Soccer Action Terms

I have divided soccer action terms into two main categories, Basic Soccer Actions and Advanced Soccer Actions.

Beginning soccer parents should know the basics.

I have thrown the advanced soccer terms in just for fun and to further your knowledge if you have the desire.

Already an expert? Test your knowledge with the exclusive
Soccer Action Crossword created exclusively by Soccer-for-Parents!

Don’t forget to check out my soccer book and soccer video recommendations! Any of the recommended books or videos will give you a wealth of information beyond what you can learn online.

Basic Soccer Action Terms

Center – a pass from either side of the field towards the middle of the field. It is used primarily to get the ball closer to the front of the goal. The words “center” and “cross” are used interchangeably.

Charging – a method of running at and unbalancing the player who has possession, or is attempting to gain possession of the ball; the act of using a "shoulder" against an opponent’s shoulder to gain an advantage, allowed only when the ball is playable (i.e. within 3 feet).

Clearing – the act of moving the ball out of the area of one’s own goal by throwing (goalkeeper only) or kicking it.

Cross – another word for center.

Fake – a move by a player meant to deceive an opposing player. Used to gain an advantage, it is frequently used when dribbling to get past an opponent.

Feint – another word for a fake.

Foot Trap – the use of the foot, usually the bottom, to control a rolling or low bouncing ball.

Header – When a player passes or shoots the ball with his head.

Save – the act of a goalkeeper in stopping a shot that would have otherwise gone into the goal.

Screening – another word for shielding.

Shielding –used by the person with the ball to protect the ball from a defender; the ball carrier keeps their body between the ball and the defender.

Slide Tackle – a move where a player attempts to win the ball by sliding towards the ball. If the tackling player touches the ball first, he is allowed to make contact with the player controlling the ball. If the tackling player strikes the player before the ball, a foul is assessed. A tackle from behind is always a foul regardless of whether the tackler managed to get to the ball first.

Tackle – the act of taking the ball away from a player by kicking or stopping it with one's feet.

Trap – the use of one’s body to slow down and control a moving ball, most often using the chest, thighs or feet.

Advanced Soccer Action Terms

Banana Kick – a kick that curves such that it take the shape of a banana. This is usually attempted on a corner kick to curve the ball from the corner directly into the goal.

Bicycle Kick – when a player kicks the ball in mid-air backwards and over their own head, usually making contact above waist level. Not too frequent at the youth level!

Cut Back – dribbling the ball backwards in the reverse way of the goal in an attempt to keep possession of the ball.

Cut Down the Angle – when the goalie comes out of the goal several feet to make themselves closer and larger to an attacker. The effect is to leave the attacker less open net to shoot at.

First Time Ball – when the ball is received and propelled in a single movement. Also called one touch pass and first touch.

First Touch – another word for first time ball.

Flick – a quick header.

Hospital Ball – a dangerous pass from one teammate to another. Instead of being crisp the pass is too soft, resulting in a pass that becomes a 50/50 ball (up for grabs) instead of one that is easily received.

Instep Drive – a shot taken with the instep of a player's foot; usually the most powerful and accurate of shots.

Instep Pass – a pass made by striking the ball with – yes, you guessed it, the instep.

In Swinger – a ball that is curving in toward the goal, usually made from a corner kick. Same thing as a banana kick.

"Man On" – the call a player makes to a teammate who is closely marked by an opposing player but may not be aware of it.

Mark – to cover an opponent with or without the ball to keep them from passing, receiving or shooting the ball.

Narrowing the Angle – same as cut down the angle.

Offside Trap – a play by the defense to catch the attacking team offside. The rear defenders will quickly pull up past the attackers to put the attackers in an offside position. See the Soccer Rules Page for more information on the offside rule.

One Touch Pass – another term for a first time ball.

"Pull Up" – can also be “push up”, a phrase used to tell the defense to move up the field in a more attacking position. Sometimes used as the command for an offside trap.

Scissors Kick – another word for bicycle kick.

Shoulder Tackle – a tackle used to get the ball away from an opponent by making shoulder-to-shoulder contact.

Two Touch Pass – a pass in which the ball is received by a player with one touch and then played to a teammate with the next touch.

Also, is serving up their most popular “soccer parent guide” books for parents just below. Click on a book to check it out!

› Soccer Action Terms

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