to Remember (to gain more set plays)

  • Pass the ball to the back of the defense.
  • Cross the ball to the back of the defense.
  • Dribbling in the attacking third of the field.
  • Pressuring defenders in the attacking third of the field.
  • Shooting at goal in the attacking third of the field.

Thirds of the Field

Areas roughly 35 yards in length signifying the defending, the middle, and the attacking thirds of the field.

Through Pass

A pass played past defenders into free space to allow a teammate to run onto the ball. A pass sent to a teammate to get him/her the ball behind his defender; used to penetrate a line of defenders.


The ball is thrown in after the ball has crossed the touch line. A player taking a throw in must have both feet on or behind the touch line, must maintain contact with the ground, and must use a two-handed throw made from behind the head. A goal cannot be score directly from a throw-in.

Tie Game

When two teams have scored the same number of goals in a match; if the game ends tied, it is a draw


The job of the referee, who keeps track of the official time.

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. Side boundary of the field. 2. The side lines of the field.


Running behind another player.


When a player uses his body to slow down and control a moving ball, most often using his chest, thighs or feet.

Trapping the Ball

Controlling the ball with the sole of the foot.


One of nine offenses warranting a direct foul. 2. The act of stopping a ball and bringing the ball under your control.

Turning One’s Opponent

Causing an opponent to turn, usually by playing the ball past him, or by moving past him, or by both.

Turning with the Ball

The act of receiving the ball when facing one’s goal and turning, with the ball under control, to face the opponent’s goal.


The loss of possession of the ball.

U – Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Rude behavior.

V – Volley

Striking the ball in mid-air with either foot. Any ball kicked by a player when it is off the ground.

Volley (hook)

A hooking or circular movement by the kicking leg where the leg is parallel with the ground when contact is made on the ball.


17% of all goals are from volleys.

W – W Position

Position of the goalkeeper’s hands when fielding a chest-high ball.


A line of 2 to 5 defending players pressed together shoulder-to-shoulder to protect their goal against a close free kick; creates a more difficult shot by reducing the amount of open goal area the kicker has to shoot at.

Wall Pass

Give and go pass, or inter-passing between two attacking players, where the player acting as the wall plays the ball first time and off at a similar angle at which the ball was received. The pass is usually made behind an opponent.

Wall Player

The player acting as the wall in a wall pass.

Warm Up

Exercises that warm the muscles and prepare the body for vigorous activity.

Weight of the Pass

A comprehensive term used quite frequently to describe the pace of a pass.

Wings or Wingers

The outside forwards who play to the sides of the strikers and whose primary task is to provide them with accurate crossing passes so they can shoot at the goal; often the fastest players and best dribblers on a team. Attackers who play on the wings/flanks of the field.

World Cup

The international soccer competition held by FIFA every 4 years between the top professional teams in the world, pitting nation against nation; the most watched event in the world, attracting a television audience of over 3 billion viewers.

X – XI

XI are numerals often used in football to denote the number eleven (e.g. FIFA World XI v Premier League XI)

Y – Yellow Card

The soccer yellow card rule may be imposed by a referee to signal a caution for a minor infringement. A playing card-sized card that a referee holds up to warn a player for dangerous or unsportsmanlike behavior; also called a caution; 2 yellow cards in one game earns a player an automatic red card, signaling his removal from the game.

Z – Zone Defense

A defensive system that assigns each defender to a particular area in front of or around his team’s goal in which he is responsible for marking any attacker that enters.

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FIFA Football Terminology: Glossary Terminologies of Football Terms and Rules