27 Idioms for Soccer + Quiz


While you might think of it as a game with a ball and two teams, there’s a whole world of idioms associated with soccer that can help you understand the sport on a deeper level.

In this listicle, we’ll kick around some common soccer idioms, explain what they mean, and show you how they are used in everyday language.

idioms for soccer

What is an idiom for soccer?

Idioms are expressions that go beyond the literal meanings of words. They use figurative language to convey ideas or emotions, often in a creative or colorful way.

Soccer, being a global sport, has its fair share of idioms that have made their way into everyday language.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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What is a simile?

2 / 20

Identify the simile in the following sentence: “She swims like a fish.”

3 / 20

What is a metaphor?

4 / 20

Which of the following is a metaphor?

5 / 20

What is an idiom?

6 / 20

What does the idiom “break the ice” mean?

7 / 20

What is an adjective?

8 / 20

Choose the adjective in the following sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

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What is an abbreviation?

10 / 20

What does the abbreviation “e.g.” stand for?

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What is a verb?

12 / 20

Identify the verb in the following sentence: “The cat sleeps on the sofa.”

13 / 20

“Out of the frying pan into the fire” is an example of:

14 / 20

Which of the following is an adjective?

15 / 20

The abbreviation “NASA” stands for:

16 / 20

Choose the metaphor in the following sentence: “Time is a thief.”

17 / 20

What does the idiom “hit the books” mean?

18 / 20

Which of the following sentences contains a simile?

19 / 20

“LOL” is an abbreviation for:

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Identify the verb in this sentence: “They whispered secrets into the night.”

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Let’s explore some of these idioms and understand their meanings:

IdiomMeaningExample Sentence
Kick the ball aroundTo casually play soccer or engage in a relaxed game.After work, we like to gather in the park and kick the ball around for fun.
A level playing fieldA situation where everyone has an equal opportunity and chances are fair.In this company, promotions are based on merit, creating a level playing field for all employees.
Play ballTo cooperate or participate in a situation.The two teams decided to play ball and work together to organize the charity event.
Keep your eye on the ballTo stay focused on the task at hand and not get distracted.If you want to succeed in school, you need to keep your eye on the ball and study regularly.
Pass the buckTo shift responsibility or blame to someone else.Instead of admitting his mistake, he tried to pass the buck to his colleague.
Score an own goalTo unintentionally harm your own interests or team.By missing the important meeting, he scored an own goal for his career.
Offside trapA defensive strategy where players move forward together to catch opponents in an offside position.The team successfully executed the offside trap, preventing the opponents from scoring.
Red cardA card shown to a player as a penalty for a serious foul or misconduct, resulting in ejection from the game.The referee had no choice but to show a red card to the player who committed the dangerous tackle.
Yellow cardA card shown to a player as a warning for a less severe foul or misconduct.After the late tackle, the referee issued a yellow card, cautioning the player.
Hometown advantageWhen a team performs better in their home environment due to familiarity and support from local fans.The team’s strong performance at their home stadium was a result of the hometown advantage.
Hat-trickWhen a player scores three goals in a single game.The striker’s incredible hat-trick secured the team’s victory.
Play by the rulesTo follow the established guidelines and not cheat or take shortcuts.In this competition, it’s essential to play by the rules to maintain fairness.
Blow the whistleTo signal the end of a game or activity, often used metaphorically.After the final presentation, the boss will blow the whistle, and we can all go home.
Corner kickA type of free kick taken from the corner of the field.The team had a corner kick opportunity to score a goal.
Kick offTo start a game or event.The referee will blow the whistle to kick off the match.
Foul playUnfair or dishonest behavior, often used in a non-soccer context.The investigation revealed evidence of foul play in the financial transactions.
Ball is in your courtIt’s your turn to take action or make a decision.I’ve done my part; now the ball is in your court to decide.
Play for keepsTo take a situation seriously, with permanent consequences.This job interview is not a practice round; we’re playing for keeps.
Go for goalTo attempt to score a goal, often used metaphorically.In this project, we need to go for goal and achieve our objectives.
On the back footIn a defensive or disadvantageous position.After losing the key client, the company is on the back foot in the market.
Call the shotsTo be in charge and make decisions.In our group project, Sarah likes to call the shots and lead the team.
Put the boot inTo criticize or attack someone, often harshly.Instead of offering help, he chose to put the boot in and blame her for the mistake.
Play second fiddleTo have a less important or influential role.Although she’s talented, she’s always played second fiddle to her more successful sibling.
The beautiful gameA nickname for soccer due to its elegance and global appeal.Many around the world refer to soccer as “the beautiful game.”
The final whistleThe end of a game or event.With the final whistle, the championship match concluded, and the winners celebrated.
Park the busA defensive strategy where a team focuses on defending with many players near their own goal.With a one-goal lead, the team decided to park the bus to secure the victory.
Goalmouth scrambleA chaotic situation in front of the goal when players struggle to score or defend.The last-minute goalmouth scramble resulted in a dramatic equalizer.

Playing soccer is like a symphony of swift feet and a goal that’s the crescendo of teamwork. If you want more comparisons to describe soccer, you can find them at this link: Similes for soccer. And for a variety of metaphors related to soccer, you can explore this link: Metaphors for soccer.

Idioms for Soccer

1. Kick the ball around

Meaning: To casually play soccer or engage in a relaxed game.
In a Sentence: After work, we like to gather in the park and kick the ball around for fun.

2. A level playing field

Meaning: A situation where everyone has an equal opportunity and chances are fair.
In a Sentence: In this company, promotions are based on merit, creating a level playing field for all employees.

3. Play ball

Meaning: To cooperate or participate in a situation.
In a Sentence: The two teams decided to play ball and work together to organize the charity event.

4. Keep your eye on the ball

Meaning: To stay focused on the task at hand and not get distracted.
In a Sentence: If you want to succeed in school, you need to keep your eye on the ball and study regularly.

5. Pass the buck

Meaning: To shift responsibility or blame to someone else.
In a Sentence: Instead of admitting his mistake, he tried to pass the buck to his colleague.

6. Score an own goal

Meaning: To unintentionally harm your own interests or team.
In a Sentence: By missing the important meeting, he scored an own goal for his career.

7. Offside trap

Meaning: A defensive strategy where players move forward together to catch opponents in an offside position.
In a Sentence: The team successfully executed the offside trap, preventing the opponents from scoring.

8. Red card

Meaning: A card shown to a player as a penalty for a serious foul or misconduct, resulting in ejection from the game.
In a Sentence: The referee had no choice but to show a red card to the player who committed the dangerous tackle.

9. Yellow card

Meaning: A card shown to a player as a warning for a less severe foul or misconduct.
In a Sentence: After the late tackle, the referee issued a yellow card, cautioning the player.

10. Hometown advantage

Meaning: When a team performs better in their home environment due to familiarity and support from local fans.
In a Sentence: The team’s strong performance at their home stadium was a result of the hometown advantage.

11. Hat-trick

Meaning: When a player scores three goals in a single game.
In a Sentence: The striker’s incredible hat-trick secured the team’s victory.

12. Play by the rules

Meaning: To follow the established guidelines and not cheat or take shortcuts.
In a Sentence: In this competition, it’s essential to play by the rules to maintain fairness.

13. Blow the whistle

Meaning: To signal the end of a game or activity, often used metaphorically.
In a Sentence: After the final presentation, the boss will blow the whistle, and we can all go home.

14. Corner kick

Meaning: A type of free kick taken from the corner of the field.
In a Sentence: The team had a corner kick opportunity to score a goal.

15. Kick off

Meaning: To start a game or event.
In a Sentence: The referee will blow the whistle to kick off the match.

16. Foul play

Meaning: Unfair or dishonest behavior, often used in a non-soccer context.
In a Sentence: The investigation revealed evidence of foul play in the financial transactions.

17. Ball is in your court

Meaning: It’s your turn to take action or make a decision.
In a Sentence: I’ve done my part; now the ball is in your court to decide.

18. Play for keeps

Meaning: To take a situation seriously, with permanent consequences.
In a Sentence: This job interview is not a practice round; we’re playing for keeps.

19. Go for goal

Meaning: To attempt to score a goal, often used metaphorically.
In a Sentence: In this project, we need to go for goal and achieve our objectives.

20. On the back foot

Meaning: In a defensive or disadvantageous position.
In a Sentence: After losing the key client, the company is on the back foot in the market.

21. Call the shots

Meaning: To be in charge and make decisions.
In a Sentence: In our group project, Sarah likes to call the shots and lead the team.

22. Put the boot in

Meaning: To criticize or attack someone, often harshly.
In a Sentence: Instead of offering help, he chose to put the boot in and blame her for the mistake.

23. Play second fiddle

Meaning: To have a less important or influential role.
In a Sentence: Although she’s talented, she’s always played second fiddle to her more successful sibling.

24. The beautiful game

Meaning: A nickname for soccer due to its elegance and global appeal.
In a Sentence: Many around the world refer to soccer as “the beautiful game.”

25. The final whistle

Meaning: The end of a game or event.
In a Sentence: With the final whistle, the championship match concluded, and the winners celebrated.

26. Park the bus

Meaning: A defensive strategy where a team focuses on defending with many players near their own goal.
In a Sentence: With a one-goal lead, the team decided to park the bus to secure the victory.

27. Goalmouth scramble

Meaning: A chaotic situation in front of the goal when players struggle to score or defend.
In a Sentence: The last-minute goalmouth scramble resulted in a dramatic equalizer.

Quizzes About The Idioms in The Article

Quiz 1:

Question: What does the idiom “Play ball” mean?

  1. To engage in a soccer match.
  2. To cooperate or participate in a situation.
  3. To play with a ball.

Answer: 2. To cooperate or participate in a situation.


Quiz 2:

Question: What does the expression “Score an own goal” imply?

  1. Scoring a goal in your opponent’s net.
  2. To unintentionally harm your own interests or team.
  3. Scoring a hat-trick.

Answer: 2. To unintentionally harm your own interests or team.


Quiz 3:

Question: What is the meaning of the soccer idiom “Yellow card”?

  1. A card shown to a player as a penalty for a serious foul.
  2. A card shown to a player for scoring a goal.
  3. A card shown to a player as a warning for a less severe foul or misconduct.

Answer: 3. A card shown to a player as a warning for a less severe foul or misconduct.


Quiz 4:

Question: What does the idiom “Blow the whistle” signify?

  1. To celebrate a goal in soccer.
  2. To signal the end of a game or activity.
  3. To request a substitution.

Answer: 2. To signal the end of a game or activity.


Quiz 5:

Question: What does the expression “Hometown advantage” refer to?

  1. When a team performs better in their home environment.
  2. A strategy used in soccer to score more goals.
  3. When a team brings its own fans to an away game.

Answer: 1. When a team performs better in their home environment.


Quiz 6:

Question: What is the meaning of the idiom “Put the boot in”?

  1. To tie your shoelaces.
  2. To criticize or attack someone, often harshly.
  3. To encourage your team.

Answer: 2. To criticize or attack someone, often harshly.


Quiz 7:

Question: What does “Play by the rules” signify?

  1. To break the established guidelines.
  2. To follow the established guidelines and not cheat or take shortcuts.
  3. To make up your own rules.

Answer: 2. To follow the established guidelines and not cheat or take shortcuts.


Quiz 8:

Question: When is the idiom “Go for goal” typically used?

  1. To attempt to score a goal.
  2. To defend against an opponent’s attack.
  3. To pass the ball to a teammate.

Answer: 1. To attempt to score a goal.


Quiz 9:

Question: What does the soccer idiom “Call the shots” mean?

  1. To make important decisions.
  2. To criticize the referee’s decisions.
  3. To celebrate a goal.

Answer: 1. To make important decisions.


Quiz 10:

Question: What does “Play second fiddle” imply?

  1. To be the star player of the team.
  2. To have a less important or influential role.
  3. To play a musical instrument.

Answer: 2. To have a less important or influential role.

Conclusion

Soccer isn’t just a sport; it’s a source of inspiration for idioms that have found their way into everyday language. These expressions offer colorful ways to describe various situations and actions.

Cite this entry:

Phrasesdirectory.com. “,” Retrieved from Phrases Directory – Accessed

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