Soccer Definitions - D PDF Print E-mail

The "Penalty Box Arc" is called the "D" because it looks like a D. (See "Penalty Box Arc").

Danger Zone
(aka Scoring Zone and Danger Area). The area extending out from the goal in which most shots occur that actually score. The size of this depends on the player's age. Generally, most goals are scored in the "center", so it is much safer to clear the ball to the side than down the center. (See "Attacking Third" and "Where...From?").

Dangerous Attackers
(aka Most Dangerous Attackers). Any attacker who is in scoring position is a "Dangerous Attacker" & should be marked goalside & ballside by a defender. This is especially true of attackers who are near the goal on corner kicks or free kicks. This is important & you should start to teach this by age 10. (You can still teach this as part of a zone defense). An attacker who is in front of your goal & inside the Penalty Box is more dangerous than one who is toward the side line or outside the Penalty Box & should be marked closely (e.g., within 2 steps). The player with the ball is not necessarily the "Most Dangerous". For example, if the ballhandler is outside of scoring range, it is best to guard him loosely & watch for a mistake, because if the defender gets too close the ballhandler may be able to get past him & become dangerous.

Dangerous Play
Any action by a player that is unsafe to him or another player, in the judgment of the referee. When contact is made, the referee will consider whether it was "careless, reckless or there was excessive force". The penalty for some types of dangerous actions such as tripping is a direct kick, but for others such as a high kick the penalty is an indirect free kick. (See "Fouls" and "Cards").

Slang for the Cards the Referee carries; e.g., "He's pulling out the deck a lot today". (See "Cards" and "Booking").

Decoy Run
(aka "Dummy Run"). See "Dummy Run".

The term defenders usually refers to the Fullbacks or to the players who are defending the goal that is under attack. Midfielders, for example, also often drop back to defend. In a broader sense, when your team loses the ball, the players closest to the ball should try to steal it back. In this case even the Forwards might be defenders. (See "Fullbacks").

Defending Deep
Defending Deep is the opposite of "Defending To Win" and refers to leaving your Fullbacks deep on your half of the field. The primary reason for this would be if the other team's forwards have more speed than your Fullbacks. Another reason might be if you don't have subs and leave your FB's deep to reduce their running and conserve their energy. (See "Defending To Win", "Formations" and "Push Up").

Defending Third
The 1/3 of the field containing your goal. (See "Attacking Third" & "Middle Third").

Defending to Win
Refers to aggressively pushing up the Fullbacks & even the goalkeeper to support the attack & to "press" if the ball is turned over to the other team with the objective of recovering the ball on the other team's half of the field. This is quite different from a cautious defense that doesn't aggressively push up or get the FB's involved in the attack. The opposite of "Defending Deep". (See "Attacking" & "Push Up").

Defensive Midfielders
(Abbreviated as "DMF's"). See "Formations" and "Midfielders".

Deliver the Ball
This refers to completing a pass, especially a pass that creates a scoring opportunity. (e.g., "He delivered a great ball"). (See "Create" & "Assist").

Depth on defense means having several defenders (ideally, multiple layers of defenders) spaced between the ball & the goal who are in a position to "recover" in time to stop an attack on their goal. This and First Defender/Second Defender are the most important defensive concepts. Depth is the opposite of a "flat" defense. Depth in attack means having support to the rear so the ball can be passed back or "dropped". (See "Support", "Through Balls", "Defending Deep", "Zone Defense", "Flat Defense" & "Cover").

Diagonal throuth Ball
A "through ball" that is played diagonally instead of straight ahead. If from far out, it might be played toward the far corner. This can be very effective because it is difficult for defenders to handle. This is for U-11 & up. (See "Through Ball", "Pass To Space", "Push Up" and "Stretch The Field").

Direct Attack
To quickly move the ball forward toward the other teams goal by passing or dribbling; as opposed to a slow "indirect attack" which uses a lot of backward or sideways ("square") passes while searching for a weakness in the defense. Unless your team has excellent passing ability, a direct attack will be more effective. (See "Counterattack", "Attacking", "Possession Style", "Styles of Play", & "Creating Space").

Direct Kick
A type of "free kick" given after severe fouls such as hitting or kicking. On a direct kick, a goal can be scored by kicking the ball into the goal without it first touching another player. (See "Free Kick" & "Fouls").

Direct Kick Foul
See "Fouls".

Goalkeepers "distribute" the ball by kicking, punting or throwing it. Once they pick up the ball, they have six seconds to punt it or release it. They can pick it up, run with it and then punt it, throw it or drop it and dribble it or kick it. (However, they cannot touch it with their hands outside the "Penalty Box" and once they drop it they can't touch it again with their hands until an opponent has touched it). They can also put it down on the ground and dribble it outside the Penalty Box like a "field player". (See "How To Teach Goalkeeping" in SoccerHelp Premium, "Punting", "Sidearm Throw" & "Goalkeeper").

Abbreviation for Defensive Midfielder.

Drag Back
(aka "Pullback"). See "Pullback".

Drag the Ball
To keep the ball on one foot or very close to the foot so you are moving slowly & "dragging" the ball. This is done in conjunction with a player using his body to shield the ball from a defender & "dragging" the ball with the foot farthest from the defender, or as part of a feint where the player slows up & drags the ball & then either "pops" it past or fakes one way & flicks it the other way using the outside of his foot.

(aka Carrying) A player can dribble with any part of the foot. "Control dribbling" is usually with the inside or outside of the foot. "Speed dribbling" is often with the top of the foot (i.e., the "laces"). See "When To Dribble", "Control Dribbling, "Speed Dribbling" & "Pass To Yourself".

(aka Power Shot). A shot hit with the "laces". The foot does not go under the ball & the knee should be over the ball when struck with the head looking down (it is very important to keep the eyes on the ball until it is kicked; just like it is important to keep the eyes on a baseball, or a football when catching it or a golf ball when hitting it; if the head goes up too soon, it moves the hips) & a long follow through. Strike the ball halfway up. The shoulder on the same side of the body as the non-kicking foot should be pointing toward the goal before the shot & the shoulders will "square up" to the goal as the kicking foot follows through. (This rotation creates power). Unless the shot must go over a defender, a low shot is preferred because it is more difficult for the goalkeeper to block.

Refers to a ball left by the ballhandler for a trailing teammate (i.e., instead of passing backward, the ballhandler "drops" the ball & then makes a run, knowing his teammate is running onto the ball). Can also refer to a soft back pass that the trailer runs onto. This is an alternative to a back pass & is only used when the ballhandler is certain his teammate will get the ball if he drops it. (See "Trailer" & "Back Pass").

Drop Kick
A "half-volley" by a goalkeeper (he is the only one who can hold the ball to drop it). Adult goalkeepers sometimes do this instead of punting. This requires perfect timing & seems to me to have no advantages over punting, but there is a greater risk of a mis-kick. I think young goalkeepers should stick to punting or rolling the ball.

1. Any type of feint or deceptive move.
2. A "Dummy Run".
3. When a receiver intentionally allows a pass to roll through his legs to a teammate after pretending he was going to receive the pass or kick the ball.

Dummy Run
(aka "Decoy Run"). A run intended to distract defenders or to draw them away from the area you plan to attack in order to "create space" for a teammate. (See "Overlap", "Checking Off", "Hooking Run", "Diagonal Run" & "Crossover Run").

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