Football Guide

Football Glossary, Letter S

Football terms alphabetical index


A goalkeeper makes a save when he prevents the ball from going into the goal

Scissors kick

Alternate term for bicycle kick, a move done by throwing one’s body in midair and striking the ball with the foot


A player who has made a goal during a match is a scorer

Scoring opportunity

A situation wherein a goal can likely be scored

Set piece

Any situation where a ball is brought back into play after stoppage; the throw-in, free kick, and corner are some of the set pieces in a soccer game; also called set play, dead ball

Set play

Happens when the ball is brought back into play after it goes out of bounds or after a foul is committed; also called set piece, dead ball


A technique where the player in possession puts his body in between the ball and the opponent

Shin guards

Protective pads worn inside the socks to protect the lower leg from injuries; also called shin pads

Shin pads

Protect gear worn in front of the lower legs, to protect them from injury; also called shin guards


An attempt to score a goal

Shoulder charge

A shoulder-to-shoulder contact made by a defender against an opponent to gain possession of the ball or disrupt his rhythm; it is legal when it is not too forceful or does not put the attacker at risk of injury; also called shoulder-to-shoulder


Happens when a team finishes a match without allowing the opponents to score

Seal dribble

A football move characterized by juggling the ball with the head to avoid being tackled

Second season syndrome

The tendency of a club to perform poorly two seasons after it is promoted to the highest division

Self goal

Alternate term for own goal, an accidental goal made by a player in his team’s goal


The second-to-the last stage in a tournament, typically competed by four teams, which decides who advances to the final

Sending off

When a player leaves the playing field after being given a red card

Serie A

The highest football league of Italy, equivalent to the Premier League in England and La Liga in Spain


Passes made to the strikers or forwards


To make an opponent with the ball go to a specific direction, usually into the way of a supporting defender; also called jockeying, steering

Shin splints

The most common injury of football players, characterized by pain at the lower legs


Short reference to the penalty shootout (Soccer penalty shootout), the method of deciding a match if the score is still tied at the end of extra time; each team is typically given five penalty shots during a shoot out

Short-passing game

An offensive football strategy in which players make numerous passes and constantly switch places

Shots off target

A statistic which denotes the number of shots that were unlikely to go in

Shots on target

A statistic which denotes the number of shots that had a good chance of going in


The lines on the side of the football field, also known as touchlines

Silky skills

Extravagant moves that require excellent dribbling or juggling skills


A pass situated so well that a teammate only has to touch slightly it to score a goal


A term used to describe a match between two teams of the same standing in league competitions; called such because a win is worth three points but winning that much is twice as important as other games 

Sliding tackle

An attempt to dispossess and opponent by sliding on ground towards the direction of the ball; illegal if the tackle hits the opponent’s legs first before the ball


The players located nearest to the opponents goal; in the modern football formation 5-3-2, the strikeforce are the “2” players; also called forward line, frontline


To go around an opponent by scooping the ball over his head; Spanish for “hat’

Square pass

A pass made to a teammate who is in the same horizontal level


Persons deployed during a soccer match to help in peace-keeping and prevent fans from getting into the field of play; they are distinguished because of luminous, neon-colored uniforms


(a) The player positioned at the middle of the defensive line, he is often the best defensive player of the team and leads the backline in defense; also called center back, central defender;
(b) A midfielder typically positioned in front of the defensive, whose primary task is to break the opponents’ attack

Stretching the play

Spreading the players farther from each other to give the attack more depth and width


A forward whose primary task is to score, often positioned nearest to the opponent’s goal; also called center-forward


The changing of players during a match; international competitions and professional leagues allow three substitutions

Sudden death penalties

During a penalty shootout, each team is given five shots. If the scores are tied after five tries, both teams will try to score again until one scores or misses


The rivalry between River Plate and Boca Juniors, two historic clubs from Buenos Aires, Argentina


The last defensive player who doesn’t mark anyone but remains free to cover up for any mistake that the defense may make

Switching play

To change the focal point of the attack