“La Falta” And Other Essential Spanish Fútbol Terms

01 December 2022
By Sarah Angela Almaden

Unsplash: Biblioteca Valenciana Nicolau Primitiu

Fútbol is the moment. And the athletes, the audience, the entire pitch, and everything else in-between are merely players. Actually, no that is incorrect because everything in fútbol is the moment. There is just so much happening on that large, green field, that even a flinch, a blink, or a sigh could cause you to miss something extraordinary. So when watching fútbol, just sit tight, let the current match win over you, and please don’t look away. Also, drink water because you could easily get dehydrated from all that clapping, cheering, chanting, screaming, and crying happening.

Association football, aka soccer and football, is known as fútbol in Spanish-speaking countries. And this very popular sport has grown to have a significant role in their culture and identity. In fact, a number of outstanding teams and exceptional athletes, with a strong global presence around the world, have come from Spanish-speaking countries. You could think that this is just a coincidence, but it's not because to them, fútbol is something like a religious activity, and it must be played with passion and care. Surely, you’ll know what this means once you immerse yourself in Spanish fútbol culture.

If you’re learning Spanish, it might be useful for you to learn some Spanish fútbol terms. This way, you can connect with Spanish speakers in a different way, and at the same time be exposed to some impassioned talks about this globalized sport. And what better way to keep the conversation flowing than understanding what people are talking about, eh? Vamos!

  • Football (Soccer) – Fútbol
  • The World Cup – La copa mundial de fútbol
  • Playing field – El terreno de juego
  • Football goal – La portería
  • Sideline – La Línea lateral
  • Top-goal scorer – El pichichi
  • Football team – El equipo de fútbol (Latin America), La selección (Spain)
  • Coach – El entrenador
  • Referee – El árbitro
  • Captain – El capitán
  • Midfielder – El centrocampista
  • Forward – El delantero
  • Soccer player – El futbolista
  • Reserve player – El jugador suplente
  • Goalkeeper – El guardameta, Portero (Spain), Arquero (Latin America)
  • Red card – La tarjeta roja
  • Yellow card – La tarjeta amarilla
  • Injured player – Un jugador lesionado
  • Foul – La falta
  • Corner kick – El saque de esquina, Córner
  • Penalty kick – Tiro penal (Spain), Penalti (Mexico)
  • Goal scorer – El goleador
  • Sportsmanship – A deportividad
  • Scoreboard – El Marcador
  • Goal – Gol
  • Head / header – Cabeza
  • Striker / forward – Delantero
  • Pitch / Field – Campo (Spain), Cancha (Latin America)
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