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Soccer Glossary and Terms

Soccer1- History & Object
2- The Essentials
3- Field Diagram and Positions
4- Glossary of Soccer Terms


Bending the ball: A kick with spin that hooks while in the air. Players often "bend" the ball during corner kicks or to pass around defenders.

Bicycle kick: When a player flips backward and kicks the ball over his head.

Chip pass: A pass kicked high with backspin.

Clear: When defenders kick the ball away from the gaol, usually far downfield or out of bounds.

Corner kick: When the ball crosses the goal line after last touching a defender, a member of the offense restarts play from the closest corner.

Cross: A pass sent from near the sidelines to the front of the goal to create a scoring opportunity. Also called centering.

Direct kick: A unguarded kick awarded following severe fouls, such as kicking, tripping, jumping at, charging, striking, pushing, holding or spitting at an opponent. When tackling an opponent, the player must first make contact with the ball or a direct kick results. Additionally called for hand ball. A goal can be scored directly from the kick; it does not need to touch an additional player after the kick.

Dribble: Keeping control of the ball while running by tapping, dragging, or rolling it in front of the body.

Drop kick: When a goalkeeper who is holding the ball drops it and kicks it after it bounces.

Free kick: A kick from the spot of the foul, awarded to the team that was fouled, in which the opposing players must stand at least 10 yards away until the ball is kicked. A free kick is either a direct kick or an indirect kick, depending on the type of foul.

Goal kick: When the offense sends the ball over the goal line, the defense kicks the ball from within the goal area. Opposing players may not enter the penalty area until the ball has been kicked.

Hand ball: The illegal action of touching the ball with an arm or hand.

Header: Using the head to pass, shoot, block, or otherwise control the ball.

Indirect kick: An unguarded kick following minor fouls, such as offsides, dangerous play (e.g. high kick), impeding the progress of an opponent, or preventing the goalie from releasing the ball. The ball must touch at least one player after the kick before a goal can be scored.

Juggling: Performing a series of touches while keeping the ball from hitting the ground.

Kickoff: The ball is put into play from the center circle at the start of each half and after a goal.

Marking: Guarding an opponent.

Man on: Players yell “man on” to inform a teammate that a defender is nearby.

Nutmeg: A pass that goes between an opponent’s legs.

Offsides: Foul frequently enforced during a game to prevent unfair fast-break goals. Called when a player is closer to the opposition’s goal line than both the ball and two defenders (the goalie and one additional defender).

Penalty kick: When a foul is called inside the penalty box, the offense is awarded a direct kick from the penalty spot. Only the goalkeeper can stop this shot attempt.

Penalty-kick tiebreaker: In case of a tie, five players from each team alternate penalty shots. The team that scores the most goals is the winner. If the teams remain tied after five shots, they alternate penalty shots until one team misses and the other scores. Also called a shoot-off.

Punt: A long distance kick by the goalie, who drops and kicks the ball before it hits the ground.

Save: When a player, usually the goalie, blocks a shot from going into the goal.

Scrimmage: A practice game. Also called a friendly.

Strike: Legal contact (kick, header, etc.) with the ball; hands and arms are not permitted.

Tackle: To steal the ball from a player. Stealing the ball by sliding in front of a player is called a slide tackle.

Throw-in: A two-handed, overhead pass, taken from the sideline when the opposing team knocks the ball out of bounds.

Touch: Contact that a player has with the ball while it is in his possession (e.g. “one-touch,” “two-touch,” etc.).

Trapping: Stopping the ball to gain control before advancing.

Volley: Kicking the ball while it is in midair.


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