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Glossary: S-T

View a glossary of related terms. This page features terms beginning with the letters S-T.

A ‘save’ is the principal skill of a goalkeeper, whose main job is to keep the ball out of his goal. A save refers to the stopping of the ball from going into the goal by the keeper, usually by using his hands, but can be with any part of his body.

Scissors kick
See ‘Bicycle Kick’


There are two meanings:  firstly, the score is how many goals each team has at any point during or after a match. Football matches start with the score at 0-0; secondly, to score a goal is the main job of the strikers and you win a football match by scoring more goals than the other team.

The football calendar works in ‘seasons’, not years – so the Barclays Premier League season runs from August to May.

These are what the spectators sit in when they are watching a match in the stadium. Barclays Premier League grounds are all-seater, so every fan is expected to sit down during the match.

Second half
Football matches are split into two 45-minute halves. After a 15-minute interval spent mostly in their dressing-rooms, the teams come back out on to the pitch for the second half.

Sending off
See ‘Red card’

Set piece
A set piece refers to the returning of the ball to open play following a stoppage. Set pieces generally refer to free-kicks which are in an attacking position, corners and penalty kicks, and sometimes even throw-ins. Set pieces are a crucial part of football, and an ability to attack or defend them is considered vital at both ends.

Shin guards
Shin guards or shin pads are protective padding that players wear inside their socks to try and avoid serious leg injuries. Shin pads should cover the leg from the ankle to the bottom of the knee.

The art of shooting is vital for all attacking players as this is how they score goals. A shot is when an attacking player hits the ball towards the opponents’ goal with the intention of scoring. Often times if you are present at a match and a player is within 25 yards of the goal, people in the crowd will shout ‘Shoot!’

See ‘Penalty shootout’

This is a term used to describe a goalscoring chance so easy (but ultimately missed) that it should be taken while sitting down. It might be a striker who has gone past the goalkeeper but shot wide in front of an empty net, or someone heading over the bar from two yards out when it looked as though they had to score. Usually uttered in the context of ‘He’s missed a sitter!’

Sliding tackle
A tackle is when a player tries to take the ball away from his opponent, so a sliding tackle is when this happens and the player trying to win the ball slides along the ground, mostly using one leg as a pivot and the other to try and take the ball away. A sliding tackle performed correctly is not a foul, but the margins for error are small and the punishments can be big for mistimed and/or dangerous sliding tackles, as they are easy to misjudge.

Another word for the sport of ‘football’, or ‘association football’. It is an abbreviation of the word ‘association’, but is generally not used in England. Mostly used in America, where ‘football’ is the name for ‘gridiron’.

The 11 players who make up a football team are part of a bigger group of players, which is generally known as the ‘squad’. Football squads can make up any number of players, but usually between 20-30.

See ‘Ground’

Stewards are officials who sit around the ground watching the fans to ensure they are behaving themselves and also to ensure the safety of all the spectators present. They usually wear brightly coloured jackets so they are easily recognisable to fans and must have a qualification to be able to be  steward at a match.

Stoppage time

See ‘injury time’

The ‘stretcher’ is used for taking an injured player, who can no longer walk, off the pitch. He is placed on to a stretcher by physios and doctors and is carried off to receive further treatment either by the side of the pitch or in the dressing-room.


Arguably the most important position in the football team, because it is the strikers who are expected to score the goals that win matches. A striker is different to a forward because strikers usually play in a central position right at the front of a team, whereas forwards can play anywhere along the forward line.

See ‘Kit’

Studs are attachments on the bottom of a football boot designed to give the wearer better grip on a slippery surface. There are different types of studs depending on the condition of the surface.

The players who do not make it into the starting XI but are instead on the bench, available to be called upon at any stage of the match, are called substitutes. In the Barclays Premier League, teams are allowed to put seven players on the substitutes bench, but can only call upon three of those ‘subs’ during the match.

See ‘Fans’

If a player receives a red card in a match, he will be banned, or suspended, for the next match his club plays. Suspensions can vary, from one match for two yellow cards to three matches for violent conduct.  A player who picks up several bookings in a season can also be suspended.

This is a player who plays behind the other defenders and is said to ‘sweep up’ if one of the opposing players manages to breach all of his team-mates. The sweeper is almost like an insurance policy for a team, but he can be versatile too and start attacks from the back as well. In modern football, sweepers are quite rare.

The rankings list of the Barclays Premier League is known as the Barclays Premier League table – this puts clubs in their correct order depending on how many points they have won and, if points are level, their goal difference. Whoever finishes top of the table at the end of the season wins the Barclays Premier League trophy. Also known as ‘standings’ or ‘classification’.

This is a technical skill crucial for defenders and midfielders to learn as a tackle enables a player to legally win possession of the ball from someone on the opposing team. Tackling is always done by a player’s feet, and they must win the ball before making contact with the player who has possession of the ball otherwise they are likely to commit a foul. See also: ‘Sliding tackle’.


The formation in which a team sets itself up and style in which it plays is known as ‘tactics’, and this is an important facet of the match as there are many different tactics which managers can employ in order to try and defeat their opponents. Often, a manager will change his team’s tactics during a match to try and steal an advantage over the opposition.

Target man
This is the term given to a striker who is usually tall and is adept at winning the ball aerially, making him a target for his team to play the ball forward to. He is good at retaining possession and bringing his team-mates into play, making him the focal part of his team’s attack.

The 11 players who represent a football club on the pitch are known as a ‘team’. This is different to a ‘club’, which encompasses all the playing and non-playing staff. A team can also be called a ‘side’.

Ten men
When a team has a player sent off, they are a man down, and hence are described as playing ‘with 10 men’. If a player is having a particularly bad day but is still on the pitch, his team might be described as playing with 10 men due to his poor performance.

Before grounds were turned into all-seater arenas, there were standing areas where some fans would watch matches, known as ‘terraces’. There are no terraces in Barclays Premier League stadia, but sometimes ‘stands’ will be called ‘terraces’, purely as a colloquial expression.

When the ball goes out of play on one of the two touchlines that run down the side of the pitch, whichever team did not touch the ball last before it went out will take a throw-in to restart play. A throw must be taken with the player’s two hands, from behind and over his own head and with both feet on the ground, otherwise the referee will award the throw-in to the opposing team.

A fan buys a ticket to a match to enable him to watch that match from the stadium. ‘Season tickets’ are those tickets which are bought for an entire season – you can get home season tickets and away season tickets too at some clubs.

Time added on
See ‘injury time’

These are the longer sides of a football pitch, which must be the same length and run from the end of one ‘goalline’ to the other. Next to the touchline, off the pitch and either side of the halfway line is where managers and the substitutes usually sit in a ground.

See ‘coach’.  A trainer is someone who trains, or coaches, the players.

When a player moves from one club to the other, it is called a transfer.

Transfer fee
This is the cost involved in a player moving from one club to another, ie the amount of money the buying club is paying the selling club for his services.

This is the name for the barriers which are in place at football grounds, which mean you have to give a ticket to the attendant before you are allowed into the stadium. Turnstiles are usually made of metal and once you are allowed in you must push them round to get through. The number of spectators in a stadium for a match is sometimes called “the number of people who passed through the turnstiles”.

Two-footed tackle

This is a dangerous tackle and one which means the player making the tackle has both feet off the ground and has jumped in to try and win the ball off an opposing player. There is potential to injure an opponent with this sort of challenge, and often a player will be shown a straight red card for this tackle.

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