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Soccer Terminology Part 3

September 29, 2011
Todd County Central High School


  • Get it out of there! - An obvious call to kick the ball out from in front of the goal.
  • Get square. - an offensive tactic of getting ten to twenty yards away from your teammate who possesses the ball at a 90 degree angle (formed between the teammate and the goal.)
  • Goal - a ball that crosses the goal line between the goalposts and below the crossbar for which a point is awarded; also, the 8-foot high, 24-foot wide structure consisting of two posts, a crossbar and a net into which all goals are scored.   A one-point score occurring when the whole of the ball passes entirely over the goal line, between the vertical goal posts, and under the horizontal crossbar. A goal is not scored if the ball was not touched by another player (of either team) after an indirect free kick, goal kick, kick off, or throw in.
  • Goal area - the rectangular area 20 yards wide by 6 yards deep in front of each goal from which all goal kicks are taken; inside this area, it is illegal for opposing players to charge a goalie not holding the ball. Area (20 x 6 yd. on a full-size field) marked within the penalty area, and directly in front of goal, from which all goal kicks originate.
  • Goal kick - a type of restart where the ball is kicked from inside the goal area away from the goal; awarded to the defending team when a ball that crossed the goal line was last touched by a player on the attacking team. Taken by any defending player to restart the game after the ball goes out of play over the goal line, having last been touched by an attacking player. It may be taken from any point within the half of the goal area nearest where the ball went out. All opposing players must stand outside the penalty area. To be in play, the ball must leave the penalty area (inbounds); otherwise the kick is retaken.
  • Goal line - the field boundary running along its width at each end; also called the end line or by-line; runs right across the front of the goal; the line which a ball must completely cross for a goal to be scored.
  • Goalie - Goalkeeper, GK, keeper - other names for Goalkeeper.
  • Goalkeeper - the player positioned directly in front of the goal who tries to prevent shots from getting into the net behind him; the only player allowed to use his hands and arms, though only within the penalty area.   Player who functions primarily in the penalty area and whose major responsibility is to prevent the opponents’ shots from entering the goal for a score. The goalkeeper is the only player allowed to touch or pick up the ball with his/her hands, and may only do so when the ball is within his/her own penalty area. The keeper is the team’s last line of defense.
  • Goalmouth - the front opening to each goal.
  • Goalposts - the two vertical beams located 24 feet apart which extend 8 feet high to form the sides of a goal and support the crossbar.  See also far post and near post.
  • Goalside - Keep opponent with or without the ball towards the outside touchline


  • Hacking - kicking an opponent's legs.
  • Half and Half - This is what I yell to my goalkeeper.  It means that, if the attacker had a clear view of my goalkeeper and the goal, then half of that view of the goal should be on one side of the keeper and the other half on the other side of the keeper. I don't mean that half of the goal should be on one side of the keeper and the other half on the other side of the keeper - rather "HALF OF THE VIEW".  Its a spatial/angle concept putting the goalkeeper in center of the attacker's shooting angle allowing the goalkeeper the best defensive position in most circumstances.
  • Halfback - Midfielder.
  • Halftime - the intermission between the 2 periods or halves of a game.
  • Halves - see Periods.
  • Handle - What the goalkeeper can do inside of the 18 Yard Box - use his hands to pick up the ball.
  • Hand-to-Ball - This term means deliberate handling of a ball by a player other than the goal-keeper in the Penalty Area.  This is considered as a deliberate action by the player and is penalized.  In other words movement of the hand towards the ball.  This is the opposite of Ball-to-Hand which means a movement of the ball into the players hand which is not deliberate.  That action requires no penalty.
  • Hat trick - 3 or more goals scored in a game by a single player.
  • Header - the striking of a ball in the air by a player's head.
  • "Heels on the Line" - Coaches often yell "Heels on the Line" to their midfielders to remind them to remain wide.
  • Help - Support teammate in trouble
  • Hips open - this is the way a player should receive the pass from a teammate.  By having you hips open to the field in the direction that you are attacking you can receive the ball on your back foot without stopping or trapping it and thus can play it forward immediately.  Also the "hips open" position allows the player to see the whole field so he can remain aware of open teammates or defenders. 
  • Hook - the curved trajectory of a ball due to spin imparted on it by a kicker, such as in a banana kick.
  • Hospital Pass - a pass from one teammate to another that should be crisp but instead is too soft.  This results in a pass that becomes a 50/50 ball instead of one that is easily received without being contested by the opposition.  A hospital pass is just what it says it is - a pass that could result in an injury that puts the receiver in the hospital.


  • IFAB - International Football Association Board — the organization consisting of 4 British soccer organizations and FIFA that approves all changes in the official international rules of soccer called the 17 Laws.
  • Illegal Throw-in - violation of legal throw-in requirements.
  • In bounds - when a ball is within the boundaries of the field, having not completely crossed a sideline or goal line.
  • Indirect Free Kick - a free kick that is awarded for other fouls that are  judged to be not serious - such as obstruction, dangerous play or charging.  Indirect kicks must touch another player (either team) before the ball goes into the net in order to score.  The player kicks a stationary ball without any opposing players within 10 feet of him; a goal can only be scored on this kick after the ball has touched another player.   A free kick from which a goal cannot be scored until the ball is touched by another player. It is awarded for technical and minor infractions of the rules (see Summary of the FIFA Laws of the Game, Law XII, this section). Opponents must be at least 10 yards away from the ball (opposing players may stand on their own goal line between the goal posts), but the player taking the kick may do so without waiting if he/she wishes. The ball is not in play until it has traveled its own circumference. The ball must be stationary when kicked and the kicker may not touch the ball a second time until it has been played by another player (of either team).
  • Injury time - time added to the end of any period according to the referee's judgment of time lost due to player injuries or intentional stalling by a team.
  • In play - when a ball is within the boundaries of the field and play has not been stopped by the referee.
  • Instep drive - a straight shot taken with the instep of a player's foot; usually the most powerful and accurate of shots.
  • Inswinging - A kick that curves in towards the goal mouth.
  • International - An "international" is a match between two national teams.  It does not include a game between just any two teams that come from different countries.
    A "full" international is a match where both teams are "The" national team (sometimes called the senior national team) from their country.  It does not cover, say, U-23 teams playing, which are referred to as "B Internationals."
    Both teams have to be the national team from their country.
  • Intermission - the 5-minute rest period between periods of a game.
  • In Touch - A ball that is out of play is called "in touch" - A ball that crosses the plane of the touch line or goal line is in or out of play.  It does not have to make contact with the ground or an object.  This means it can be blown in or out of bounds without ever actually touching a player or ground.
  • ITOOTR - Abbreviation meaning In the Opinion of the Referee which is what matters in any ruling.


  • Juggling - keeping a ball in the air with any part of the body besides the hands or arms; used for practice and developing coordination.
  • Jules Rimet Trophy - the trophy given to the World Cup winner between 1930 and 1970, after which it was permanently retired and replaced by the World Cup.


  • Keeper! - goal keeper command for the ball - Also used is the one syllable "Keep".
  • Keeper's in charge - Yelled to the keeper to remind him to communicate to all defenders on corner kicks and throw-ins deep in your own territory as to who is to mark which opponent.  This is especially important when opponents overload the far post on corner kicks.
  • Kickoff - the method of starting a game or restarting it after each goal; a player passes the ball forward to a teammate from the center spot.   Officially begins the game at each half and restarts play after a goal is scored. The ball must go forward (into the opponent’s half of the field) and is in play after rolling its own circumference (about 27 inches). This was changed in the July 1997 FIFA rules to "the ball must move."  The player kicking off must not play the ball again until it has been played by another player (of either team). Opponents must be at least 10 yards away from the ball in their own half of the field when the kick off is taken.


  • Laws of the Game - the 17 main rules for soccer established by FIFA.
  • Law XVIII - Law 18 is the unwritten law that requires referees to apply common sense to officiating a game.   In other words a referee should apply the 17 Laws of the Game so that they do not interfere with the fairness of the game at hand.  
  • Lead pass - a pass sent ahead of a moving teammate to arrive at a location at the same time he does.
  • Legal slide tackle - most tackles where the defender gets all or most of the ball are considered legal.   However, tackles from the front "cleats up" and almost any tackle from the rear are considered illegal by most referees.
  • Legal Throw-in - A throw-in made with both hands.   Hands must begin behind the head. The ball can not spin when thrown - must be thrown with equal force by both hands.   Both feet must remain on the ground.   Part of each foot must be on the touch line or behind it. 
  • Let the ball do the work. - Self explanatory - Pass when you can, dribble when you must.
  • Line - deliver the ball to or down the touchline
  • Linesman - Now known as Assistant Referees.  If they are certified assistant referees may help the referee call fouls, offside and out-of-bounds calls.  If they are not certified they are known as "Club Linesmen" and are restricted to helping make out-of-bound calls.  They carry a flag to signal their observations.  Also Linesperson - Person (often a parent volunteer) who assists the referee; one linesperson is assigned to each touchline. Their primary responsibility is to indicate when the ball is out of play (i.e. when the whole of the ball crosses the whole of the touchline or endline). The linesperson also signals which team has the right to put the ball in play again by using their flag to show the direction of play for the restart.
  • Lock in - double team opportunity, normally along the touchline
  • Lock on - pick up and stay with an opponent, tightly
  • Long Corner - A corner kick where the attacking team attempts to kick the ball all the way into the goal box.
  • L.O.T.G. - abbreviation for The Laws of the Game - FIFA's rules.

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