Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Soccer Made Easy

In an attempt to help others understand what is happening on your television sets, in bars, and all around the world this month, here is my glossary of soccer terms. You may think that you understand soccer, but then you hear the announcers (if you can get past the infernal buzz of the vuvuzelas) and you wonder what the hell is going on out there. A few simple vocabulary words here and you will be able to bullshit your way through any conversation with a soccer fan.

In no particular order:

  • Pitch - This is what we would call a field. Why would someone call a field a "pitch?" No one really knows... But if you hear a pompous ass make a comment about leaving it out on the pitch, you know he is a soccer fan and should be smacked upon the side of his head.
  • Match - This is what we would call a game. Tennis players have matches. And we all know that tennis players are country club snobs. But hey, if that is what soccer wants to be associated with, so be it. Plus, Smokey Bear hates matches!
  • Draw - This is what we would call a tie. It is also what we would call a galactic cop-out. The fact that soccer lets its games end in ties, especially during the World Cup, is just ludicrous. 
  • Referee - The one official who is allowed on the field who is instructed to call fouls and other rule violations. Since the field is roughly 38 acres long, it is believed that referees have robotic legs and x-ray vision. Of course, in order to attain these human advancements, general intelligence was eliminated in most referees.
  • World Cup - A soccer competition held by an international organization between the "top" national teams in the world. It is considered the most watched event in the world, only to be eventually surpassed by the inevitable reunion concert of Bananarama. An alternate definition is: A pointless sporting event that takes up a month of time every four years where the majority of Americans wish they could stab their eyeballs out with their inner ears.
  • Period - Normal people refer to soccer periods as "halves" since there are only two of them and they are equal in time.
  • Injury time - Extra time added to the end of either period because someone faked an injury. This is the time that was lost as the team had to call in a red cross helicopter to airlift the "injured" player to the sideline where he could miraculously recover. No one knows how much injury time is added to the game except for the referee, and he is famous for keeping secrets.
  • Striker - A player who plays the position of forward, or more commonly, a team's top scoring threat. This term is very helpful in strategizing against an opponent. For example, "Everyone, watch out for Billy. They call him their striker, so he is probably good. Try to not let him score. Okay, good talk."
  • Attacker - A player who has the ball and is trying to score. As opposed to a player who has the ball and is content running in circles.
  • Attacking midfielder - An attacker who can not remember where he is supposed to play, thus "midfielder." 
  • Striker, Attacker, etc - Terms of aggression adopted by soccer players to combat the reality that they are playing a wimpy sport which utilities "flopping" as a basic strategy.
  • Yellow card - A penalty given to a player who commits a violation of the rules. In soccer lore, the color yellow means, "chillax, fella."
  • Red card - The dreaded red card is given to a player who commits a mortal soccer sin. It is also given out when a player commits two venial soccer sins which resulted in yellow cards. Players who receive a red card are escorted off the field where they are mauled to death by 11 rabid camels. 
  • Ball carrier - In an attempt to confuse you, this term refers to the player who is kicking the ball, not actually carrying it. Carrying the soccer ball is not kosher.
  • GGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL -  The eardrum shattering announcement that someone, somewhere, has actually scored in a soccer game.
  • Soccer - What Americans call the sport that the rest of the world refers to as football. Americans recognize football as a REAL sport and therefore refer to soccer by this lame term.

Now on to the most difficult terminology employed by this EXTREMELY intricate sport.

  • Dribbling - Kicking the ball.
  • Center pass - Kicking the ball (into the center).
  • Cross pass - Same as Center pass, but it sounds more highbrow.
  • Banana kick - Kicking the ball (not kicking a banana, just in case you were confused).
  • Bicycle kick - Kicking the ball (not kicking a bicycle, just in case you were confused).
  • Scissors kick - Kicking the ball (not kicking scissors, just in case you were confused).
  • Instep drive - Kicking the ball.
  • Instep pass - Kicking the ball.
  • Corner kick - Kicking the ball.
  • Free kick - Kicking the ball.
  • Direct free kick - Kicking the ball.
  • Indirect free kick - Kicking the ball.
  • Goal kick - Kicking the ball.
  • Penalty kick - Kicking the ball.
  • Penalty shot - Kicking the ball.
  • Chip pass - Kicking the ball.
  • Chip shot - Kicking the ball.
  • Drop kick - Kicking the ball.
  • Lob - Kicking the ball.
  • Loft - Same as lob, only more "smarty pants-ish."
  • Outlet pass - Kicking the ball.
  • Push pass - Kicking the ball.
  • Square pass - Kicking the ball.
  • Through pass - Kicking the ball.
  • Wall pass - Kicking the ball.
  • Volley - Kicking the ball.
  • Kicking - Oddly enough, this term is not used much in soccer. I believe it means to start a campfire in the middle of the field, to roast marshmallows and eat S'mores, and to feel superior to the rest of the world for being able to play a sport that is less exciting than watching paint dry on growing grass.

And with that, we end today's soccer lesson. Please be advised that none of these terms should be used in intelligent or logical company without expecting retribution.

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