Soccer Definitions - F PDF Print E-mail

Abbreviation for Forward. RF is Right F, CF is Center F, LF is Left F, MF is Midfielder, FB is Fullback and SW is Sweeper. Right and Left are as you face the other team's goal. (See "Forwards" and "Formations").

Fair Charging
See "Shoulder Charge".

Far Forward
The Forward farthest from the ball.

Far Post
(aka "Back Post"). Refers to the part of the goal farthest from the ball (e.g., "run to the far post" or "cover the far post" or "set up off the far post").

Fast Break
aka "Breakaway". See "Breakaway" & "Counterattack".

Abbreviation for Fullback. (See "Fullbacks").

Field Player
All players except the goalkeeper. However, when the goalkeeper is outside of the Penalty Box he loses his special privileges & becomes a "field player" until he returns to the Penalty Box.

Field Size
FIFA's "Laws of the Game" are published annually and are the official rules. For current rules and field sizes, go to "Laws of the Game" at or check with your soccer association. The official field size can range from 50 to 100 yards wide by 100 to 130 yards long. However, the rules allow field sizes to be reduced for women, players with disabilities and for players under 16 and over 35 years of age. Field sizes used by youth leagues vary greatly.

(Pronounced "FEE-fuh"). The world soccer governing body. They publish the official rules, which are called the "Laws of the Game" and are revised annually. Go to for more information and a complete list of the latest rules which are called "Laws of the Game").

Fifty-Fifty Ball
A loose ball that either team has an equal chance of winning. Try to teach your players to win these balls. The team that wins these will usually win the game. The key is a quick first start & not being afraid of contact.

Final Third
(aka "Attacking Third"). See "Attacking Third".

Or Finishing, means to complete the attack by scoring (i.e., converting a scoring opportunity into a goal). If your team can't "finish", you may need to work on shooting or rebounding. Are your players shooting from too far away or without power? Are players in place to score on rebounds? Are they getting a lot of shots? Are your players taking shots? Are you getting the ball into the Penalty Box with Forwards in position to score? When near the goal are they shooting low & to the corner? (As an example, a few years ago we played a game where we had 11 shots but only scored 1 goal. The problem was that all of our shots were air balls toward the center of the goal & the goalkeeper caught them. If we had shot grounders to the corner we would have scored 5 or 6 more goals). Teach your players to shoot low to the corners when inside the Penalty Box & that accuracy is more important than power. Quick, aggressive players are usually good finishers.

First Attacker
(aka "Onball Attacker"). The "First Attacker" is the player with the ball. The terms "First Attacker", "Second Attacker", and "Third Attacker" are useful in teaching your "Attacking Plan". You may want to teach that there should always be a First, Second, and Third Attacker and what their jobs are. The First Attacker's job is to "penetrate" (i.e., attack the goal) by passing, dribbling or "centering" the ball to a space in front of the goal. When one of your players has the ball, there must always be at least one Second Attacker who is close enough for a pass. (This is called "Support"). For example, if your LF is attacking down the left side on the opponent's half of the field, the LMF should "trail" her as a Second Attacker, stay a pass away, and be ready for a "Back Pass", while the other Forward should run toward the "Near Post" as another Second Attacker and the other MF should run foward the "Far Post" as the Third Attacker, to be ready for a "Cross" or a "Rebound". The Second and Third Attackers should stay 3 steps behind the ball so they won't be offside and can run onto the Cross. There can be more than one Second Attacker (which is defined as a supporting attacker within a pass of the ball). You must have Second and Third Attackers to have an effective attack. You can define Second Attackers as those within a short to medium passing distance and Third Attackers as those in scoring position or running with the attack but a long pass away from the First Attacker.

First Post
(aka "Near Post"). See "Near Post".

First Time Ball
(aka "One Touch"). See "One Touch".

First Touch
(aka "One Touch" or "First-Time Ball"). Refers to the first touch by a player as a shot or a pass. "He has a great First Touch". See "One Touch".

Flat Back
Refers to Flat Back 3 or Flat Back 4, which are types of "Zone Defenses". See "Flat Defense" and "Zone Defense".

Flat Defense
(aka "Square Defense"). A defense that is straight across the field, parallel to the end line. A flat defense has no "depth" & is vulnerable to "through balls", but can "offside trap". (See "Depth", "Support", "Through Balls", "Zone Defense" & "Offside Trap").

Flat Pass
(aka "Square Pass"). See "Square Pass".

Flick Header
A header that redirects the ball in a ricochet fashion. Instead of a forceful strike, the head is used to change the direction of the ball. This is usually done with the side or top of the head & not the forehead.

Flick Pass
(aka "Forward-Foot Pass") A pass made with the outside of the foot & without a backswing (also called passing with the "Forward-Foot"). This is a quickly made & deceptive pass mostly used when attacking near the goal. It can be especially effective when dribbling with the inside of the foot & suddenly using the outside of the same foot to make a "flick pass". This is an important pass to teach.

Flow of Play
(aka "Run of Play"). This phrase usually is used to describe goals or shots occurring in the "flow of play" as opposed to a Penalty Kick or in a "Shoot-Out".

Refers to the ground, as opposed to the air. For example, "Keep the ball on the floor".

Foot Skills
Foot Skills fall into 3 categories: Dribbling, Turns and Feints (obviously there is overlap here). The primary methods of turning are the "Pullback", the "Cutback" and the "Hook". Some important Feints are the "Scissors", the "Cruyff Move", the "Fake Kick", the "Matthews Move" and the "Change of Speed". These are defined herein and in "Techniques and Fancy Footwork" which is part of the Premium site.

(abb. "F") Primary scorers who play closest to the other team's goal. The Right Forward ("RF") is the one on the right facing the other teams goal; LF is on the left, & CF is center. Most formations will have 2 or 3 forwards. Teach your forwards to be aggressive and opportunistic. They must fight to win the ball. (See "Formations", "Positions", "Striker" & "Wing").

Forward Foot Pass
(aka "Flick Pass" & pass with the Forward Foot). A pass made with the outside-of-foot without a backswing. This is a quickly made & deceptive pass that is very useful for short passes in the attacking end or near the other team's goal. This can be especially effective when dribbling with the inside of the foot & suddenly using the outside of the same foot to make a "flick pass". (See "Flick Pass").

There are 2 kinds of fouls, Direct Kick Fouls & Indirect Kick Fouls. (Rules are called "Laws Of The Game" and are changed each year. Go to for current rules.
(1) Direct Kick Fouls - For which the other team receives a "direct free kick" (meaning a goal can be scored by kicking the ball straight into the goal) or a "penalty kick" ("PK") if the foul occurs within the Penalty Box (Note: It doesn't matter whether the ball was in the Penalty Box or not; what matters is where the foul was committed).
(2) Indirect Kick Fouls - For which the other team receives an "indirect free kick" (meaning a goal only counts if another player touches the ball before it enters the goal). There are 2 types of indirect kick fouls:
Advantage Clause. This rule states that the Referee, in his discretion, may decide to not stop play due to a foul if it would be to the advantage to the fouled team to not stop play (i.e., The concept is that the team that was fouled should not be punished by having an attack stopped which might result in a goal and, conversely, that the team which committed the foul should not gain an advantage as a result of the foul). (See "Advantage Clause").

Free Kick
When one team is penalized, the other usually gets a "free kick". There are 2 types of free kicks (direct & indirect) and a special type of Direct Free Kick called a Penalty Kick:
Direct Free Kick - Where a goal may be scored by kicking the ball directly into the opponent's goal without anyone else touching it (although it still counts if someone else does touch it).
Indirect Free Kick - On which a goal may be scored only if another player touches the ball before it enters the goal. Question: "How do you know if a free kick is indirect?" Answer: "The referee will raise his arm above his head and leave it up until the ball is kicked". On an indirect kick you should have one player gently tap the ball so another player standing behind the ball can kick it; or pass it to someone who shoots it. If on an Indirect Free Kick the ball is kicked into the goal without anyone else touching it (other than the kicker) the goal does not count and the other team is awarded a goal kick. However, if the ball is touched by a player on either team, including the goalkeeper, before it goes into the goal, the goal counts.
Penalty Kick - When a player commits a foul within his own Penalty Box, which would normally result in a Direct Free Kick, the other team is given a Penalty Kick ("PK"). (See "Penalty Kick").
On Direct & Indirect Free Kicks, defenders must stay away from the kicker (6 yards if U-8, 8 yards if U-10 & 10 yards for U-12 & older) until a player on the kicking team moves the ball, if they don't they can receive a yellow card. On Penalty Kicks, everyone but the kicker & goalkeeper must stay out of the Penalty Box until the kicker moves the ball. (See "Fouls", "Hand Ball", "Cards", "Offside Rule", & "Penalty Kick".

An exhibition game or a teaching scrimmage. In recreational soccer, all games should be "friendlies".

(abb. "FB"). (aka Backs and Defenders). Defenders who play closest to their own goal. The Left & Right are as you face the other teams goal. In diagrams the Left Fullbacks will be designated "LFB", center as "CFB" & right as "RFB". In Britain, they sometimes use the term full-back to refer to the right and left back, as opposed to the center back(s).

A term used to describe the way in which defenders retreat toward their goal so they become more concentrated as they get closer to the goal. (e.g., "Funnel back toward the goal"). I think "First Defender/Second Defender" & "shift & sag" better describe what you want to happen. (See "First Defender" and "Shift & Sag").

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