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Soccer: Terms to Know

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When an official allows play to continue for the attacking team even though a foul occurred.


As the result of a successful "through ball," an offensive player has a one-on-one situation with a defensive player, usually the goalkeeper.


To pressure the player with the ball.


To let the ball go past or through your legs to a teammate.

Dummy run

A run by a player without the ball to draw one or more defenders away from the area under attack.

First touch

The first time a player makes contact with the ball. Skilled players can use their bodies to steal and direct the ball to control its pace and distance to set up the second touch, typically an accurate pass or shot.


Slang for when a player passes the ball by barely touching -- or flicking -- it, causing a slight change of direction to elude a defender.


Also known as a "wall pass" or a "1-2." The action of a player who passes to a teammate, clears a defender, then receives a pass back from that same teammate.


A pass crossed in front of the opposition's goal -- a corner kick, for example -- in such a way that the spin on the ball causes the ball to swing "inward" toward the goal.


Also known as a "nutmeg." A slang term used when a player knocks the ball between an opponent's legs and re-joins the ball, leaving the opposing player behind.


A pass crossed in front of the opposition's goal in such a way that the spin on the ball causes the ball to "swing out" away from the goal and goalkeeper. A well-executed out-swinger leaves the opposing goalkeeper indecisive.


A goal made by a defense on its own end.

Slide tackle

An attempt by a defender to take the ball away from a ball carrier by sliding on the ground feet-first into the ball.

Through ball

When a player passes the ball through a line of defense, allowing a teammate to run into it. A successfully-timed through ball will sometimes result in a breakaway.


When a player kicks the ball out of the air.


A line of two to five players pressed together shoulder-to-shoulder in an effort to protect their goal against a close free kick by reducing the amount of open goal area the kicker has to shoot at.

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