Soccer Terms

Feeling a little lost when coaching, playing, or watching a soccer game? Don’t understand what coaches, players, and fans are yelling out? Hopefully this list of soccer terms will help you!

Back Heel
Hitting the ball with the heel of your foot to kick it backwards.

Ball Watching
Refers to players who only watch the ball and don’t know where nearby opponents are.

Banana Kick
A kick where the ball curves like a banana. This type of kick is seen with corner kicks and free kicks.

Bicycle Kick
A kick where the player leaps into the air and while falling backwards, kicks the ball over his/her head. If done near an opponent, it can be considered a dangerous play and a foul will be called.

Breakaway
When an attacking player is in possession of the ball gets behind the defense and the only player left to beat is the goalkeeper.

Challenge the ball
When a player tries to take possession of the ball from an opposing player.

Clear the ball
To kick the ball out of the danger zone, meaning out of the scoring range for the opposing team.

Contain
To restrict an opponent’s movement by forcing them to go in a certain direction. This will give your teammates time to get back and help. Containing also means not to lunge in or poke at the ball, which usually results in the opposing player getting past you.

Dummy
When a player pretends to receive a ball but then intentionally lets the ball go past him/her or through his/her legs to another teammate.

Fifty-Fifty Ball
A loose ball where both teams have an equal chance of getting.

Give and Go
A player passes a ball to a teammate and then makes a run to receive a return pass.

Half Volley
To kick the ball while it is in the air but after it has bounced on the ground.

Header
To hit the ball with your head.

Kick Ball
Refers to a team that kicks the ball forward and then runs after it. There is minimal passing and ball control.

Man On
A player from the opposing team is closing in on you with the intention of taking the ball.

Marking
To stay close to and follow an opponent in order to stop a ball from being passed to them.

Nutmeg
When a player intentionally passes the ball through an opponent’s legs and receives it on the other side.

Overlap
When a player moves out of his/her own position and runs past a teammate.

Push Up
Refers to defenders moving forward towards the midfield, usually to try and catch the opposing team offsides.

Settle
To receive a pass and keep the ball in control.

Tackle
To take possession of the ball from the opposing team. This can be while standing or by sliding.

Through Ball
A pass into space behind the defenders in the hopes that an attacking player will beat the defenders to the ball.

Volley
To kick the ball while it is still in the air.

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