Football Guide

Football Glossary, Letter C

Football terms alphabetical index


Confederation of African Football, the highest governing body of football in the continent of Africa; equivalent to the UEFA in Europe and the CONMEBOL in South America


The Italian word for football/soccer

Campionato Mondiale

Italian for the World Cup


The participation of a player in an international match, whether as a starter or substitute: one cap equals one international appearance; the term’s origin is from the United Kingdom, where players used to be given a cap for every international game they play


The number of spectators a stadium can accommodate; currently, the biggest football stadium is Phelan May Day Stadium in North Korea with a capacity of 150,000


The title or designation given to the season’s top scorer in the Italian Serie A


A player assigned to be the official leader of a team, recognizable by an armband; he is often the most capped or most experienced member of a team


Equipments for a football referee used to punish unsportsmanlike behavior

Caretaker manager

A person temporarily assigned to manage a team after its regular manager has been fired or has resigned


The nickname of the Brazilian national football team


A hyper-defensive style of playing which originated in Italy: catenaccio calcio literally translates as “door bolt football”

Caught in possession

An expression in football: a player who is “caught in possession” is someone who loses the ball to an opponent

Caught square

When a pass beats two defenders because they were standing side by side each other, they are said to be “caught square”


(a) A warning given by a football referee to a player who repeatedly violates the game rules;
(b) An alternative term for the first yellow card given to a player during a match: one yellow card in football warns a player for unruly behavior, the second ejects him from the game

(La) Celeste

Literally translates as (the) Sky Blue, nickname of the Uruguay national football team


The middle part of the football field  that runs vertically

Center circle

The big circle on the middle most part of the football pitch 

Center half

A defender positioned at the center; also called center back, central defender

Center line

The horizontal line on the middle part of the football field

Center midfielder

A midfield player whose primary task is to defend and break opponents’ attacks at the middle 

Center spot

The bold dot in the middle of the center circle, where the ball is placed during the kickoff of a soccer game


The defensive player positioned in the middle of the defensive line, in between the fullbacks 

Central defender

Alternate term for the center back, the players positioned at middle of the defensive line


An attempt by a defender to take the ball away from an attacker

Champions League

A yearly football competition for the top clubs in Europe, widely regarded as the most prestigious club tournament in the whole world

Championship Manager

A soccer video game first released in 1992, considered as the most popular in the world 

Champs League

A short reference to the Champions League, the most prestigious club tournament in Europe and, arguably, the whole world


(a) The area near the touchline where fullbacks and wingers typically play;
(b) the passing lane, the line that a ball takes during a pass


A shoulder-to-shoulder contact, made by a defender to steal possession from an attacker or by a player to get advantage over an opponent during a loose ball  


To ask for the ball by communicating with a teammate and getting into good position

Chess Players

The nickname of the Croatian football team, derived from their checkered uniform


To control a ball in flight with the use of the chest

Chest trap

The act of using one’s chest to slow down and control a ball in flight


The bicycle kick, as it is called in Latin America

Chip pass

A pass that gets the ball high in the air

Chip shot

A shot made with the ball high in the air, usually made to avoid a tackle or put the ball beyond the goalkeeper's reach


An alternative term for a football match

(El) Clasico

The rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona, the two most popular clubs in Spain: one of the most-watched sporting events in the world 

Classic result

An endgame result of 3-0, considered as a classic display of superiority in football


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

Clean sheet

If a goalkeeper does not allow a goal until the end of the match, he is said to have kept a “clean sheet”


To kick the ball away from one’s goal


A special type of shoe designed for playing football: there are different types of football cleats for kids, men, and women

Clockwork Orange

The nickname of the Dutch football team of the 1970s, renowned for introducing an attacking strategy called Total Football; derived from their orange uniform and the execution of offense, which is as consistent as the movement of a clock

Close down

To put pressure on an attacker or the attacking team in order to limit passing and shooting options


a football team that plays in a league: examples of clubs are Manchester United in England and Real Madrid in Spain; often used to avoid confusion with a “team”, which typically connotes a national team


(a) The person who runs the training and fitness sessions of a club;
(b) Alternate term for the manager, the person who makes tactical decisions on the field

Coerver coaching method

A way of teaching football skills that involves watching the films of great football players and breaking their moves into a number of steps which learners would follow one by one; named after famous Dutch coach Wiel Coerver 

Combination play

A play which involves two or more basic moves in football

Commemorative match

A game played to honor a historic event in football

Compress the field

A defensive command which tells players to go close to a dribbler to limit his passing and dribbling options


Stands for Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football: the governing body of football for South and Central America and the Caribbean 

Conditioned play

A training condition where artificial restrictions are placed, such as cones, so players are forced to perform a specific skill, technique, or tactic

Confederations Cup

A football tournament competed by national teams every four years: organized by FIFA, the Confederations Cup pits each continent’s champion plus the current World Cup champion and host nation 


Stands for Confederação Sul-Americana de Futebol: the governing body of football in the South American continents 

Consolation match

The match for third and fourth place in the FIFA World Cup


To stay in front of an enemy without attempting to steal the ball from him; also called jockeying

Copa América

The highest international competition in South America held ever four years; played among the 10 members of CONMEBOL plus two guest nations: the United States and Mexico have been constant participants since 1993


A beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: the venue of the biggest beach soccer tournaments 

Corner arc

A white arc drawn at each corner part of the soccer field

Corner ball

Alternate term for the corner kick in football, a free kick made by an attacker if the ball goes over the goal line and a defender was the last to touch it 

Corner flag

The flag at each of the four corners of a football pitch

Corner kick

A kick made by an attacker if the ball goes over the goal line and a defender was the last to touch it. See corner kick rule.

Corridor of Uncertainty

A cross or pass that travels between the goalkeeper and the last defender; called such because it is uncertain which of the player will play the ball and which one will leave it to the other 


To attack quickly right after retrieving the ball in defense 


(a) To support a teammate marking an attacker by going behind or beside him;
(b) The second or third players who mark the same attacker

Creating space

A player creates space for his attacking teammate if he moves away from the ball and makes the defending players follow him


A ball kicked from the side of the field aimed at a teammate in or near the penalty area 


The horizontal bar on top of the goal which connects the two goalposts, also called simply the bar

Cruyff turn

A dribbling move in which a player fakes a shot or long pass before making a 180-degree turn; named after Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff


Literally means dead-end in French, used to describe a player who carries the ball to a part of the field where it can have little effect on the game


A term used to describe a player who can no longer play in a cup competition after transferring from another club during that same season; a player can only play for one team during an entire cup’s length

Curled ball

Alternate term for a curved ball, a ball kicked so that it takes a bent or curved path 

Curved ball

A ball that takes a bent or curved path after kicking

Cut down the angle

A phrase used to describe a goalkeeper’s move in which he goes near an attacking player to limit the angle that he can shoot at the goal