Soccer Terminology: P-Z

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


  • Pitch: Soccer field.
  • Red Card: If a player continues to play with excessive aggression after receiving a yellow card or commits a particularly dangerous play, the referee will give the player a red card, which ejects them from the game and disqualifies them from competing in their next game. Their team will be forced to play the rest of the game without their ejected player and is not allowed to bring on a substitute.
  • Referee: The referee is responsible for officiating the game and being a mediator between the two teams. There is one center referee that runs up and down the field with the players and is in charge of making all official calls. There are also two assistant referees, also referred to as linesmen, in charge of aiding the center ref from the sidelines.


  • Set play: Set plays are planned strategic moves for when the play is reset (kick offs, free kicks, corner kicks, etc.).
  • Shielding: A player shields the ball when they keep themselves between an opponent and the ball.
  • Shinguards: Protective casing with straps that are made of plastic or similar materials and are supposed to cover the player’s shins in order to protect players. During games shinguards must be covered by the player’s socks.
  • Shutout: A shutout occurs when a team is able to block all attempts on goal, thus preventing any goals from being scored. Also referred to as a clean-sheet.
  • Side: Team.
  • Slot: A slot is a shot in which the player passes the ball into the goal with the side of their cleat as opposed to striking it. This is used when accuracy is required more than power.
  • Starter: A player that is on the starting line-up.
  • Stoppage time: Near the end of each half the referee will roughly calculate how much time lapsed during the game for fouls, injuries, goal kicks and other stoppage and add that time on after the clock has reached 45 minutes. It is unusual for stoppage time to be anymore than five minutes, but the referee has final say. Also referred to as injury time.
  • Strike: A strike is a powerful shot in which a player hits the ball with the shoelace portion of the cleat.


  • Through pass: When a player passes the ball behind the line of defense, allowing their teammate to run past the defense towards the goal.
  • Throw-in: When a team causes the ball to go out of play on the sidelines, their opponents are awarded a throw-in. This means that one player will throw the ball in towards one of his or her own teammates, resuming the game.
  • Trap: A method of slowing down and controlling the ball once received.


  • Volley: When a player kicks the ball while it is in mid-air.
  • Wall: When a direct or indirect kick has been awarded to a team, the opposing team will form a wall of players between the ball and the goal. The wall must be at least 10 yards away from where the ball sits on the field before the kick. The goalkeeper will direct players so that they block a large portion of the goal with their bodies, therefore giving the goalkeeper less to protect.


  • Yellow Card: When a referee feels that a player has committed a dangerous or unfair foul they will give that player an official warning, also known as a caution. The referee signals that a caution is given by holding a yellow card held in the air. Also referred to as “booking” the player who committed a foul.
  • Zone defense: Unlike man-to-man marking, zone defense requires players to defend a specific area or zone of the field as opposed to a specific player.