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Must-Know Spanish Soccer Terms

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Essential Spanish Soccer Expressions and Vocabulary

Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona. The most highly anticipated rivalry match-up of any La Liga season. These two teams are as different as night and day, and so are their fans. But there is ONE thing that connects them all…Spanish!  With this year’s soccer season in full swing, we’re here to equip you with the most useful Spanish terms, words, phrases, and vocabulary that will help you keep your ear on the call and eye on the ball.

Want to know what those Spanish referees are really saying? Keep reading and find out.

Top 10 Spanish Soccer Terms 

1. El Clásico (Classic game)

In Spanish, fans refer to the most important match-up of the season as el clásico. For example, el clásico de La Liga would be the derby between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

learn spanish soccer terms expressions vocabulary Fútbol

Why? Because Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona is the ‘classic’ match-up people long to see every season.

Another common expression announcers will use to describe a match-up is El espectáculo, which translates to “The show.”

2. Los Fanaticos (The fans)

Yes, we’re talking about you, mighty spectator and loyal fan. You are an essential part of the game – a cheerleader to your favorite team.

For those of you who wear your team shirt with pride, scream out “GOOAAALLLL” every time your favorite player kicks in a winning score, or even paint your face to match your team colors – this phrase is for you:

¡Estoy un súper fanático de este equipo!

(I am a super fan of this team!)

3. Dar Un Cabezazo (To hit a header)

One of the most unique plays in all of soccer is when a player hits the ball with the top of their head instead of their foot. In Spanish, you can use the expression dar un cabezazo to declare this impressive play.

For example:

El jugador dio un cabezazo y metió el gol.

(The player did a header and scored the goal).

4. Árbitro (Referee)

Who wears black and white and calls all the shots?

That’s right, the ref!

But have you ever wondered what language referees speak during major tournaments that host international players and spectators? English, Spanish, German, Italian…?

The answer is actually quite simple.

Typically, referees will speak the official language of the country where the tournament is held.

Entonces, los árbitros de La Liga hablan español.

(So, the refs of La Liga speak Spanish).

5. Los Jugadores (The players)

Get ready, it’s time to let the players on the field! But first, learn their positions in Spanish:

  • Defensa (defender)
  • Delantero (forward/striker)
  • Delantero central (center-forward)
  • Centrocampista (mid-field player)
  • Golero/goleador  (goalkeeper)

You know them by name: Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Piqué. Now, you can call out their positions like a true Spanish fan.

6. Meter Un Gol (To score a goal)

Obviously, the point of fútbol is to score un gol and win the game. And you already know all the fans will yell out GOOOOOLLLL when their team scores a winning kick!

Spanish Soccer Terms expressions phrases vocabulary fútbol

But what if the game ends in un empate, or a tie?

El partido de fútbol terminó en empate a uno.

(The soccer game ended in a tie, 1-1).

No need to worry, a re-match will settle the score!

7. Acciones del partido (Actions of the game)

If you’re like most espectadores (spectators), you live for every kick, push, shove, foul, and score.

That’s why you don’t want to miss out on this next Spanish sports list:

8. Cara o cruz (Heads or tails)

As you know, a soccer match usually starts with a coin toss. Similar to the U.S. version of “heads or tails,” Spain calls out cara o cruz. This directly translates to “head or cross.”

But why “cross” instead of “tails?”

Prior to the Euro, Spain’s currency was marked with a prominent cross on the “tails” side of the coin.

Qué interesante.

9. Saque de salida (Kick-off)

After the coin toss, the players are ready to saque de salida. This means it’s kick-off time!

You may also hear saque inicial, which means the initial kick-off, and saque lateral, meaning “throw-in.”

10. La deportividad (Sportsmanship)

Finally, you’ve made it to #10 on our list of useful Spanish soccer terms. This is perhaps the most important word of them all – la deportividad, or sportsmanship.

Whether your team is el ganador (the winner) or el perdedor (the loser) it is always important to show good sportsmanship to the opposing team and their fans.

Si no ganas, tienes que ser un buen perdedor. 

(If you do not win, you need to be a good loser).

Spanish Soccer Terms Expressions Vocabulary Words

7 Soccer Terms in Spanish You Can Shout the Next Time Your Opponent Makes a Daring Move:

1. Una patada (a kick)

2. ¡Mano! (handball)

3. Falta (foul)

4. Córner (corner kick)

5. Tarjeta roja (red card)

6. Tarjeta amarilla (yellow card)


Whether it’s a handball, corner kick, or goal, you’ll be able to call them all.

Win the Language Learning Game with Pimsleur  

Now that you have prepared yourself with these soccer Spanish phrases, you are ready to become a súper fanático for your favorite La Liga match-up.

Catching a flight to see your team play live? Brush up on your travel Spanish with these Airport Spanish survival phrases.

But don’t stop there! Fully immerse yourself in language and culture with Pimsleur’s online Spanish lessons.

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