Spanish Sports vocabulary for playing football

Spanish Sports vocabulary for playing football

by Alison Maciejewski Cortez

Updated November 4, 2022

If the best way to learn Spanish is immersion, then the best way to immerse yourself in the Spanish language is to join a football team. As I’ve mentioned before, once upon a time I played for an amateur Czech football club while I lived in Prague. Thanks to kinaesthetic learning, I picked up Czech vocabulary much quicker than in the classroom. The same goes for Spanish. Whether it’s a beer league or a serious team, join up and connect with native Spanish speakers. Talk to them about their number one sport fútbol. This is vocabulary for playing football in Spanish.  

Basic Spanish vocabulary for football

When it comes to football, focus on colloquial usage. As you might guess, sports are not the domain of the prim and proper. For today’s lesson, we cover both formal and informal football terms in Spanish. Don’t forget to review your body parts in Spanish for a better understanding of Spanish football terms. 

  • pelota/balón – ball 
  • jugador/a – player
  • gol – goal
  • mano – hand-ball
  • cabeza – head/header
  • falta – foul
  • fuera de lugar – offside
  • tarjeta amarilla/roja – yellow/red card

Spanish vocabulary for football players

What’s better than an online Spanish lesson? How about watching a football match on the telly and calling it a study session? Go ahead. Here are Spanish vocabulary words used for football players and officials on the pitch. 

  • delantero – striker/forward
  • mediocampista/volante – midfielder
  • defensa/defensor – defender
  • árbitro – referee
  • línea – line/linesman

Spanish football vocabulary for different countries

What about the goalkeeper? Lingoda blog readers already know that Spanish vocabulary changes from country to country. This goes for football too. Just like Americans say ‘soccer’ and ‘field’ for football pitch, you will hear different words across the Spanish-speaking world

  • portero (Spain), arquero (Latin America), guardameta – goalkeeper 
  • la portería (Spain), el arco (Latin America), la meta – the goal (notice how they match up)
  • la selección (Spain),el equipo de fútbol (Latin America) – the football team (roster) 
  • campo (Spain), cancha (Latin America) – pitch/field
  • penalti (Mexico), tiro penal (Spain) – penalty kick
  • una chilena – bicycle kick (surely this is not what they call it in Chile, right?)

More Spanish vocabulary for the football pitch

If you learn Spanish at home, turn on a football match from Spain.  Spanish-speaking commentators will help you to soak up even more football words in Spanish. Here is more Spanish vocabulary for the pitch itself.  

  • el área grande/penal– big area (6-metre penalty zone)
  • el área chico – small area (goal box)
  • saque de esquina – corner kick
  • saque de banda – throw-in

Spanish phrases for on the pitch

Any footballer will tell you that communication on the pitch is important. Players talk (ok shout) to each other constantly. They need to know what’s going on and find the open space to play. Here are one-word or short phrases you will hear from teammates during a match. Remember, if you hear pelota or balón on the pitch, your teammate is asking for the ball. 

  • ahora – now
  • aquí/acá – here (pass it here)
  • otro lado – switch (play to the other side)
  • otra vez – again (another time)
  • así – just like that, good job
  • te llega – mark on/man on (literally: they are arriving to you)
  • estoy sola/o – I’m alone (free, no mark)
  • barrete – slide tackle
  • cambio – substitution/replacement
  • barrera – wall (defence during a direct kick)
  • bien – well-played, well-done

Spanish pronouns for football

In fast-paced sports situations like football, teammates have to share information in short phrases or words. This is when it comes in handy to have a solid understanding of Spanish direct and indirect object pronouns. Here is some Spanish pronoun usage for football. 

  • pásamela – pass me the ball  
  • róbasela – steal the ball
  • pegarle (al balón) – shoot (the ball)
  • se la perdió – she missed a sitter (a scoring chance)

From football terms to things you will hear on the pitch, this vocabulary lesson got you ready to join a real league. Training and matches will put you in unique immersion situations that will help your Spanish fluency take off. Whether it’s in your head or in real life, just imagine the incredible feeling of scoring a cabezazo beautiful header and hearing that classic Spanish-speaking commentator shouting for you: ¡GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLL!

Try out your football vocabulary with a native Spanish speaking tutor. Register for a 7-day free trial with Lingoda today. 

Related articles