Even if you are a long-time follower of football, there might be some basic soccer terms that you don’t understand or terms that you were too lazy to look up of this world-famous game.
Here is a glossary of basic soccer terms for both soccer newbies and lazy long-time followers.
Goal/Net: The physical object into which an attacking team must send the ball.
Goal Lines: The borderline of the field on which the goal stands.
Goal Area/Six Yard Box: The smaller rectangle shape that is nearest to the goal where the goal shots are taken from.
Penalty Area: The bigger rectangle shape around the goal where the goalkeepers are allowed to use their hands
Sidelines/Touchlines: White-colored lines that form the boundaries of a pitch.
Center Circle: The 10-yard radius circle in the center of a pitch. The opposing team must stay out of the center circle when kick-off is taken.
Far Post: The goal post is the furthest away from the player possessing the ball at any given time.
Near Post: The goal post nearest to the player with the ball.
For more in-depth information on football pitches, you can check out our article on What is the “Pitch” in Soccer (Football)?
Goalkeeper/Goalie: A player whose job is to defend the goal line within the frame of the goal. Unlike the outfield players, they are allowed to use their hands.
Defender: There are four types of defenders in soccer: center-back, sweeper/libero, full-back, and wing-back. Each of them have their own special areas on the field.
Their main role is to stop the opposing team’s attacks, to that end, they intercept passes, tackle opponents, contest headers and block shots.
Midfielder: They are positioned at the center of the field, between their team's defenders and forwards. Midfielders’ primary goal is to move the ball from their defense towards their offense to increase goal-scoring opportunities.
Forward: They are the nearest to the opposing team’s goal and they are entrusted with scoring goals or creating scoring opportunities for their team members.
Goal: When the ball hits the net, it means it’s a goal, also known as score. Easy, right?
Pass: A ball kicked from one teammate to another.
Shot: An attempt to score a goal.
Assist: Final pass before a teammate scores a goal.
Header: When a player hits the ball with their head, it’s called a header.
Volley: When a team member kicks the ball while it is in the air.
Save: When a goalkeeper blocks a shot.
Tackle: Stealing the ball from the opponent’s possession.
Trap: A player stops the ball with his/her body to control it.
Cross: A medium to long-range pass forwarded from a distant area of the field towards the center of it.
Throw In: Throwing the ball with hands to restart the game when the ball goes off-field.
Free Kick: After an offense of the opposite team, the team that was fouled uses the method of free-kick to restart the game.
Corner Kick: If the defense sends the ball out of the play over the goal line with the last touch made by a player from the defending team, the offensive team places and kicks the ball in the corner and restarts the game.
Goal Kick: If the ball passes over the goal line, having been last touched by the attacking team, the defending team is awarded a goal kick to restart the game.
Foul: General name for an unfair act by a player which goes against the rules of the game such as tripping, pushing, and tackling the opponent from behind.
Dangerous Play: If a player plays in a dangerous manner either to cause harm to himself/herself or to an opponent, an indirect free kick can be rewarded.
Handball: If a player deliberately touches the ball with their hands or arms it is considered to be an offence.
Penalty Kick/Shoot: If a foul is committed in the goalie box, a player from the defending team gets to use a single penalty shot with only the goalkeeper defending the ball from the opposite side.
Penalty Shootout: When a tie occurs, each team takes five penalty kicks to determine the winner.
Offside: To put it simply, if a player receives the ball while being beyond the second last opponent, that player is considered to be offside. Offside is notorious for being the most confusing of the basic soccer terms, so watch carefully!
Yellow Card: A yellow card is given as a warning if a player infringes on certain rules. The infringements involve;
unsporting behavior, dissent by word or action, series of fouls, delaying the restart of play, leaving the pitch without the referee's permission.
A player who receives a yellow card can still play the game.
Red Card: A referee shows a red card to suspend a player that has committed some of these infringements;
receiving a second official warning, violent conduct, spitting at an opponent or another person, insulting other players, using offensive language, hindering an opponent from an obvious goal-scoring.
If these rules are too strict for you and you are a bit of a rebel, there are also other types of football that may excite you! Why not check our article on 5 Types of Football You Need to Know to discover some of them?
Thanks to this glossary of basic soccer terms, we hope that next time you will have no difficulty understanding and following the game!
Çam Hotel, one of the best thermal hotels located in Turkey, invites you to play soccer on a special football field that is preferred by many professional football clubs, along with national teams. You can play soccer with your team, or enjoy many activities offered. For that, you can make your reservation in Çam Hotel where there is a high-level service quality!