Understanding the Beautiful Game for Dummies: A Soccer Glossary

Understanding the Beautiful Game for Dummies: A Soccer Glossary The World Cup has arrived.

While referees brush up on their knowledge of obscenities, here’s a crash course in general soccer terms, or football jargon, for those unfamiliar with the world’s most popular game.

Back: a defender

Banana kick: a type of kick that has curved trajectory to get around the defense or goalkeeper. Think Bend It Like Beckham.

Card: There are two types of cards — yellow and red. A player will get a yellow card as a warning for unsportsmanlike behavior. If a player receives two yellow cards in the same game, they get a red card, and are ejected from play for that game and usually receive some sort of suspension.

Chip pass/shot: Pass or shot used to get the ball over the defender or goalkeeper. You know, the Phil Mickelson flop shot, but with a soccer ball.

Direct kick: A kick awarded to a player who has been on the receiving end of a serious foul, like pushing or tripping. The opposition must stay 10 feet from the player awarded the direct kick, and a goal can be scored directly off the kick, without another player having to touch the ball.

Drop kick: When the goalie has the ball, drops it down then kicks it. Not to be confused with a martial arts move. That type of drop kick may result in a "direct kick."

Football or footy: Easy one. That’s soccer, or at least it is to the rest of the world.

Indirect kick: Opposite of a direct kick. A goal cannot be scored directly off an indirect kick, which are awarded for less serious fouls. The most common offense is offsides.

Injury time: Since there’s running time in soccer, there’s injury time added to the end of each half to make up for any time that may have been lost due to an injury stoppage. The amount of time is at the discretion of the referee.

Juggling: This is done as practice and is done by keeping the ball in the air with one’s body, without any use of the hands. Juggling while juggling would be extremely difficult.

Match: What soccer players call a game.

Penalty kick: A kick taken from the penalty spot (12 yards in front of the goal) against the goalie by a player who has been the victim of the most serious of fouls within the opposition’s penalty area.

Pitch: Soccer fans commonly refer to the field as the "pitch."

Round: Like many other sports, this is a stage of a tournament. The World Cup has five rounds.

Screening/shielding: This is an offensive tactic in which a ball handler uses his body to stay between the ball and his defender.

Tackling: The act of taking away the ball from the opponent by kicking it or stopping it with one’s foot. It’s a far cry from tackling in American football.

Trap: This is when a player uses his body to slow down a moving ball to gain possession for his team.

So there it is. Hopefully, this beginner’s glossary helps enrich your World Cup experience.

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