Glossary of Soccer Terms
6TH ATTACKER: Term used when a team removes their goalkeeper and puts another offensive player on the field for more of an attacking presence. The player will wear the 6th attacker jersey.
BOARDING: When one player intentionally pushes on an opposing player into the perimeter boards.
BREAKAWAY: When a player in the possession of the ball has a clear run to the opposite goal.
CENTER: To pass the ball: either in the air, or on the ground, from a wide position on the field into the penalty area.
CORNER KICK: When the ball goes over the glass on the goal side of either corner flag, having been played by the defensive team. The offensive team kicks the ball back into play from the corner spot closest to where the ball left the field of play.
CROSS: The term often used for a center played in the air.
DEFENDER: A player who marks the opposition’s forward or offensive zone with the intent of preventing goals.
DRIBBLE: using the feet to advance the ball.
DROP BALL: When the play is stopped for any number of reasons and fault lies with neither team. The official then drops the ball and each team has an equal chance at gaining possession.
FAR POST: The goalpost furthest from the ball.
FORWARD (STRIKER): A player whose main job it is to create and score goals.
FREE KICK: When a foul has been committed, the opposite team restarts the game with a free kick where the infraction took place.
GOALKEEPER: A single player who acts as the last line of defense. The only player who is allowed to use his hands but only when positioned inside his own penalty area.
GOALKEEPER DISTRIBUTION: The restarting of play by a goalkeeper after a timeout, or after an attacking player has last touched the ball before crossing the perimeter wall between the corner flags. This distribution is taken from any point within the penalty area by the goalkeeper.
HALF VOLLEY: Kicking the ball just as it rebounds off the ground.
HANDBALL: Illegal act of intentionally touching the ball with the hand or arm (from the shoulder to the tip of the fingers).
HAT TRICK: The term used to describe the scoring of three goals by one player in a single game.
HEADING: Using the head to propel the ball. The proper area of the head that should be used is the forehead, between the hairline and the eyebrows.
JOCKEYING: A defensive technique used to slow down and/or redirect an offensive player in possession of the ball. The defender does not attempt to win the ball, but tries to maneuver the attacker to a less dangerous area of the field, delaying the attack until defensive help arrives.
KICK-IN: When the ball goes out of play along the touchline. The ball is placed on the field along the dotted line for the opposing team to kick back into play.
LOB: A soft kick taken on the volley, lifting the ball over the heads of the opponents.
MAN-TO-MAN: A type of defense where each defender marks a specific opponent.
MARKING: The covering or close guarding of an opponent.
MIDFIELDER: Both an offensive and defensive player who is primarily responsible for linking a team’s forwards and defenders.
NEAR POST: The goalpost closest to the ball.
OBSTRUCTION: A deliberate action of a player using his body to prevent an opponent getting to the ball when that player is himself not within playing distance of the ball.
OFF THE BALL: A term that describes the position of attacking or defensive players who are making helpful runs away from the ball.
OVERLAPPING: The attacking play of a defender going down his own touchline past a teammate to possibly receive a pass.
PENALTY KICK: When a team commits a major foul, e.g. tripping or handball, within its own penalty area, the referee awards a penalty kick to the opposition. The ball is placed on the red spot 24 feet from the goalkeeper who must stay on his goal line without moving his feet until the ball is kicked. All other players must remain behind the offensive yellow line until the kick is taken.
POWER PLAY: Similar to ice hockey in that a player guilty of an infraction is sent to the penalty box, forcing his team to play a man down.
PULLING THE GOALKEEPER: A strategy used by a team behind in the closing stages of the game. The goalkeeper on the losing team is replaced by a field player, in order to give his team an extra attacking player.
RESTART: When the game has been stopped for any reason, play commences with the appropriate restart following what put the ball out of play.
SAVE: A play by the goalkeeper or defensive player that prevents an opposing team’s shot from entering the goal.
SCREENING (SHIELDING): When a player legally protects the ball from an opponent by keeping his body between that player and the ball.
SHOOTOUT: Awarded for time penalty infractions when a player, who has a clear and unobstructed path to the goal, is fouled outside of the penalty area. The ball is placed at the center of the offensive yellow line and play is live once the whistle is blown. All players except the designated shooter and goalkeeper must start behind the midfield line.
SWEEPER: Name given to the player who sweeps up behind his fellow defenders, generally the last line of the defense in front of the goalkeeper.
TACKLING: When a player attempts to, or succeeds in taking the ball from an opponent by using his feet.
TRAPPING: The control of the ball by using various parts of the body including the chest, thighs and feet.
VOLLEY: Kicking the ball while it is in the air.
WALL PASS: A pass to a teammate who gives a first-time angled return pass behind an opponent. Often called a “give and go” or a “one two.”
ZONE: A type of defense where each defender marks a specific area (or zone) rather than a particular player.