Football jargon

Our football jargon

Wandering how goalkeepers never manage to palm the ball away when up against a goal poacher? Welcome to our football jargon.


Added time

Added time is a synonym for stoppage-time.These final minutes can sometimes be crucial to turning a match around and scraping through with a victory, so use them well!


In football, the team captain wears an armband around their bicep. According to the rules, wearing the captain's armband gives you the authority to speak to referees. But in reality, everyone talks on the football field.


Goals aren't the only thing that wins matches! An assist is when you pass the ball to a player that then scores a goal.


Back heel

A back heel is when you shoot or pass the ball with your heel. It is very effective for surprising the defence and speeding up play without taking time to turn around. However, if you're near your own penalty area, think twice.

Backwards cross

This low cross is a particularly effective pass so take advantage of it.The goal is to pass the ball to a teammate that is further back down the middle. This way, you take the defence behind you.

Bending a shot

If you want to try something other than hard shots to avoid walls and opponents, try to bend it! With the inside or outside of your foot, "brush" the ball while kicking to make it bend.

Bicycle kick

Also called the overhead kick, the bicycle kick is undoubtedly the most spectacular football move. With your back to the goal, you perform a volley by jumping, sending your legs up in the air and your head downwards. If you score this way, you can celebrate your goal however you like.


This is the foundation of the goalkeeper's position.You block your opponent's shots to prevent them from scoring. You can catch the ball with two hands, punch it to deviate its path or palm the ball to deflect it over the goal.

Box-to-box midfielder

In addition to recovering the ball, this player brings the ball up and takes advantage of their rear spot on the pitch to organize the game.


Do you enjoy sprinting down the wing with the ball to outrun your opponents? Well good news, that's what wing-backs do. A break is when you speed down the wings into your opponent's half of the pitch.



If you commit a serious foul, the referee may warn you with a yellow card. At the second warning, you receive a red card and leave your teammates to finish the match with one less player. If you commit a very severe foul, you can even be penalized with a straight red without first being warned.

Centre forward

You lead the attack and wear the prestigious number 10 shirt.This legendary position combines strategical thinking and a talent for reading the game with creativity, playing technique and skill when attacking.

Centre forward

You are the lead attacker in the centre of the field. As a goal poacher that sprints down the field or a pivot that heads the ball, your job is to score goals. With the number 9 on your shirt, you focus on technique, fast reaction times and your intuition to score.


Centre-backs defend in the centre of the pitch, which is why they are also called central defenders. The 2 centre-backs form the central line of defence.They are able to defend during one-on-one confrontations and when the ball is airborne.


Like in all ball sports, it's customary to chip over the goalkeeper from time to time. For this, you pass the ball over your opponent's head. If you use this move to dribble past an opponent on the pitch, it's called a lob pass.


Like in all ball sports, it's customary to chip over the goalkeeper from time to time. For this, you pass the ball over your opponent's head. If you use this move to dribble past an opponent on the pitch, it's called a lob pass.


We'll talk more about the sweeper's role in restarting play later on. But sometimes, when under pressure, it's better to make life a little easier.Send the ball high and far for a successful clearance.This gives you time to organize a defence.

Corner kick

The corner kick occurs after the opposing team hits the ball out of play behind their own goal. So go to the corner of the field and pass the ball to your teammates, who will try to get positioned in the penalty area for a good header.

Cross the ball into the box

You cross the ball when you pass from the edge of the field into the penalty box. You can deliver a cross in the air or on the ground. Along with breaks, this is your job as an attacker if you play on the wings.

Crossfield pass / crossbar

There are two football terms that start with "cross". If you kick a high pass across the width of the pitch to reverse the game into the opposite wing, then it's a crossfield pass. If your shot hits against the horizontal bar of the goal, just missing the net by a few centimetres,then it has unfortunately hit the crossbar.


Defensive midfielder

You stand guard in front of the defence and, as a general rule, like to tackle.


In both cleats and trainers, there's nothing worse than being dragged through the mud.You do this move by bringing the ball towards you with your sole just as your opponent comes in your direction.


This is referring to the final score and not the quality of the match,even if games with a final score of 0-0 and 5-5 just aren't the same. In fact, you can finish a match with a tied score in football! It's called a tie or a draw.


Dribbling refers to moving the ball with your feet. The dribble designates your handling of the ball. By extension, it is also the range of movements and ball touches that you use to shake your opponent.


Extra time

In certain competitions, you cannot end a match with a draw. In the event of a tie at the end of regulation time, you play two additional periods to decide the winner.


Five-a-side football

This newest variation of football is played indoors on artificial turf. The pitch is smaller than a futsal pitch, but you can use the edges of the field to bounce the ball.


A flick-on, or a one touch pass, is when you receive the ball and pass it on to a teammate instead of controlling it. If you like to run the defence, a bit of selflessness can really speed the game up.


In football, the formation corresponds to how the team is positioned on the pitch. It designates the number of players per line: defensive, midfield and attacking. However you can only have one goalkeeper in the goal.

Free kick

Following a foul outside the penalty area, the defending team concedes a free kick.You take a free kick from where the foul occurred. It is direct if you can shoot directly towards the goal or, more rarely, indirect if you have to pass first. Transforming your free kicks into scoring opportunities is an art in football.


As a left- or right-full back, you are stationed on either side of the defence. In addition to defending your wing and covering your midfielders, you also like to run. In fact, your team is counting on your breaks and attacking crosses.


You can play this football variation indoors on a hard surface. Matches are played 5-on-5 on a pitch similar to that used for handball. If you prefer technique over physical endurance, you're sure to love Futsal.



This term designates both the net and its frame as well as the action of scoring. To score a goal, you have to send the ball into the goal, behind the lineIf you score in your goal, it's called an "own goal".If you score a comical goal, it's called a "gifted goal".

Goal poacher

If you belong to this rare category of striker, you prefer more skilful goals to kicks from 20 meters out. Always in the right place at the right time, your sense for the goal and your opportunism makes the penalty box your playground.


As the team's last line of defence, it's your job to protect the goal by using every part of your body. You are also sometimes called a goalie.To do your job well, you are allowed to handle the ball with your hands within the penalty box.

Grand pont

Unlike the nutmeg which can be done in a pinch, the grand pont requires a bit more space and speed. With a grand pont, you get around your opponent by kicking the ball to one side and passing them on the other.



You have a higher chance of achieving this feat if you are a forward rather than a goalkeeper. Doing a hat-trick means that you score three goals in the same match.


Football is played with your head! Yes, you need to use more than just your feet. Whether to score, pass or control the ball, you can "make a header”.



As opposed to the outside of the foot, the inside is the hollow of your foot. It's the side most commonly used in football to control the ball and kick. Don't forget: inside kicks are more reliable!



If you are closer to your opponent's goal than the second-last defender when a teammate makes a forward pass to you, you are offside. Got it? And yes, you lose the ball.

Outfield player

If you prefer shooting a volley to palming the ball, then you're an outfield player. This term is used to refer to all team members except the goalkeeper.


This term designates the outside surface of the foot. You can hit the ball with the outside of your foot to bend it.



This is a defender's worst nightmare! After a foul in the penalty box, the referee will call for a penalty kick. If you are taking the kick, place your ball 11 meters from the goal and face the opposing goalkeeper head on. This is one of the best opportunities to score… as long as you have nerves of steel.

Penalty area

This is the area around each goal. In this perilous spot on the pitch, you can draw a penalty kick if your opponent fouls and the goalkeeper can grab the ball with their hands.

Penalty shoot-out

This is the most cruel part of any football game! In the event of a tie at the end of extra time, you alternate 5 penalty shots with the opposing team. If there's still a tie after the 5 shots, it's sudden death: the first team to miss after the other team scores loses. We told you, it's just cruel...


Regulation time

This term designates the length of a match as defined by the rules: two 45 minute halves with 11 players and two 25 minute halves if you're playing five-a-side


If you master this dribble, you are a football artist. A roulette is done by pivoting around your opponent with the ball.


Set piece

This refers to how a ball is brought back into play after it has gone out: free kicks, corner kicks and penalties. You can make set pieces a speciality for your game. Even if you're the goalkeeper!


You have to shoot at the goal to score. Therefore, a shot designates your kicks, either successful or not, in the direction of your opponent's goal. In most cases, you can shoot with your feet or head. If you score with your back or knee, it can get a little difficult to call that a shot...


For this skill move, players will move their foot around the ball without touching it. While this may seem unnecessary at first, when running at full speed, stepovers can give many a sweeper a cold sweat.

Stoppage time

At the end of each half, the referee decides how many minutes to add on to make up for game stoppages due to replacements, fouls and your spectacular celebration of a hat-trick.

Successful interception

When attempting to steal the ball, you are more likely to send it in any direction other than one that is favourable for you. But if you have a bit of luck and manage to take control of the ball, it's called a successful interception.


In the past, the sweeper was the last barrier between the defence and the goalkeeper. Today, this position designates one of the players that defends down the middle. If you believe in placement and anticipation while defending and you have the right technique to restart the match, you're one of the last true sweepers.



This is a main defensive skill. You tackle by diving to the ground to recover a ball with your foot. Defensive midfielders can tackle all game long, but always from the front, with one foot off the ground and playing the ball.

Take a touch

Even if it might sound fun, you can't spend the whole match volleying the ball. You have to control the ball when receiving a pass. When taking a touch, you anticipate your next move to cushion the ball in the desired direction.


If the ball goes beyond the touchline, the team that did not kick the ball out gets to restart the game.You just throw the ball with 2 hands high above your head at the spot where the ball went out.


You trap a ball by stopping it with your body, which makes it easier to control. For example, you can opt for the classic chest trap.



A volley is the term for hitting an airborne ball without controlling it. If the ball has already bounced, it's called a half-volley. This gives you a very fast, powerful shot. Scoring a goal with a volley is a whole other matter...



Did you concede a free kick? It happens to the best of us. The most important thing to remember is to have a solid wall. Arm in arm with your teammates, you stand in front of the free kick spot to block your goal.


If you feel comfortable doing stepovers and always emphasize technique, you are the type of player to weave. This expression refers to an abundance of feints and technical moves, sometimes to the detriment of the team.

Wide midfielder

You both attack and defend in the wings of the pitch. Working with the defenders and wingers, you spread out the game, break down the wing and pass crosses.


The wings designate the right and left sides of the field, along the sidelines.If you're playing as a defender or a wide midfielder, this is the stretch of pitch you will run back and forth on.


When playing with multiple forwards, you have to spread out across the field. As a winger, you occupy the sides of the pitch, either to provide crosses or pick up the ball in the middle and shoot.


The woodwork designates the posts and crossbar that make up the goal. So you frame your shot when it goes into the woodwork instead of going into the stands.




More football tips



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Created in 2000, the Danone Nations Cup (DNC) is regarded as the biggest international U-12s football tournament in the world, bringing together more young players than any other competition.