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Advantage Clause: Also called "Advantage Rule"; after a foul is committed, the referee is allowed to continue a play to avoid unfairly punishing the fouled team, and to prevent the foul from benefiting the team that committed the foul.
Advantages: When a team possesses the ball and outnumbers the opponent near the opponent's goal.
American Football: Non-Americans use this term to distinguish the common U.S. sport from another country's sport of soccer, which they also call "football".
APSL: American Professional Soccer League ? The original A-League, APSL was the nation's professional men's outdoor soccer league from 1990 to 1994. It was formed as a merger between the American Soccer League and the Western Soccer League, and consisted of American and Canadian teams. It was renamed "A-League" in 1995.
Attacking Midfielder: The midfielder that plays directly behind the forward players, and sets up goals by passing the ball to forwards, and in this way, supports the offense.
Attacker: The player that possesses the ball.
Attacking Team: The team that possesses the ball.
AYSO: American Youth Soccer Organization. An administrative entity, which sets rules and provides resources and information to youth soccer leagues around the country.
Aggressive Soccer Receiving: Receivers are alert with every pass, no matter how imperfect it is, in an effort to prevent a pass from getting away from them.
Air Ball: Also called "Lofted Ball" or "Lifted Ball"; when the ball is airborne.
Arc: Also called "Penalty Box Arc"; the arc at the top of the penalty box.
Assist: A pass that ends in a goal.
Assistant Referee: Also called "Linesman"; a person positioned on either side of the field who basically "calls the line", among other things, to assist the referee.
Attack Staller: An attacker who slows an attack unnecessarily.
Attacking: Also called "Offense", when a team possesses the ball. There are two basic kinds of attacks; direct (passing the ball directly and rapidly toward the goal), and indirect (passing the ball sideways and backwards in search of weaknesses in the defense).
Attacking Half: The one-half of the field containing the other team's goal.
Attacking Plan: A plan for how a team will execute a play.
Attacking Third: The one-third of the field containing the other team's goal.
Back Header: A player uses his head to pass a ball backwards.
Back Tackle: A defender tries to seize the ball from the carrier by the defender swinging his leg from behind to the front of the ball.
Ball Carrier: The player who possesses the ball.
Banana Kick: A strategic kick used to angle the ball around an obstacle.
Break: Also called "Advantage", players quickly advance the ball down the field toward the opponent's goal before defenders can get the ball.
Breakaway: Also called "Fast Break" or "Counterattack"; an attacker quickly moves in behind defenders leaving only the goalie between the attacker and the goal.
Carrying the Ball: A foul is called on the goalkeeper for taking more than 4 steps while bouncing or holding the ball.
Caution: Also called "Yellow Card", a card the referee holds up to warn player of un-sportsmanlike behavior. Two cards may result in the removal from a game.
Center: A pass from the sidelines to a player in the center of the field.
Center Circle: Also called "Center Spot", the marked, center of the field where kickoffs are made.
Center Line: Also called "Midfield Line", this is the line that divides the field in half.
Central Defender: The player who guards the field directly in front of the goal.
Charge: A player runs into an opponent, either legally or illegally.
Chest Trap: To use the chest to control or slow the ball while in the air.
Chip Pass: Passing the ball into the air using the chest in order to evade an opponent.
Chip Shot: A pass lofted into the air and over the goalie's head in an attempt to make it under the crossbar and into the goal.
Clear: Kicking the ball away from the goal.
CONCACAF: Norte-Centroamericana Del Caribe de Footbal. North and Central American regional soccer organization where the World Cup qualifying matches are played and includes the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
Consolation Match: A tournament between losers of the two semifinal games to determine the third-place team.
Corner Flags: Flags that mark the corners of the playing field.
Corner Kick: The restart a play when the ball goes out of bounds, the attacking team kicks it inbound from the nearest corner.
Counterattack: Also called "Fast Break", and "Breakaway", a play begun when the ball is obtained on a turnover from the other team. There are two kinds: A slow, controlled attack that involves many short passes in all directions; the other is moving the ball directly forward into the other team's "danger zone" as quickly as possible.
Coverage: Defense players are covering important areas of their "danger zone" and in front of their goal.
Create: To create scoring opportunities.
Creating Space: A player creates space around the ball carrier by moving without the ball in order to draw defenders away from him.
Cross: Also called "Crossing Pass", "Crossed Ball", or "Center the Ball"; to set up a scoring opportunity, a player near the sideline kicks the ball to a player in the middle or opposite side of the field.
Cushioning the Ball: When a player catches a pass, he relaxes his body in a way that absorbs the impact in order to control the ball.
Cut Down the Angle: The goalie moves out in front of the goal closer to an attacker to widen the barrier and create less net to shoot at.
Cut Off: A player positions himself between an attacker and the player's goal, forcing the attacker toward the sidelines.
Danger Zone: The goal area where most shots are scored.
Defend Deep: Keeping defense deep in the defense half of the field.
Defenders: Team players not in possession of the ball who are defending their goal.
Defense: The object of keeping the other team from scoring.
Defensemen: Also called "Fullbacks", the players whose main objective is to prevent the other team from scoring.
Defensive Half: The one-half of the field that contains the goal.
Defensive Third: The one-third of the field that contains the goal.
Deflection: The ball bounces off of a player.
Deliver the Ball: A pass that generally results in a scoring opportunity.
Direct Free Kick: After the opposition fouls, a team is given a free kick which may be made directly into the goal without it touching another player.
Diving Header: A player dives toward the ground to strike the ball with his head.
Drag the Ball: A strategy that involves moving the ball slowly along the ground with one foot in an effort to protect the ball from a defender.
Draw: The game ends in a tie.
The Draw: Selecting and placing qualifying World Cup teams into groups.
Dribbling: Moving the ball carefully forward by controlling it with the feet.
Drive: Also called "Power Shot"; to strike the ball with the top of the foot, or "laces".
Drop Ball: The referee drops the ball between two players in order to restart the game.
Drop Kick: The goalkeeper drops and then kicks the ball after it bounces off the ground.
Eighteen: The "Penalty Box Line", which runs 18 yards out from the goal line into the field.
Endline: Also called "Goal Line"; the line, which runs along its width directly in front of the goal, that defines the end of the playing field and which the ball must cross in order to score a goal.
English Football Association: An association of British soccer teams formed in 1863 to establish the sport's rules and regulations.
European Cup: Final tournament played among Europe's top teams.
F.A.: Football Association; in cooperation with FIFA and other leading soccer organizations, F.A. helps maintain soccer rules and regulations.
Fair Charging: Also called "Shoulder Charging", a legitimate tackle that can be used to gain possession of the ball.
Fake: Also called "Feint"; a deceptive move made by a ball carrier to fake the opponent into thinking the carrier is going to make a pass in another direction.
Far Forward: The player positioned ahead of teammates who is farthest from the ball.
Far Fullback: The fullback, or defenseman, farthest from the ball.
Far Midfielder: The midfielder (positioned between the fullbacks and the forwards) farthest from the ball.
Far Post: Also called "Back Post", the vertical beam (there are two beams that form either side of the goal) that is farthest from the ball.
Far Stopper: The farthest stopper (a center fullback who stops attacks in the center of the field) from the ball.
Fast Break: Also called "Breakaway", and "Counterattack", an attacker gets behind defenders and advances to the goal, undefended.
FIFA: Federation International Football Association; the international governing body that publishes official soccer rules, called "Laws of the Game".
First Attacker: The player in who possesses the ball.
First Defender: A player is strategically positioned near the ball.
Flick Header: A player redirects the ball by ricocheting it off the top or side of the head.
Flick Pass: A quick, strategic pass using the outside of the foot, usually close to the goal.
Floor: The ground, on the soccer field.
Foot Trap: A player controls a ground ball with his use of the foot.
Football: What soccer is referred to as, in other countries. In the U.S., the popular sport that evolved out of soccer and rugby.
Formation: Players form positions on the field.
Forward Line: Forwards consisting mainly of "strikers" and "wingers" who work cooperatively on the field to try and score goals.
Forward Pass: The ball is passed in the direction of the opponent's goal.
Forwards: Players positioned ahead of teammates whose main job is to score the goals.
Foul: The referee determines a rule has been broken and awards a free kick to the other team.
Free Kick: Kick awarded by a referee to a team whose opponent has broken a rule.
Friendly: A purely recreational game, such as an exhibition or scrimmage.
Front Header: To strike the ball in the air using the forehead.
Front Tackle: A defender approaches an attacker head on with intent to kick the ball away from the attacker.
Fullbacks: Also called "Defensemen", players who are not in possession of the ball.
Funnel: The strategic manner in which players concentrate their efforts on achieving the goal as they advance from their field positions closer toward the goal.
Goal: The designated area, between the "goal line", the "goal posts", and the "cross bar", that team players must pass the ball into in order to score points.
Goal Area: The designated area in front of the goal, 20 yards wide by 6 yards deep, where goal kicks are made.
Goal Kick: A restart kick from the goal area given to the defending team as a result of the attacking team contacting the ball just before it crossed the "goal line".
Goal Line: Also called "End Line", the boundary line that runs just in front of, and parallel to the goal at each end, which the ball must cross in order to score points.
Goalie: Also called a "Goal Keeper"; the player positioned in front of the goal whose job is to defend the goal.
Goal Mouth: The goal's entrance.
Goal Posts: The vertical beams on either side of the goal.
Hacking: To kick an opponent's legs.
Halfback: Also called "Midfielder", the player positioned between the fullbacks and the forwards.
Half Volley: Kicking the ball on a drop kick as soon as it touches the ground.
Halves: Also called "Periods"; the game is split into two 45-minute segments, or "halves".
Handball: A player fouls by touching the ball.
Hat Trick: A player scores three or more goals in one game.
Header: A player strikes the ball in the air with his head.
Hook: A curve ball caused by a kick that "spins" it.
Hopped Pass: A pass made high enough in the air to clear players' ability to catch it.
IFAB: International Football Association Board; an entity comprised of FIFA and British soccer organizations that officially approves changes in international soccer rules.
Indirect Free Kick: A kick given to a player in response to a minor foul committed by the opponent.
Injury time: Also called "Stoppage Time"; time is added to a game to make up for time lost due to an injury during a game.
Instep Drive: A straight shot taken with the instep of the foot.
Juggle: To keep the ball above the ground using any part of the body except the arms and hands.
Keeper: Refers to "Goalkeeper".
Kickoff: A player starts or restarts the game by kicking the ball from the "center circle" to a teammate.
Kill the Ball: To stop the ball "dead" with the foot.
Killer Ball: A pass, usually a "through" or "long" pass, which sets up a goal.
Last Defender: The last field player nearest to the goal.
Late Tackle: Delayed tackle; player contacts the ball carrier after the carrier has passed the ball.
Laws of the Game: The 17 official soccer rules as determined and published by FIFA.
LDMF: Left Defensive Midfielder.
Lead Pass: A pass made ahead of a receiver.
Linesmen: Referee assistants who monitor the goal lines and sidelines for out-of-bounds foul plays.
Linkmen: Also called "Midfielders" or "Halfbacks"; players positioned between the Fullbacks and the Forwards. They "link" the two positions by supporting them both.
Loft: Also called "Lob"; a foot pass that sends the ball into the air.
Long Ball: A long pass, such as one made from the Fullbacks to the Goalkeeper.
Long Corner: A long "cross" or corner kick of the ball toward the goal.
Man-to-Man: A one-on-one defense strategy in which a defender is assigned to "mark" or guard a player from the other team.
Mark: A player guards an opponent one-on-one to keep him from moving toward the goal.
Mark the Ball: Instead of marking an opponent, a player marks or defends the multiples zones, or spaces, between the ball and the net.
Match: A game.
Midfield: Area between the Forwards and the Fullbacks.
Midfield Anchor: Also called "Defensive Midfielder"; the player situated near the center line just in front of his team's defense, and who is assigned to mark the toughest offensive player.
Midfield Line: Also called or "Center Line"; the line at the center of the field that divides the playing field in half.
Midfielders: Players positioned behind the forwards who make passes between the fullbacks and the forwards.
MISL: Major Indoor Soccer League. Predecessor to the MSL, a U.S. indoor league begun in 1977. Games consisted of 6 players on each side, and played on hockey rinks converted into soccer fields.
Mismatch: Man-to-man markers are mismatched, skill-wise.
MLS: Major League Soccer; outdoor league begun in 1995.
MSL: Major Soccer League; a U.S. indoor soccer league existing from 1990-1992, and formerly the MISL.
Movement Off the Ball: A concept referring to strategies of teammates not in possession of the ball, and critical to both offensive and defensive teamwork.
NASL: North American Soccer League; a major U.S. outdoor soccer league existing from 1967-1985, which attracted international players and large audiences.
Near Post: The goal post nearest to the ball.
Near Stopper: The stopper, or center fullback who stops attacks at the center, who is closest to the ball.
Net: Often used interchangeably with "Goal", literally refers to the corded material attached to the goal frame which captures the ball.
Nutmeg: To pass the ball between a player's legs.
NPSL: National Professional Soccer League: Originally the American Indoor Soccer Association, an indoor soccer league (1984-2001) in which games were played indoors on converted hockey rinks, and by non-traditional rules. May also refer to a league (1967) that merged with the United Soccer Association to create the North American Soccer League.
Obstruction: A player uses his body to block an opponent from getting the ball.
Off His Line: The Goalie is off the goal line, or out from between the two goalposts.
Off the Ball: Offense players not in possession of the ball.
Off the Play: Offense or defense players not immediately involved in a pass.
Offense: Also called "Attacking"; when a team has the ball.
Offensive player: Also called "Attacker"; a player who is in possession of the ball. Offensive team
Offside: A player in an offside position receives a pass from an attacker resulting in a foul.
Offside Line: The farthest point down the field that an attacker may be before being considered offside.
Offside Offense: Also called "Offside Infraction"; receiving or making a pass from the offside position.
Offside Position: A position in which a player is closer to the opponent's goal fewer than two defensemen are between an attacker and the goal.
On His Line: Opposite "Off His Line", the Goalie is on the goal line, or between the two goalposts.
On Ball: When a player has the ball, he is said to be "on ball".
On Ball Attacking: A ball handler strategy to create space for scoring opportunities.
One Touch: A ball is shot or passed from one player to another with one touch, and without stopping. In this case it is said to be a "one touch" shot or "one touch" pass.
Open: An unmarked defensive player.
Open Space: Playing field space devoid of defenders, particularly between the ball and goal.
Outlet Pass: Often used to start a counterattack, a defender or goalkeeper kicks the ball from near his team's goal close to the opposing goal.
Out of Bounds: The ball is out of the playing field boundaries.
Out of Play: A play is stopped usually because the ball is out of bounds or a foul has been called.
Overlap: An outside Forward advances toward the center of the field to allow space for his teammate to move the ball toward the sideline.
Overtime: Time is added to an intercollegiate or championship "Regulation Game" that ends in a tie, to determine the winner.
Pass: A play, kick, or strike of the ball with head, chest, or thighs, to a teammate.
Penalty: A referee call to a player who breaks a rule.
Penalty Arc: The arc adjoining the penalty area, extending 10 yards from the penalty spot.
Penalty area: Also called "the 18-Yard Box", or simply "the Box"; the 44-yard x18-yard area surrounding the penalty spot (center), and situated alongside the goal line.
Penalty Kick: Also called "Penalty Shot", or "Spot Kick"; a direct free kick made by a player from the penalty spot against his opponent's goalie.
Penalty Shot: Kick made from the penalty spot.
Penalty Spot: The small marked spot from which penalty shots are made, extending 12 yards out from the center of the goal line.
Penetrate: To advance the ball from behind defending opponents.
Period: A segment of game time. For example, a standard regulation game consist of two, 45-minute halves, or periods.
Pinnie: A mesh or nylon training vest used in practice.
Pitch: An English word referring to the playing field.
Play: A strategic pass or kick of the ball to a teammate.
Play On: A referee has determined that no foul or reason to stop a game has been committed.
Playoff: An end-of-the-season game that determines the champion.
Pop-It: To pass the ball to yourself.
Possession: To have control of the ball.
Professional foul: Also called "Tactical Foul"; a deliberate foul played to prevent the opponent from scoring a goal without being awarded a free kick; is considered an act of misconduct and player is given a yellow warning card.
Push Pass: An advance of the ball using the inside of the foot, which appears as if the player is pushing the ball.
Qualifying Draw: Two years before "The Draw", teams are divided into groups to ultimately determine World Cup qualifiers.
Qualifying Matches: Two years prior to the "World Cup", teams hold games to determine World Cup qualifiers.
Receiver: Player who receives a pass from his teammate.
Red Card: Final card issued a player by the referee removing him from the game, after receiving two yellow cards for misconduct, leaving his team short a player for the remainder of the game.
Regulation Game: Game consisting of two, 45-minute periods.
Rounds: Segments that the competition stage of a tournament in divided into. In a World Cup soccer tournament, five Rounds are played.
Rugby: Predecessor to American football, but still existing as a form of the popular sport, derived from English soccer in the 1800s. Differs from soccer, but similar to American football, in that players can receive, pass, and carry the ball with their hands, and contact each other.
Save: The goalie intercepts a shot that would have otherwise entered the net and scored a goal.
Scorebox: Also called "Danger Zone", refers to the area where goals are scored.
Send Off: A player is removed from the game for earning two caution cards, or committing a serious foul during a game, leaving his team short handed.
Serious Foul Play: A player commits a serious act of misconduct and earns a "red card", removing him from the game.
Service: To pass the ball.
Set play: A game restarts with a pre-planned play.
Settle: A player is able to control the ball after receiving it.
Shadow Marking: A defender is assigned to keep a watchful eye on an attacker.
Shepherding: Also called "Jockeying", "Steering", and "Channeling"; a kind of one-on-one strategy used by the "first defender" to control the "first attacker".
Shielding: Also called "Screening"; the ball carrier protects the ball from an opponent by positioning himself between his opponent and the ball.
Shot: The ball is passed directly toward the net in an effort to score a goal.
Show: The ball carrier lets a receiver know with clear body communication that he intends to pass the ball, or a receiver communicates to the carrier that he is open to receiving the ball.
Shoulder charge: Legal shoulder tackle between a defender and the attacker to gain possession of the ball.
Shut out: The goalie prevented any shots from entering the net during a game, resulting in 0 points scored by the opposing team.
Side Tackle: One of the most effective tackles in which a defender moving in the same direction as an attacker tries to redirect the ball using the foot nearest to the attacker, or using a shoulder charge, in order to gain possession of it.
Sideline: Also called "Touchline", the line that runs the length of the field along either side.
Single Elimination: One loss eliminates a team from the tournament.
Sliding tackle: A player tries to gain possession of the ball by sliding into the ball feet first.
Six: Also called "Goal Area" or "Goal Box"; the six-yard box in front of the goal line.
Slot: Space between defenders.
Small-Sided Game: A game with fewer than 11 players per team, usually in youth leagues.
Soft Pass: A light, ground pass with a spin.
Square pass: Also called "Flat Pass"; a pass made across the field, parallel to the end line.
Starters: Players positioned on the field at the start of the game.
Steal: A defensemen seizes the ball from an opponent.
Stoppage Time: Game time added at the end to make up for stoppages.
Stopper: Players who stop attacks at the center of the field.
Strength on Ball: It is difficult to "steal" the ball from the carrier.
Stretched Defense: There is too much space between defensemen.
Striker: A strong forward positioned toward the center of the field.
Substitution: A non-player replaces a player on the field.
Sudden Death: In the case of overtime, a first strike goal ends the game, resulting in a win.
Sweeper: The defender closest to his team's goalie.
Tackling: Use of the feet or shoulder in an attempt to get the ball away from the carrier.
Tactical Foul: Also called "Professional Foul"; a deliberate foul that prevents the opponent from scoring but not being awarded a free kick, and is considered an act of misconduct.
Takeover: An advanced strategy in which a ball carrier moving in one direction "drops" or abandons the ball so a teammate behind him can carry it in another direction.
Target Player: A player targeted for a specific receiving position whose job is to follow through or create scoring opportunities.
Thigh Trap: A ball handler uses his thigh to slow or control the ball.
Three-on-one Break: Three strikers versus one defensive player.
Three-on-two Break: Three strikers versus two defensive players.
Through Ball: Also called "Through Pass"; a penetration through defenders into space between the defense and the goalie.
Throw-in: A technique for restarting the game when the ball crosses the sideline and goes out of bounds; a select player throws the ball back inbounds from overhead and from behind the sideline using both hands.
Tie game: A match is completed with the same number of goals scored.
Tie-breaker: A method of determining the winner of a "tie game" using a series of penalty kicks.
Timeout: A break in the game.
Toe Kick: Kicking the ball using the front or toe end of the foot, but should be avoided because of its difficulty to control.
Toe Poke: Poking the ball with the front foot, as opposed to the "toe kick"; the preferred method because of a player's ability to control it, and should generally be used by a player in a position to "steal" the ball, or a pass the ball into the goal.
Total Soccer: A rarely used method today, but popular with the Dutch in the 1970s, that encourages continuous movement of the ball by adding more defense to the field in order to maximize scoring opportunities.
Touchline: Also called "Sideline"; the line running the length of the field on either side.
Track: To "mark", or keep a watchful eye on an opposing player.
Trap: Controlling or slowing the ball with the feet, thighs, or chest.
Travel Soccer: Also known as "Select Soccer"; competitive youth soccer so called because it involves traveling to other cities.
Tripping: To trip an opponent, which is a foul.
Turnover: Another player gains possession of the ball.
Two-way midfielder: A strong and versatile player that direct plays in the midfield area.
Under the Ball: To keep the ball aloft using head, feet or chest.
Un-sportsmanlike Behavior: Conduct on the field that warrants a yellow or red card, as outlined in the referee's official Rulebook.
USSF: United States Soccer Federation founded in 1913 to administrate American soccer.
USYSA: United States Youth Soccer Association; self-governing youth soccer organization officially accepted by the USSF in 1974.
Vision: A player foresees possible passes in order to create scoring opportunities.
Volley: To kick the ball before it hits the ground.
Wall: Defenders form a wall between themselves and the goal to prevent a free kick from entering the goal.
Width-in-Attack: Creating space between attackers.
Width-in-Defense: Creating space between defenders.
Win the Ball: To possess of the ball.
Win-draw-loss record: A record of a team's game results.
Wings or wingers: Outside Forwards positioned near the Strikers in order to create scoring opportunities.
World Cup: The official international soccer tournament held every four years among the world's top professional teams.
Worry the Goalkeeper: To harass the goalie, a foul punishable by a yellow card warning.
Yellow card: Warning or caution card displayed by the referee for player misconduct.
Zone: Area surrounding the goal that player's are assigned to mark or defend.