Finding Your Voice on the Soccer Field

Soccer: Finding Your Voice on the Field


Especially if you're new to soccer, it might be hard to pick up all the terms used for communicating with your teammates while you're on the field playing. However, knowing what they're saying and being able to communicate what you need or want on the field quickly is essential to finding success on the field.


Here are some terms that you'll hear on the field and what they mean:

  • Through: This is telling your teammate that you want the ball through the gap between defenders and ahead of you so you can run onto it.
  • One-Two/Wall Pass: This is telling your teammate that they should give you the ball and you'll give it right back to them. Usually, this is a great move to use to get around a defender (essentially making it 2v1).
  • Overlap: When one teammate has the ball, you would sprint them and this is letting them know that you're coming from behind them and they should play the ball in the space to the left or right of them for you.
  • Drop: This means that whoever has the ball can pass it backward or (back in the direction of their own ball). This is usually when there are no better options going forward. You can also use this term to communicate to your teammates that they need to drop back defensively as a team.
  • Ball/I’m open/Got me: These can vary quite differently from one term to another because there are so many ways that you can get your teammate’s attention that you want the ball or that you're open to receive the ball.
  • You got time/Time: When a teammate receives the ball, use this to tell them they don't have any opponents near them.
  • Turn: Another term to tell your teammate that they have time, this term can literally tell them to turn—that they have space and no immediate pressure to do so.
  • Man-On: Quite literally the opposite of the last two terms, this means that there is an opponent on their back or coming up to them.
  • Keeper/Goalie: Normally, when a keeper is going for the ball—especially if it’s up in the air, they will shout this to let their own teammates to know they've got the ball covered and to shield the attackers away from the ball and back off. It also can serve as scaring the opponents off the ball.
  • Leave/Mine: Especially if there are two teammates going for the same ball, this term is useful to dictate that the person saying it will then take the ball so there’s no confusion. You can also use this term if your teammate is going for the ball and they have a defender on them. You want them to dummy it (let it go through to you), which will confuse your opponents.
  • To Feet: Rather than leading you with a pass into the space in front of you, this dictates to your teammate that you want the ball directly to you.
  • Switch: Either switch players, places, or have the ball switch to the other side of the field.
  • Mark her/him: Letting your teammate know that an opposing player is open near them (can be indicated by use of jersey number).
  • Goal side: Especially on goal opportunities for the other team, this is getting in between the opposing player and your defending goal.


Written By: Adriana Rodrigues is a professional soccer player and a coach. She has over twenty years of experience in soccer after having played in a Division 1 University and has represented two national teams, both Brazil and Portugal.

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