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Soccer Terminology


Attacking:  When a team has the ball they are generally referred to as "attacking", no matter where the ball is on the field. Also commonly called offense.

·       Backs play nearest to their goal line and should be skilled ball handlers with the ability to physically control their areas.

·       Forwards play furthest from their goal line. These players should be creative and have a knack for being in the right place.

·       Midfielders play between the forwards and backs. These players should be very fit and have a high work rate. They typically play in areas of transition from attacking to defending (center midfielder) and from defending to attacking (Defensive Midfielder). 

Build Out Line (retreat line):  Meant to allow the kicking team to build out of the back. Formally used in U10 games where an attacking team must retreat to during the opposing team’s goal kick or keeper save. Players that have retreated to the build out line cannot advance until a goal kick or goalie pass is played by another player on the team taking the kick. This is managed by Coaches and can be enforced by the Referees. For more information please see:

            Note: the retreat line can be implemented in U5-U8 by using the half line.

Corner kick: Awarded when the defending team puts the ball over the goal line, a corner kick is taken by the attacking team from within the arc next to the corner flag. Just as is the case with a free kick, the ball is kicked from a stopped position and defenders must be at least 10-yards away.

Cross: A pass from near the touchlines that is directed towards the area in front of the goal. A cross is usually intended to be headed or volleyed with the foot into the goal by a teammate.

Defending: When a team does not have possession of the ball and is trying to win back control. Defending can occur in any area of the field when the possessing team loses the ball.

Direct Free Kick (DFK): Not awarded in the Recreation Program. DFKs are awarded after a physical foul (kick, trip, striking, jumping, charge, pushes, tackles, holds, spits, handling, impedes, throwing items). A direct free kick can result in a goal without another player touching the ball before entering the goal, therefore, a player can use the DFK to take a shot directly on the goal and score.

Dismissal: Ejection from a match, either by a board member in the recreational program, or because of being shown a red card in competitive leagues due to excessively dangerous play, or behavior in conflict with the ‘BWSA Code of Conduct’.

Dribbling: When a player runs with the ball at his or her feet, directing the ball with small, quick touches.

Goal line: The lines that the goals sit on. If the defending team puts the ball over the goal line, the attacking team is awarded a corner-kick. If the attacking team puts the ball over the goal line, the defending team is awarded a goal-kick.

Foul: A stop in play when the referee judges a violation against an opposing player. The team that suffers the foul is awarded a free kick unless the foul is committed by a defensive player inside his own penalty area, in which case the foul results in a penalty kick. The recreation program does not award penalty kicks and a foul in the penalty area by the defending team would be an indirect free kick from outside the penalty area.

Free kick: A kick given to the team that has suffered a foul at the spot of the infraction. The kicker is given a ten-yard buffer between the spot of the kick and the first opposing player. See Direct Free Kicks and Indirect Free Kicks.

Goalkeeper: The only player on the Pitch that can use their hands to control the ball, but only in the penalty area.  If a keeper uses their hands outside of the penalty area, the other team is awarded an indirect free kick.

Goal kick: Awarded when the attacking team puts the ball over the opposing team's goal line. This is a kick taken from the defending team’s own six-yard box.  The opposing team cannot play the ball in the penalty area until it is played by the kicking team.

Header: When a player strikes or deflects the ball with his head to pass or shoot. Headers are not permitted in the Rec League.

Indirect Free Kick (IFK): A free kick that must be touched by one other person (from either team) before it can result in a goal. This kick cannot score a goal straight off the shot and be called a goal. In indirect kick situations, you will see the ‘tap’ phenomenon: one player will tap the ball a few inches to a fellow player, who will then take a direct shot on goal. See: free kick.

Keeper: An abbreviation, See Goalkeeper.

Assistant Referee / Linesmen: used in U10 and above play in the Recreation Program. The two officials stationed along the sidelines assist the center referee with foul identification and monitor the offside rule.

Offsides: There are two aspects of offsides, position and involvement. The attacking player must:

1.     Be in an offsides position (closer to the goal than the defending team or the ball in the opponent’s half).

2.     Is involved in active play:

a.     Interferes with play or an opponent (obstruct opponent's play or vision, challenges the opponent for the ball, making obvious action to influence play).

b.     Gains an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent when it has rebounded off goalie, goal frame, of referee or from a deliberate save by an opponent.

An attacking player in an offside position who receives the ball from a deliberate play from the opposing team is not considered to gain an advantage and will not be called for an offside offense. Offside offenses result in an indirect free kick.

Pitch: Another word for the field of play.

Phases of the game: Attacking, defending, transition to attacking (open space, use space, and scoring), transition to defending (Closing space, Disrupting, prevent goals). 

Possession: When a team has control of the ball and is then considered to be attacking.

Referee: Responsible for identifying and calling fouls, controlling the game (substitutions, restarts, goals, and checking in the players). Rec league referees are sometimes one or two years older than the kids playing and may be inexperienced.  BWSA has implemented a mentoring program to help them become better through training and assistance on games days.

Shot: A shot is any attempt to score by a team. The shot can result in a wide or high ball (over the goal), a keeper save, a deflection by another player or the post, or a goal. A shot is not necessarily a shot on goal.

Touchline: The sides of the field where players wait to be substituted and the opposite side where spectators watch.

Positive Pass: A pass between teammates that moves the ball closer to the opposing team’s goal.

Negative Pass: A pass between teammates that is toward the passing team’s own goal. (Even though the terminology of passes is positive and negative, players should be comfortable making a pass in any direction on the field to try to maintain possession for their team.)

Prepare to play: This is controlling the ball when receiving the ball. When receiving a ball in your half you should prepare to move the ball forward by receiving

Square: A phrase used in soccer where the players pass the ball between their teammates laterally, or side-to-side. The ball is not kicked or passed forward and backward, but rather sideways.

Striker: Plays the 9 position and is normally the biggest threat to the opposing teams’ goalkeeper.

Support: Refers to having teammates who are properly positioned near the ball (i.e., within passing range on offense and within 5 - 10 steps of the First Defender on defense).

Sweeper: In some formations, a single defender that plays between the keeper and the other defenders (normally a 4 or 5 that plays deeper than other defenders).

Slide Tackle: 

1. Not permitted in the rec league.

2. Is risky because this play can result in a foul, yellow card, or red card if not done correctly.

The slide tackle should be made with the leg closest to the defender bent, the extended leg not contacting the opposing player, and the extended leg does not have the extended leg's foot laces up and not the heel up. Even if the defending player contacts the ball first, they can still be called for a foul if the play is careless, reckless, or uses excessive force, which is normally the case in younger players. 

Through ball: A pass ‘through’ the defense into space intended for a teammate to run onto it.

Throw-in: A way to restart play when the ball goes out over the touchlines. The team that kicked the ball over the touchline turns the ball over to the opposing team. A proper throw-in has the player off the field (feet can be on the line), two hands on the ball, the ball comes behind their head, and the players feet remain on the ground throughout the throw.

Touchline: The longer lines of the field where spectators and players either watch or wait to be substituted.

Wall: When several defending players stand in a line between the ball and the goal to deflect a free kick. The wall must be set up a minimum of 10 yards away from the spot of the free kick.

Field Status

Open Open

Harrison Middle (03:27 PM | 01/14/24)

Open Open

Gym (03:51 PM | 01/14/24)

Open Open

U7 - Green Flag (07:46 PM | 03/20/24)

Open Open

U8 - Orange Flag (07:46 PM | 03/20/24)