Soccer Terminology: A-G

Soccer 101 | A-B | C | D | E-G | H | I-K | L-O | P-R | S | T | U-W | X-Z


  • Assist: A player is credited with an assist when they play a direct part in a goal scored by a teammate. There can be zero to two assists on a goal. Assists are usually the result of passes, crosses, or rebounded shots.
  • Assistant Referee: Assistant referees are officials of the game who patrol the sidelines and aid the center referee in making calls. They act as an extra set of eyes and will inform the referee of which side deserves a throw-in, goal kick, corner kick, or penalty kick.
  • Boot: The footwear that soccer players wear. Also known as soccer cleats, they are usually made of leather or synthetic materials, and have studs(cleats) on the soles that allow for better traction.'
  • Breakaway: A breakaway occurs when an offensive player is able to “breakaway” from all the defensive players and is therefore one-on-one with the opposing goalkeeper.


  • Center spot: The center spot is marked in the very middle of the field and is used to indicate where kickoffs take place at the beginning of the match and after every goal.
  • Clean sheet: A goalie is said to have “kept a clean sheet” when they are able to block all attempts on goal, thus preventing any goals from being scored. Also referred to as a shutout.
  • Clear: A defender clears the ball when they have possession of the ball in their goal area and kick or pass it away from their goal, eliminating the immediate threat of an offensive attack.
  • Cleats: See Boot.
  • Corner Kick: A corner kick is given to the attacking team when the ball crosses the goal line, having been last touched by a player on the defending team. A player places the ball within the quarter circle painted at the corner of the field and kicks the ball towards his teammates in front of the goal.
  • Cross bar: The cross bar is the top beam that sits atop the two side posts of a goal.
  • Cross: A cross is an offensive pass between two attacking players, usually on opposite sides of the field, in which the ball crosses in front of the goal.


  • Dangerous Play: A dangerous play is one in which a player puts themselves or others at the risk of getting injured. Examples of dangerous plays are high kicks in the vicinity of other players or kicking the ball when it is in the keeper’s hands.
  • Direct kick: A type of free kick. Direct free kicks are given for serious fouls and are allowed to enter the goal without being touched by any other player.
  • Draw: A game ends in a draw when the end result is even (0-0, 1-1, 2-2, etc.). Also referred to as a tie.
  • Drop ball: Referees call for a drop ball when they want to restart a game that has been stopped because of an injury, or some other non-foul related issue. The referee will drop the ball in between one player from each team, allowing them equal opportunity to regain possession. The players are only allowed to touch the ball once it has hit the ground.


  • Fifty-Fifty ball: A ball is called 50-50 if a player from each team has an equal chance of gaining possession.
  • Free Kick: Free kicks are given to a team when their opponents have committed a foul.  The ball is placed on the ground and kicked from a complete stop by a player on the team awarded the kick. There are direct and indirect free kicks given at the discretion of the referee.
  • Goal kick: A goal kick is given to a team when the opposing team does not score, but causes the ball to cross the defending team's goal line on either side of the net. Goal kicks can be taken by any player on the defending from anywhere in the six-yard box.
  • Goal line: The short end of the bounding box of the field. Although the term usually refers to the portion of the line between the two goal posts, the entire end from corner flag to corner flag constitutes the goal line.
  • Goal: A goal is scored only when the entire ball crosses the goal line, within the confines of the posts.
  • Golazo: Spanish slang used to describe an amazing goal.

Back to top