Football Guide

Football Glossary, Letter A

Football terms alphabetical index

a la Meazza

To score a goal after use of excessive dribbling, named after an Italian player in the 1930s

a la Piola

To score a goal with a bicycle kick, from Italian player Silvio Piola who is credited for the “invention” of the bicycle kick


An Italian abbreviation meaning “Associazione Calcio” or football association, a term used as a prefix for Italian football clubs(for example: AC Milan)


A player who simulates foul or injury in order to penalize the opposing team or waste time 

Added time

The amount of time added at the end of each half of football to compensate for stoppages during a game; also called injury or stoppage time


A situation where the team in possession of the ball outnumbers the defending team 

Advantage rule

A clause in football which states that a referee should not stop play for a foul if it will benefit the offending team


Asian Football Confederation, the governing body of football in Asia; organizer of the AFC Champions League, the biggest club competition in Asia

African Cup of Nations

The highest football tournament in the African continent, played among national teams; also known as African Nations Cup

Against the run of play

A term used to describe a situation that happens against the dominant flow of the game; for example, if team A has been having possession and scoring chances throughout the game but it was team B that scored, then that situation is “against the run of play”

Aggregate score

The overall number of goals a team has scored; in tournaments where teams play each other twice (home and away), aggregate score is used to determine which team advances to the next phase

(Les) Aigles de Carthage

(the) Eagles of Carthage, nickname of the Tunisian national football team


“White and blue”, the nickname of the Argentine national football team

All-seater stadium

A stadium which has individual seats, as opposed to stadiums which have benches


A midfield player positioned in front of the center-backs, whose primarily responsibility is to break up the opponent’s attacks; also known as defensive midfielder, holding midfielder, midfield anchor


A technique by goalkeepers where they make themselves closer to an attacker to narrow the angles that can be shot at


The first half of the football season in Latin American leagues, translates in English as “opening”; some countries divide their football season into two, the second part being the clausura or “closing”


A defunct professional men’s soccer league which featured teams from the United States and Canada


A curved line on top of the penalty box, a player fouled in this part of the football field will be awarded with a penalty kick; more appropriately called the “penalty arch”

Area chica

A Spanish slang for the six-yard box in front of the goal, known in English as the goal box


Associazione sportive in Italian or association sportive in French, literally translates as sporting association; a common prefix for European football clubs (for example A.S. Roma, A.S. Cannes)


American soccer league, is the first professional soccer league in the United States; it operated from 1921 until 1933


A pass in a football game which leads directly to a goal

Assistant referee

Either of the two flag-bearing officials positioned along the sideline; formerly called soccer linesman

Association football

The official name of football/soccer

Astro turf

A playing field made of artificial grass


(a) Player whose main responsibility is to score goals; (b) Any member of the team in offense 

Attacking half 

The half of the football field which contains the opposing team’s goal

Attacking midfielder

A midfielder in a more advanced position, whose task is to assist in scoring

Attacking team

The side which has possession of the ball

Attacking third

The third of the field where a team tries to score; in football strategies and tactics, the playing field is divided into three: the defensive third, the midfield, and the attacking third

Auto goal

A goal scored by a player in his own net, also know as “own goal” or “autogol” 


(a) A match played in the opponent’s stadium;

(b) A command given to a defender, telling him to kick the ball away from his goal

Away goal

A goal scored by a visiting team on the home team’s stadium

Away goals rule

A method of tie-breaking in soccer tournaments where teams play each other twice, once at each team’s home stadium. The away goals rule states that the team that has scored more goals away from home will win if scores are equal at the end of a stage


American Youth Soccer Organization, a non-profit group in the United States which provides nationwide training and development to children between 4 to 19 years of age


The nickname of the Turkish national football team