Kids and TeensSports


Thank you for visiting the Soccer-For-Kids dictionary of soccer words, phrases, and definitions. The terminology of soccer can be confusing, but this glossary of terms will help you understand and enjoy the game more.

We have compiled a list of soccer words and phrases, accompanied by their meanings. If any soccer terms still need to be added, please let me know:  Bruce soccer-for-kids.


A referee may not call a foul in certain situations. This decision is not made because the opposite team had an advantage by allowing play to continue unabated.   If the stoppage of space would benefit the team that committed the foul, the referee must allow play to continue without stopping it.


Assists occur when a teammate passes or heads the soccer ball to a teammate who scores a goal.


Assailants are usually offensive players trying to score, but anyone with a soccer ball can be an attacker.


In soccer, a brace is when a player scores two goals in a single game. What is the origin of the term brace? In Old English, the term refers to a hunter who kills two animals of the same species at once.


The goalkeeper and defensive players have achieved a clean sheet if they have allowed no goals. Clean sheets can serve as a benchmark for coaches to rank and track players.


Soccer footwear with rubber or plastic protrusions provides traction as kids run around and change directions. Although soccer cleats are not required, almost all players wear them. This is because injuries are more likely to occur when playing without cleats.


The offensive team receives a corner kick when the ball crosses the end line and is last touched by the defending team. With or without another player making contact with the ball before it enters the goal, corner kicks count as a score. The ball must be placed within a slight arc in the corner of the field where the ball went out of bounds.


Rather than kicking the ball down the field or backward toward one’s goal, a pass is called a cross when it is kicked in from the sides. A cross is an effective way to get the ball into the penalty areas when a player with the soccer ball is out wide near the sideline.


Soccer goals are connected by a horizontal bar.


In a team formation, the player whose primary duty is to keep relatively close to her goal to prevent the other team from scoring. However, to support the offensive efforts of her teammates, some defenders will push forward on the field.


A direct kick is when the ball is kicked directly into the goal without touching another player first.


A goalie may use a drop kick rather than a punt to clear the ball away from the penalty area. The soccer ball is dropped from the goalie’s hands and kicked immediately after hitting the ground. A half-volley is another term for this type of kick.


Forwards push forward toward their opponent’s goal. The primary task of forwards (including strikers) is to put pressure on the opposing defense and score goals.


The positioning of players on the field is an integral part of winning soccer. You can learn more about positions and formations in this post. Below is an example of a small-sided (youth) soccer formation.

In all soccer formations, the goalie is not mentioned as part of the formation except in the youngest toddler and preschool matches where there is no goalie.


Free kicks must be taken from a distance of 10 yards. A free kick can be awarded for a variety of reasons. As well as starting a half, corner kicks, goal kicks, and penalty kicks, free kicks are also awarded for fouls outside the penalty area.


In a formation, the fullback is generally positioned behind the midfielders. However, fullbacks can contribute to the offense when the ball is deep inside the opponent’s territory.


When the entire soccer ball crosses the goal line entirely, below the crossbar, between the two side posts, as long as no fouls were committed, scoring a goal earns you one point.


Goal areas are also called six-yard boxes, and their sole purpose is to limit where the soccer ball can be placed to make a goal kick.


It is also called a “6 kick” because the ball must be placed inside or on the edge of the 6-yard box. Goal kicks are free kicks awarded to the defending team when the offensive team is the last to touch them before they cross the goal line.


A goalie is a shortened version of the goalkeeper and is also known as a keeper. After a save or taking the six-yard (goal) kick, the goalie’s primary duties are keeping the ball out of the net and distributing the ball effectively.

Only the goalie can touch the ball with his hands if the ball is within the penalty area.


Two vertical poles support and attach the soccer net’s crossbar section to the goal posts.


A handball is an illegal touch of the ball by a player’s hand or arm. A referee must decide whether a handball was accidental or intended and whether it affected the game.


The phrase hat trick means a player has scored three goals in a single match. The term came originally from the game of cricket in 1858 when a player successfully took three wickets with three consecutive deliveries.


A part of the head is used to strike the ball. In addition to passing the ball to a teammate in the air, headers are an essential technique for scoring.


Indirect kicks require a second player to touch the ball after the initial kicker before the ball can enter the goal and be considered a legal goal.


Kickoffs in soccer matches are started directly in the middle of the field when the first or second half begins. Until another player from either team touches the ball a second time, the player who kicks can’t handle the ball again.


A linesman, also known as an assistant referee, is an official who positions himself directly on a sideline (touchline). Linesmen call throw-ins and offsides as well as the direction of throw-ins.


The game consists of two halves of competitive soccer. We commonly refer to competitive matches as soccer games in the USA, even though a game can include both competitive and non-competitive activities.


Another soccer word that describes its meaning. A midfielder can play offensively or defensively. During a match, midfielders have specific offensive and defensive duties determined by the coach’s formation.


Playing the soccer ball through an opponent’s legs and retaining possession on the other side of the field. Defending against nutmegs can be embarrassing for the defender.

A lot of nutmegs on an opponent can build anger since defenders dislike being nutmegged. The entire soccer nutmeg post can be found here.


Offsides in soccer can be challenging to understand because several factors play into whether a violation occurred.

Offsides occur when a player is closer to her opponent’s goal line than the soccer ball and the second-to-last opponent.

In addition, you cannot be offsides when receiving a throw-in or on your defensive half.


In a full-sided soccer field, the penalty areas are 44 yards wide and 18 yards deep and are located in front of the goals. Therefore, the penalty area is also known as the 18-yard box.

A penalty kick is awarded to the offensive team when the defense violates specific rules in the penalty area.


Penalty kicks are often abbreviated as PKs. A penalty kick is a free kick taken from 12 yards in front of the goal.


When regulation time and overtime periods have resulted in a tie, a penalty kick shootout is used to determine the winner. Deciding on a match this way is a good idea. Each team is initially permitted five penalty kick attempts to determine the winner.                  


The goalie can throw or punt the ball within the penalty area when he gains possession of it. For example, a kicker drops the ball from her hands and kicks it before it reaches the ground, similar to a punt in American football.


Infractions of the rules can result in a red card. Several types of misconduct include dangerous plays, intentional handballs, and abusive behavior toward referees.


A goalie prevents the ball from entering the goal when an attempt to score is made. Goalies can stop the soccer ball with their heads, body, hands, arms, legs, and feet. However, it is sometimes possible for a non-goalie defender to perform an emergency “save” by blocking without using their hands.


A set piece in soccer refers to a specific, designed play that the team about to take a free kick has already planned out (and probably practiced). Set pieces are frequently used on corner and direct kicks on the offensive side of the field near the opponent’s goal.


A forward is also called a forward. In soccer, a striker is a player who has developed the ability to strike the ball accurately and powerfully. Strikers generally position themselves as far ahead as possible without being offside. 


Added time can also be referred to as stoppage time. This is because the injury does not usually stop the play clock in soccer.


Before the goalie, the sweeper is the last line of defense. In front of the goalie, the sweeper is positioned behind the defending fullbacks. He prevents goals from being scored by sweeping the ball out of potential scoring areas.

In modern higher-level stadiums, the sweeper position is now more popular than it once was in youth soccer.


During a throw-in, the soccer ball is returned to the playing field after it has gone out of play over one of the sidelines (touchlines). The team that didn’t touch the ball last before it went out throws it.

It is common for the youngest soccer players to struggle with the throw-in technique. As a result, the other team receives the throw-in. You can read my post on youth soccer rules to learn more about the rules parents often misunderstand.


In football, a tackle is a defensive stop of the opponent’s progress with the ball. An American football tackle is when a player’s body is grabbed, held, or hit to bring them to the ground. It does not exist in soccer.


A soccer field has two touchlines, and stripes along its longer sides. For the soccer ball to be considered out of play, it must cross the line completely.


In soccer, a volley involves kicking the ball in the air before it hits the ground. It takes excellent foot-eye coordination, precise timing, and judgment to execute a good volley successfully.


Incredibly close to a goal, the defending team can arrange several players in a line to act as a wall to prevent a score. On a free kick by the opposition, the wall must be at least 10 yards from the ball’s kicking spot. If the lift is closer than 10 yards to the goal line, the rule does not apply. 


“Hitting the woodwork” refers to the ball hitting the crossbar or one of the goalposts. The first soccer goals were made of wood.


The World Cup is the world’s biggest and most prestigious soccer tournament. However, only 32 nations qualify for the World Cup through qualifying matches.


Referees issue yellow cards for certain types of fouls. When an athlete engages in a dangerous play, behaves unsportsmanlike, or breaks a rule, it’s considered a warning. The opposition is awarded a free kick on the spot where the foul occurred.

Yellow cards issued to the same player within a match automatically become red cards and the player is removed from the game.

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