Friday, December 16, 2011

English-to-English Soccer Dictionary

Sometimes it is the obvious thing that escapes us as bloggers. In my case I tend to get so into the details, like statistics and prognostications, that I fail to pick-up on the simpler parts of a story or topic that make it interesting to the general audience. It was brought to my attention a few weeks ago by a new follower that although we market ourselves as "a soccer blog for the soccerly challenged" but have failed to covered the most basic of topics; a translation of English football/soccer terms to English. The light bulb came on and I realized that some of the expressions I use might register a zero in your brain. So I have been putting together a list of terms over the last few weeks and will spell them out. Consider this a reference guide or training aid for understanding the EPL coverage better. With all this in mind I've created, "The Scoring Third's English-to-English Soccer Dictionary". I've tried to add some additional factoids and information where applicable, but if you come up with any items I missed, post a comment and I will fill in the gaps. Enjoy!

About the Pitch
  • "The Pitch" - The field or playing surface in soccer. Unlike American Football, the pitch is not a standard length and width even within the EPL the pitches vary from 110-116 yard long by 70-77 yards wide.
  • "By-Line" - The out-of-bounds line along the narrow sides of the pitch; also called "the goal-line"
  • "Touch-Line" - The out-of-bounds line along the long sides of the pitch.
  • "Half-Way Line" - The line in the middle of the field which divides the pitch in half.
  • "The Center Spot" - The mark in the center of the field where kick-offs occur at the start of each half and after a team scores. Unlike American Football, the team kicking-off usually retains the ball with a short kick to a nearby teammate.
  • "The Center Circle" - A 10 yard circle surrounding the center spot which the team defending the kick-off must remain outside of until the ball is struck by the opposing team.
  • "The 18" - The 18 yard box is the larger area surrounding each goal; also known as the penalty area or the area in which the goalkeeper can use his hands to control the ball.
  • "The 6" - The 6 yard box is the small area surrounding each goal; used for the placement of goal kicks or free kicks by the defending team.
  • "The Spot" or "The Mark" - The penalty kick spot located 12 yards from the goal line where the ball is placed for a penalty attempt. The goalkeeper must remain on the goal line during the attempt, moving off the line can warrant a retry of the penalty kick at the referee's discretion.
  • "Penalty Arc" - Extends from the top of the 18 yard box towards the middle of the pitch. It denotes a distance 10 yards away from the penalty spot which all players beside the penalty taker and goal keeper must remain outside until the ball is struck.
  • "Corner" - When the defending team knocks the ball out across their own by-line/goal-line a corner kick is awarded to the attacking team. The corner is a 1 yard arc in each corner of the pitch where the ball must be placed for the corner kick.
  • "The Wing" - An undefined area, but typically the space within 10-15 yards of the touch-line
  • "The Post" - An easy one, the post make up the vertical supports for the goal structure.
  • "The Technical Area" - A space outside of the pitch near the half-way line where each coach is permitted to walk, chant, yell, during the match. Just like the technical area in many US sports the coach is suppose to remain within the technical area while the match is in play or the referee can issue a warning.

About the Positions
  • "The Keeper" - Also known as the goalkeeper, he's the only player for each team permitted to use his hands to defend the ball as long as he is within the 18 yard box.
  • "Backs" - Also known as the defensive players, they are positioned closest to the goalkeeper and help defend attacks from the opposing team. Individual positions include left-back, center-back and right-back.
  • "Mids" - Also known as the midfield players, they are the playmakers moving the ball from the defensive players through the center of the pitch and ahead to the forward offensive players. Individual positions include left winger, center-mid, and right-winger
  • "Strikers" - Also knows at the offensive players, they are the scorers for the team in most cases. Teams typically have one or two strikers that usually play in the center position.
  • "Ref" - Also known as the referee, he keeps the official time for the match and has the final say on all fouls, penalties, and injury time.
  • "Linesmen" or "Lines-Judge" - Also known as referee's assistants, patrol along each touch-line and assist the referee primarily with offside calls but can also assist with foul and penalty calls.
  • "The 4th Official" - The forth part of the officiating team he works between the two technical areas and handles substitutions and announcing the stoppage time.

About Fouls and Penalties
  • "Free-Kick" or "Direct Kick" - Typically it is kicking, tripping, charging, striking, pushing, or tackling an opposing player without playing the ball. Other possible circumstances for a free kick would be holding an opponent on a free or corner kick, spitting at an opponent, or a hand ball. As long as the offense occurs outside of the penalty area (the 18 yard box) the free kick is awarded at the spot of the foul and the defending players must remain at least 10 yards from the ball until it is struck. If the foul occurs within the penalty area a penalty attempt is awarded.
  • "Indirect Kick" - Not as common, they are typically awarded after a stoppage in play for an injury or substitution and they are simply intended to put the ball back in play. Indirect kicks can also be awarded if the goalkeeper holds the ball for longer than 6 seconds, uses his hands first to pick-up a backwards pass, or if he touches the ball after he has already released it before it touches another player.
  • "Advantage" - In some cases where a foul occurs the referee may award advantage to the player who was fouled if they maintain the ball through the foul and are in a position of advantage such as attacking or moving towards the goal.
  • "Off-Sides" - If the ball is passed forward to another teammate who is between the last defensive player and the goalkeeper/goal before the ball is struck, that is an off-sides. It is a judgment call by the linesmen who will raise their flags when the offense occurs.
  • "Yellow Card" - Is a cautionary warning handed out to a player for a foul that is considered dangerous or a series of fouls over the course of the game. A player can collect one yellow card without issue; however two yellow cards in a game result in being kicked out of the match and the team must play a man down. Two yellow cards usually mean that the player must also sit out the next match as well.
  • "Red Card" - Is an immediate dismissal from the match, usually for a very dangerous foul like tackling from behind, a head butt, punching, or something that seriously violates the rules of soccer. Red cards usually result in a one game suspension or more and a fine by the league.

What did I forget? Let me know by posting a comment below and I will be happy to fill in the gaps! Also, if you aren't following us on Twitter (@ScoringThird) you should.

1 comment :

  1. Very informative. Not much unlike the rest of your blogs. Now I can read them like I read the Wall Street Journal....with a dictionary. Well played.


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