These days, it feels like football or soccer (as it is known in the US) is everywhere! Are you enjoying the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France? What about the exciting Copa América? Are you following the Total Africa Cup of Nations? If you like the game and want to expand your Spanish vocabulary of football terms, this lesson introduces some of the most common football/soccer vocabulary words in Spanish.
First things first. The Spanish word for football or soccer is fútbol, a word whose stress goes on the second-to-last syllable:
Y este... y juego al fútbol también a veces.
And well... I also play soccer sometimes.
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However, in Mexico and other places across Central America people usually say futbol, with the stress on the last syllable:
Antes también jugué al futbol.
Before, I also played football.Play Caption
By the way, if you are American and you are wondering how to say “football” in Spanish, the answer to that is fútbol americano.
From the word fútbol, we got the word futbolista (football player / soccer player). We can also use the term jugador as an alternative to futbolista. As a general rule, un equipo de fútbol (a soccer team) has eleven players (futbolistas / jugadores) on the field. Let’s see the names of the different kinds of players that you see in a typical partido de fútbol (soccer game / soccer match):
Portero, arquero, guardameta (goalkeeper)
Mediocampista, centrocampista, volante (midfielder)
Delantero, atacante (forward)
You can also find various and more specific names for the different players in the field. For instance, in the defense you can hear names like the following:
Defensa central (central defender)
Lateral derecho (right back)
Lateral izquierdo (left back)
By the way, you can use the terms campo de juego, cancha de fútbol or terreno de juego to refer to the playing field.
Mirá a Carlitos. La ves en la cancha de fútbol y no te imaginás.
Look at Carlitos. You see her on the soccer field and you can't imagine.
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In terms of other people that are involved in the game, we also have the following:
Juez de línea (assistant referee)
Suplente (substitute player)
El capitán del equipo (the captain of the team)
Keep in mind that substitute players sit on the banca or banquillo (bench). And let’s not forget about the fans who sit in the estadio (stadium). You can call them hinchas or aficionados or you can also use the corresponding collective nouns hinchada or afición (a group of fans).
If you want to say soccer ball in Spanish, you can either use balón de fútbol or pelota de fútbol. Or simply, pelota or balón. Some people call the soccer ball esférico.
And what about that magical moment when the ball enters the goal (the netted structure behind the goalkeeper)? Of course, we are talking about the goal, which in Spanish is called gol… or as many Latin sportscasters would very loudly say: ¡GOOOOOOOOOOOOOL! Another option you may hear for the term goal is the word tanto.
By the way, there are many words you can use in Spanish to talk about the goal (the netted structure). You can refer to as la portería, el arco or la valla. Each one of the two vertical goal posts is called palo or poste while the horizontal crossbar is called travesaño or larguero. Also, the small area that the goalkeeper guards (the goal area) is known in Spanish as área chica or área de meta. The bigger area (the penalty area) is known as área de penal.
There are many more things that are connected to the game. Let’s learn some more words:
El pito (the whistle)
Las botas de fútbol, los guayos, los botines de fútbol (soccer shoes)
Los tacos (the studs)
Las canilleras or las espinilleras (shin guards)
La camiseta (the t-shirt)
La copa (the cup)
El Mundial (the World Cup)
Campeonato europeo de fútbol, Mundial en Sudáfrica
the European soccer championship, the World Cup in South Africa
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Tarjeta amarilla (yellow card)
Tarjeta roja (red card)
El césped (the pitch / the grass)
Mediocampo or media cancha (midfield)
Los vestidores, los camerinos (locker rooms)
Now, when it comes to playing the game, there are many calls and moves that are part of a standard game. Let’s learn some of those football/soccer vocabulary words in Spanish:
Saque inicial (kickoff)
Saque lateral (throw-in)
Saque de meta (goal kick)
La asistencia (the assistance)
Un pase (a pass)
Un pase largo (a long pass)
Un cabezazo (a header)
Córner or tiro de esquina (corner)
Fuera de lugar or fuera de juego (offside)
Fútbol de toque (a passing game)
La jugada (the move)
La lesión (the injury)
El marcador (the score)
El medio tiempo or el descanso (halftime)
La ocasión (the chance)
La prórroga (the extra time)
El tiro or el disparo (the shot)
Tiro libre (free throw)
Un error (a mistake)
Una remontada (a comeback)
Now, it is time to review some of those verbs you can easily hear if you watch a soccer/football game in Spanish.
Aprovechar (take advantage)
Arbitrar (to referee)
Atacar (to attack)
Buscar (to look for)
Caer (to fall)
Calentar (to warm up)
El entrenador nos ordena calentar antes de cada partido de fútbol.
The coach orders us to warm up before each soccer match.Play Caption
Clasificar (to classify)
Correr (to run)
Defender (to defend)
Derrotar (to defeat)
Disputar (to play, to fight for)
Eliminar (to eliminate)
Empatar (to tie)
Ganar (to win)
Igualar (to even)
Imponerse (to prevail)
Intentar (to try)
Jugar (to play)
Marcar (to score or to defend)
Pelear (to fight)
Perder (to lose)
Recuperar (to recover)
Reponerse (to recover)
Romper (to break)
Seguir (to follow)
Sudar (to sweat)
En el campo de fútbol, empecé a sudar.
On the soccer field, I started to sweat.
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Toparse (to run/bump into)
Tirar, chutar (to shoot)
That's it for this lesson. We hope you enjoy this brief guide to some of the most common football/soccer vocabulary words in Spanish. Are there any words/terms that we didn’t mention? Please, let us know and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.