Off Pitch With Heath Pearce - Soccer Lingo

Off Pitch With Heath Pearce - Soccer Lingo

16Jan 0422

Soccer star, Heath Pearce, has demonstrated his skills on teams from the U.S. to Europe. And now, the KickTV host will give you some first-hand, player insight into the beautiful game in this six-part series.


As the game of soccer continues to grow in the United States so does our appetite, as fans, to not only learn more about the game itself, but also about the language in which the game is spoken. So for today only, consider me your professor of soccer lingo and how specifically to talk soccer like a pro. This isn’t absolute nor is it necessary to speak this language but if you are new to the game, this will help you to understand what is being said by people around you, should you find yourself at a game, a pub or at your cubicle next to a crazed soccer fan.


First things first, we’ve got to talk footwear. At the professional level, we call them boots. Not shoes, not cleats, or any other form of footwear. The word boots, in reference to soccer, came from the 19th century in Great Britain when the sport was gaining popularity and people would regularly kick around in their steel-toe work boot. For some reason this name has stuck and withstood the test of time and if you can learn to say it comfortably, you’ll sound like a pro.


As soon as you’ve found yourself some boot’s you’ll need to dress appropriately. In soccer we don’t say uniforms, we say kits. Your kit consists of; shorts, socks, jersey (can also just be kit), and a pair of what we call sliders (you can figure out what these are). We do not call them tights nor do we call them underwear, unless of course, you don’t wear sliders and prefer commando in which case WE call YOU, a champion. As soon as you’ve found yourself with a pair of boots and you’ve got your kit on and feel like kicking around you’ll want to ask where your nearest soccer pitch is. To be fair, soccer field is commonly spoken as well but again, I’m trying to be your language expert on how the game is commonly spoken at the professional level, and in that case, we will go with pitch.


Next, you’ve got to wrap your head around the idea that the game is played over two halves, each of which are 45-minutes plus stoppage time. Stoppage time, which is also referred to as penalty time, or injury time, is an amount of time that a referee (or head official if you really want to talk like a pro) selects an appropriate amount of time to account for any stoppages in the game. This, by the way, is usually a totally ridiculous calculation and rarely is that time followed precisely.

Now, as a former pro myself, I am still confused at some lingo as well as rules of the game, so if I’ve lost you at some point along the way, I apologize. But if you are still reading this, congrats! You are on the verge of talking like a pro, with the exception of a few more rapid tips from myself.


They are fouls, not penalties. Unless of course, it’s a penalty kick but that’s an explanation for another time. Games are played in halves, not periods, or quarters. A tie can end in a tie but we call it a tie or a draw, both of which mean the same thing. If you are going to a game, try calling it a match. A soccer match will get you a little bit of extra credit should the guy next to you try to one up your soccer knowledge. Match-ups that are local or have history are referred to as a rivalry or Derby (pronounced DaRBEE).

Beyond this my friends, you are on your own. Whether it be at a pub, in a stadium or at your local kick-around, I hope that some of my insider tips will give you a little more street cred, not that any of you need it. But be forewarned , there is always the chance that a bunch of pro’s will read this and say we don’t talk like that in which case this advice will turn in to, how to talk like Heath Pearce. And if you find yourself looking for a “match”, just grab your “boots”, head to a “pitch” but most importantly ENJOY THE GAME! Because that is the whole point, at the end of the day, regardless of what you call it.