Scoring Big with Sports English: How to Teach Football Vocabulary to ESL Learners

Sport English for Football

Title: Mastering Sport English for Football: A Guide for Players, Coaches, and Fans


Football is a global sport with a massive following, and English is the international language of football. As such, it’s essential for players, coaches, and fans to have a good grasp of sport English, particularly in football. This guide aims to provide you with the essential vocabulary and terminology for football, so you can communicate more effectively and understand the game better.


  1. Basic Football Vocabulary:
  • Pitch
  • Goal
  • Corner
  • Foul
  • Penalty
  • Yellow Card
  • Red Card
  • Offside
  • Kick-off
  • Half-time
  • Full-time
  1. Football Positions and Formations:
  • Striker
  • Midfielder
  • Defender
  • Goalkeeper
  • 4-4-2
  • 3-5-2
  • 4-3-3
  1. Football Plays and Strategies:
  • Passing
  • Shooting
  • Dribbling
  • Tackling
  • Counterattack
  • Pressing
  • High line
  • Low block
  1. Football Phrases and Idioms:
  • “park the bus”
  • “hit the target”
  • “back of the net”
  • “on the front foot”
  • “play it safe”
  • “kick the ball around”
  • “dead ball situation”
  • “last-ditch tackle”
  • “squeaky bum time”


Mastering sport English for football can make a huge difference to your game, whether you’re a player, coach, or fan. By learning the essential vocabulary and terminology, you can communicate more effectively and understand the game better. Use this guide to improve your sport English and enjoy football even more!

Here are two book recommendations:

  1. Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics” by Jonathan Wilson – This book takes a deep dive into the evolution of football tactics, from the earliest formations to the modern game. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in the strategic side of football.
  2. The Damned United” by David Peace – This novel is a fictionalized account of Brian Clough’s infamous 44-day stint as manager of Leeds United in 1974. It’s a gritty, intense portrayal of one of the most tumultuous periods in English football history, and a must-read for fans of the sport.
  3. Free English tips to improve your English

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