Confused about soccer terms? This glossary will help you!


  • Advantage –
  • Age Group – by birth year, from Jan. 1 to Dec 31. 
  • Assist –
  • Assistant Referee (A.R.) – the linesmen who stand on the outside of the field. Typically used in higher level games from U13+. 


  • Ball Size – Size 5 for ages U13+, Size 4 for ages U12-U9, Size 3 for ages U8 and under
  • Breakaway –
  • Build-Out Line –


  • Card a Player –
  • Clear –
  • Concussion Initiative – referee stops game and player is evaluated. If player leaves the field, a substitution may be made, and the player cannot return to the field unless the player has been cleared by a healthcare professional or certified trainer.
  • Corner Flags –
  • Corner Kick –


  • Drop Ball – when the referee restarts play by dropping the ball between two players, thereby giving neither an advantage



  • Football – what the rest of the world calls soccer
  • Free Kick – direct: play is stopped and one team shoots attempts to score by shooting ‘directly into the other teams net; indirect: play is stopped and one team must pass to a teammate before scoring


  • Goal – counts only when the ball passes over the goal line
  • Goal Kick – There is no offside from a goal kick.


  • Handball – touching the ball with the hand or arm. 
  • Header – Player uses head to hit the ball. As per the U.S. Youth Soccer Association: players U10 and under are not permitted to head the ball in competition or to practice in training. An indirect free kick will be awarded to the opponent at the spot of the infraction, unless the infraction occurs within the penalty area in which case the indirect free kick will be moved outside the penalty area. U11 and U12 players may practice heading, but should be monitored so that no player heads the ball more than 25 times a week. U13+ have no heading restrictions.







  • Nutmeg (meg) – Passing the ball through the opponent’s legs


  • Obstruction –
  • Offside –
  • Out of Bounds – when the ball completely crosses the lines, taking it out of play. Balls that are out of bounds are returned to play through throw-ins, goal kicks, and corner kicks depending on the location of where the ball exited the field.


  • Penalty Kick 
  • Player Pool – New philosophy for establishing teams at the U9-U12 level. This approach allows flexible grouping to maximize training and player opportunities.
  • Playing Up: when a player is rostered for a team at least one year difference in chronological age. Players may play up in age making them younger than the other players, but may never play down (which would make them older than the other players on the field).
  • Premier/Elite Team – often the highest skill level at any club. Expect to be fully committed and to travel further distance, including overnight tournaments several times a year.



  • Red Card – awarded upon the second yellow card -or- awarded for use of excessive force or for using abusive/offensive language
  • Roster – Each team has a set roster, which is presented before every game


  • Scrimmage – a practice game.
  • Set Piece (Set Play) –
  • Shoulder –
  • Shutout – also known as a “clean sheet”;
  • Stoppage Time –
  • Substitutions – Unlimited, unless tournament rules state otherwise. May be done with referee permission at any point where there is a stoppage of play.


  • Tackle –
  • Touchline – Transfer – necessary when changing teams or clubs mid-season and completed through paperwork
  • Throw In – When the opposing team sends the ball out of bounds, it is returned to play by a two-handed, overhead throw. The feet may not leave the ground. There is no offside with a throw in.
  • Trap – Stopping the ball before playing it.
  • Tryouts – occur in the spring in preparation for the fall season




  • Wall –



  • Yellow Card – issued for unsportsmanlike behavior, talking back to the referee, or repeatedly disregarding the rules of the game.