Soccer Definitions - O PDF Print E-mail

See "Fouls, Indirect Kick, Impeding the Progress of an Opponent".

Off his Line
When the goalkeeper comes out of the goal (i.e., "off" the goal line between the goal posts) he is "off his line".

Off the Ball
Refers to players on the attacking team who do not have the ball (e.g., "movement off-the-ball"). In contrast, the player with the ball (the "ballhandler") is "onball". (See "Onball Attacker", "Movement Off-The-Ball" & "Creating Space").

Off the Ball Attacking
A style of play emphasizing "off-the-ball" movement as a way to "create space" & scoring opportunities. (See "Movement Off-The-Ball" & "Creating Space").

Off the Play
Refers to a player who is not directly involved in the play. For example, if one player passes to another, they are in the play, but their teammates are "off the play". This term can refer to players who are on offense & defense. (For example, see "Third Man Running").

(aka "Attacking"). See "Attacking", "Attacking Plan" & "Creating Space".

Offensive Midfielders
(Abbreviation is "OMF"). See "Formations".

Offside Rule Simplified
If "offside" is called in your age bracket, you can teach this simple version: You are not offside if you:
Are in your own half of the field (your half is the half your goalkeeper is on)
Are even with or behind the ball
Don't go past the "Second Last Defender" (The goalkeeper is usually, but not always, the last defender; this might be the case if the goalkeeper is out of goal).
Receive the ball direct from a goal kick, corner kick or throw-in. (But you can be offside if you receive it direct on a "free kick").
Are the ballhandler (the ballhandler can be closer to the goal than the ball if he has his back to the goal).
When my forwards "push up" without the ball, I tell them to stay 2 steps behind the Last Defender (not counting the goalkeeper) so they are less likely to be caught offside or to be accidentally called offside. (See "Played" & "Offside Rule, Detailed").

Offside Rule Detailed
What makes the offside rule especially complicated is that a player can be in an "offside position" without being offside. Two things are necessary to be "offside":
1st - The player must be in an "offside position" at the moment the ball is "played" by a teammate. To be in an "offside position", a player must be on the opponent's half of the field & closer to the opponent's goal line than both the ball & the second-last defender. A player is not in an offside position if he is on his own half of the field (i.e. the half his goalkeeper is on), or even with the second-to-last defender or the last 2 defenders. (The goalkeeper is usually the last defender, or one of the last two, but he might not be; the rules just refer to the last 2 defenders & don't mention the goalkeeper). This is often difficult to call. (For example, if a player is even with the Second Last Defender & thereby in an "onside position" but runs past the Second Last Defender a split second after his teammate makes a through pass. In this example, the player is not offside because he was in an onside position at the moment the ball was played.)
2nd - The player must be involved in "active play" by either:
gaining an advantage by being in an offside position, or
interfering with play, or
interfering with an opponent
For example, if a player is in an "offside position" but not involved in the play, he would not be "offside". This can be a tough call & can be very judgmental. For example, what if the "onball attacker" is to the right of the goal but a teammate is in an "offside position" to the left of the goal? You can argue that the teammate wasn't involved in the play, but you can also argue that he distracted the goalkeeper because the goalkeeper had to worry about the possibility of a crossing pass & therefore the attacking team "gained an advantage by being in an offside position", in which case the teammate was "offside". In this case, the Referee's decision might depend on whether he felt the Goalkeeper was influenced by the player in the offside position. Obviously, it is a very subjective decision.
I suggest this: don't argue with the referee over these calls. It's a very tough call and it's easy to miss these calls. (Even the best Linesmen in the world miss these calls). I suggest teaching your attackers to stay 2 steps behind the "Last Defender" and, if they don't have the ball but are running with a teammate who has the ball, to stay 3 steps behind the ball so they are less likely to be called offside. (The linesman's sight angle can sometimes make an attacker look like he's in an offside position when he's actually even with the Last Defender or with the ball).
Special Cases Where Offside Is Not Called: A player is not offside if he receives the ball directly from a goal kick, throw-in or corner kick, even if he is in an offside position; however, once touched, the offside rule starts and if it is then played to a player in an "offside position", offside may be called. (Note that the offside rule does apply on "free kicks"). A player is also not offside if he passes the ball backward, even if doing so leaves him in an "offside position". However, if he is in an offside position & the ball is played back to him (e.g., a wall pass), then he can be called offside.

Offside Trap
When defenders (often a "flat defense") intentionally move forward to try to "trap" an attacker who doesn't have the ball in an offside position. Don't try to teach this to youth teams; it is too complex. However, you can teach your team to stay 12-18 steps away from your goal when the other team has a Free Kick, which is a similar concept and will keep the attackers from scoring on headers or rebounds off the Free Kick. (Defenders must stay 10 yards from the ball on free kicks, so this will only work if the kick is from 20-30 yards out). Remember, the Offside Rule is in effect on Free Kicks. (See "Flat Defense" and "Offside Rule, Detailed").

Abbreviation for Offensive Midfielder. (See "Midfielders" & "Formations").

On his Line
Refers to the goalkeeper staying between the goal posts, as opposed to being "off his line". (See "Off His Line").

(aka "Onball Attacker" & "First Attacker"). Refers to the player with the ball, such as the "onball attacker". (See "First Attacker", "Second Attacker", "Third Attacker", "Off-The-Ball" & "Creating Space").

Onball Attacking
A style of play which relies on the ballhandler to create opportunities by dribbling to get open or dribbling to pull defenders away from receivers who the ballhandler then tries to pass the ball to. (See "Creating Space" & "Movement Off-The-Ball").

One Touch
(aka "First Touch" and "First-Time Ball"). When the ball is passed back without stopping it so it is touched only once it is called a one touch pass. If it is shot on the first touch, it is called a one touch shot. (See "Two Touch").

Open Space
(aka Space). Any part of the field where there isn't a defender, but especially in the area you are attacking (i.e., the area between the ball & the goal). Receivers should be watching for passes to "open space" & passes to open space should be made so the attacker has a better chance of winning the ball than the defender. (See "Pass To Space", "Creating Space", "Through Ball", "Leading Pass" & "Spread The Field").

Outside of Foot
The outside-of-the-foot can be used to pass, shoot, turn, reverse, dribble & control the ball. It is very important to encourage its use. (See "Flick Pass", "Hook Turn", & Outside- & Top-of-Foot Practice Games).

See "Banana Kick".

Overarm Throw
One of the ways a goalkeeper distributes the ball. The arm stays straight & power is from the shoulder. The throw is overarm (aka a "bowling" throw, as it is called in the game of Cricket) and not sidearm, to avoid sidespin. Not for very young players because their hand is too small to hold the ball & they often don't have shoulder strength. Even a "baseball throw" (aka "javelin throw") is difficult for young children.

Over the Top
"Over The Top" has 2 meanings:
1. It is most commonly used to mean a long lofted ball that is kicked deep by defenders toward the other team's goal. This is a "direct" attacking style of play (sometimes called a "long ball" style) where the objective is to get the ball away from your goal onto the other team's half of the field in hopes of gaining "territory" by winning the ball and creating a scoring opportunity. It is the opposite of a controlled, indirect, posssession type of play that relies on many short passes. (See "Long-Ball Game", "Direct Attack", "Attacking" & "Counterattack").
2. (aka Over The Ball). This phrase also refers to a dangerous tackle where a tackler's foot goes over the top of the ball & often cleats the ballhandler in the shin. A variation is when the defender raises his foot above the ball so that if the attacker kicks the ball he will be cleated. This is called "going over the ball".

Over Committing
Is when a defender rushes the ball or jumps into the air so that the ballhandler is able to get past him. It is better to stay on the ground, slow down the attack, wait for an opportunity & try to force the ballhandler to go toward the side line instead of to the middle.

Overlap and Overlapping Run
When one player moves out of position & past a teammate he "overlaps". Overlapping can be good or bad. For example, it could be good if a MF makes an "overlapping run" past a forward who has the ball (i.e., who is "onball") because the MF could either become a receiver or distract a defender. But it is usually bad if your defenders "overlap" very much because it means someone is out of position & you don't have coverage, depth or support.

Refers to having more players in a portion of the field than are normal. For example, you might overload the left side of the Penalty Box when you attack by shifting right side players over to the left side. This might yield a numerical advantage or if defenders are man-marking it might pull them out of position.

Own Goal
The term used for a goal accidentally scored by a team in its "own goal". Except in a few very unlikely cases, it counts as a goal for the other team, just as if they had scored it.

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