Football Guide

Football Glossary, Letter P

Football terms alphabetical index


A type of penalty made by kick the ball soft and over the goalkeepers head; also known as penalty chip; named after Czech international Antonin Panenka who was famous for leading his country to the 1976 European Championship title

Pass and move

An offensive soccer strategy where a players constantly pass the ball and move into different positions 


A move made up of numerous step-overs that confuses a defender


(a) A short reference to the penalty kick;
(b) The punishment given by a referee to an offending team

Penalty arc

The half-circle at the top of the penalty area, an attacker fouled in this spot will be awarded with a penalty kick

Penalty area

The big rectangular area at the end of each field where a goalkeeper can handle the ball legally: it measures 18 by 44 yards; also called the penalty box, 18-yard box, or box

Penalty kick

A kick awarded to a team if any of its players is fouled inside the opposing team’s penalty area

Penalty shootouts

A method of deciding a winner in a football match if the scores are still even after overtime; each member of both teams take turns at attempting to score a penalty shot

Penalty spot

The bold circle in front of the goal where the ball is placed during penalty kicks: it is 12 yards from the goal line

Penalty taker

The player assigned to take the penalty kick; this task is often relegated to the captain


An abbreviation which stands for “professional football club”


The top-scorer in a La Liga season; equivalent to the capocannoniere in Serie A


Sleeveless vests worn above the shirt during training sessions


Alternate term for the soccer field; also called field, field of play, turf


Abbreviation of penalty kick


The accuracy of a shot or pass: a well-placed pass or shot reaches its intended target

Play on

A term which means that a referee allows game to continue because he saw no foul or that he believes that stopping play would be advantageous to the offending team

Play on the break

Alternate term for counter-attacking football

Player of the Year

A short reference to the FIFA World Player of the Year, an individual award given to the player considered as the best for a given year; the winner is decided by votes from coaches and captains of international squads


A player who fulfills both playing and managing roles for a team: typically happens when the regular manager is sacked and the chairman refuses to manage the team


A player, typically a midfielder, who controls the tactical flow of his team


The series of games played to determine a championship

Points system

A method used in league competitions in which a team is awarded with points after each game; a win is worth three points, a draw is given one point, and a loss is given no point


The state of having the ball

Possession play

An offensive tactic where a team tries to maintain possession of the ball while getting nearer the opponents’ goal


A short reference to the goalposts

Preliminary match

A match that determines which team advances into the next stage of a tournament

Premier League

The highest football league competition in England, the biggest in the world with Serie A in Italy and La Liga in Spain


Alternate term for the Premier League


For defenders, to go closer to the man with the ball in order to distract him or limit his options

Primera Division

The top division in the football league system of Spain, more popularly known as La Liga

Professional Footballers Association

The association of professional soccer players in England and Wales

Professional foul

A foul made to prevent opponents from scoring: usually punishable by a red card


In many football-playing nations, the clubs are segregated into different “divisions”; the top levels are where the best teams play; a promotion simply means moving up from one division into a higher one; the opposite of promotion is relegation


A move for goalkeepers: to send the ball upfield by picking it up and kicking it

Push pass

To pass the ball using the inside of the foot, which appears like the player is pushing the ball


An offensive technique where a player gives the ball to a teammate then gets it back after going past the opposing defense; also called one-two or wall pass