Glossary of Terms

  • Rules


Balance: Reading the attack and providing an equal or greater number of defenders than attackers at the point of attack, while simultaneously covering the vital area near the goal.

Ballistic: Stretching with movement.

Center: To pass the ball from a wide position on the field into the penalty area.

Charge: Legally upsetting an opponent’s balance by shoulder-to-shoulder contact.

Clear: A throw or kick by the goalkeeper or a kick by the defender in an attempt to get the ball away (clear) from the goal area.

Combination Play: Passing combinations executed by two or more players. The most common example is the wall pass.

Concentration: Compressing or restricting the space the attacking team has by “shepherding” them into a confined area makes it easier to defend and regain possession of the ball.

Corner kick: A corner kick is awarded the opposing team when the defending team is last to touch the ball before it crosses the goal line but not scoring a goal. The opposing team must be at least ten yards from the ball when the corner kick is taken in U-12 games. Refer to the Laws of the Game for further details.

Defender: Primarily a defensive player who assists the goalkeeper in protecting the goal area.

Delay: Slowing down the attack by closing the gap and denying space to allow the defense to get organized.

Depth (defending): Supporting the player(s) challenging the ball in case they are beaten.

Depth (attacking): Supporting teammates by creating safe options for the player with the ball.

Dribble: A way of advancing the ball by a series of short taps with one or both feet.

Dynamic: Moving.

Everyone Plays: Our program’s goal is for kids to play soccer—so we mandate that every player on every team must play at least half of every game.

Far Post: Side of the goal or goal post farthest from the ball.

Forward: Primarily an attacking.

Goalkeeper: The last line of defense. The goalkeeper is the only player who can use his hands within the field of play. Use of hands is limited to within the penalty area.

Good Sportsmanship: We strive to create a positive environment based on mutual respect, rather than a win-at-all-costs attitude. All our programs must be designed to instill good sportsmanship in every facet of AYSO.

Grid: A marked, restricted playing area.

Half-Volley: Kicking the ball just as it is rebounding off the ground.

Halfback: Another name for midfielder.

Hands: Illegal act of intentionally touching the ball with the hands or arms.

Heading: A method of scoring, passing, and controlling the ball by making contact with the head.

Inside of the Foot – Push Pass: This technique is used to advance the ball or to maintain possession by passing to a teammate.

Inside of the Foot – Ball Control: This technique is used to control the ball using the inside of the foot in order to maintain possession and prepare for the next move.

Instep Kick: This skill is used for long passes and strong shots on goal using the instep of the foot.

Linkman: Another name for midfielder.

Lob: A high, soft kick which lifts the ball over the heads of the opponents.

Marking: Guarding an opponent.

Midfielder: A player who is primarily responsible for moving the ball from the defenders to the forwards.

Mobility: Players changing positions (filling in for one another when necessary) and moving off the ball creates numerical advantages and thereby attacking/scoring opportunities.

Near Post: Side of the goal or goal post closest to the ball.

Obstructing: Preventing the opponent from going around a player by standing in the path of movement.

One-Touch Pass: A pass made without controlling (trapping) it first.

Overlap: The attacking play of a defender or midfielder going down the touch-line past his or her own winger.

Penetration: Advancement, moving the ball and/or players past an opponent in order to get into position to shoot and/or score, and is achieved by shooting, dribbling, and passing.

Pitch: Another name for the field of play.

Positive Coaching: Encouragement of player effort provides for greater enjoyment by the players and ultimately leads to better-skilled and better-motivated players.

Pressure: Action of a defender to restrict time and space available to the offensive player.

Save: Goalkeeper stops an attempted goal by catching or deflecting the ball away from the goal.

Screen: Retaining possession and protecting the ball by keeping your body between the ball and opponent.

Set play: A planned offensive movement to be executed at a free kick.

Shielding: see Screen.

Sliding Tackle: Attempting to take the ball away from the opponent by sliding on the ground and using the feet or legs to block and hold the ball.

Static: Stretching against muscle and holding as opposed to bouncing.

Striker: A central forward position with a major responsibility for scoring goals.

Sweeper: A defender who roams either in front of or behind the defensive line to pick up stray passes.

Tackling: Attempting to or taking the ball away from an opponent when both players are playing the ball with their feet.

Takeover: A 2 vs. 1 combination play in which the two offensive players move toward each other and the ball is transferred from one player to the other.

Through Pass: A pass that goes between two players and behind the defense.

Throw-In: The throw-in is used to restart the game after the entire ball has crossed the sideline, whether on the ground or in the air.

Trap: Controlling a ball by means of the feet, thighs, or chest.

Two-Touch Pass: A passing technique in which one touch is used to control the ball and the second touch is used to pass the ball.

Volley: Kicking the ball while it is in flight.

Wall Pass: A pass to a teammate, followed by a return pass on the other side of the opponent. Also called “give-and-go.”

Warm-Up: Keep it short, but do it. Young players must get used to warming up and stretching their muscles.

Width: Attacking on a broad front (players spread out) stretches the defense and creates space for players to advance.

Wing: An area of the field near the touch-line.

Winger: Name given to the right and left outside forwards.