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Following are definitions for a few key soccer terms and phrases to help familiarize you with the world's most popular sport.
Attacker: A player on either team who has possession of the soccer ball.
Breakaway: When an attacker with the soccer ball approaches the soccer goal undefended.
Corner Kick: A type of restart where the soccer ball is kicked from the corner in an attempt to score.
Dribbling: The basic skill of advancing and controlling the soccer ball with the feet.
FIFA: Acronym for Federation Internaitnale de Football Association. Since 1904 FIFA has been the official governing body of international soccer. FIFA established the World Cup tournament and helps set and revise rules of the game called the 17 Laws.
Front Header: When a player strikes a ball in the air with his or her forehead. This is the most common type of header.
Goal: When a soccer ball crosses the soccer goal line between the goalposts and below the crossbar for which a point is awarded.
Goalkeeper: A player positioned directly in front of the soccer goal who tries to prevent shots from getting into the net behind him. A goalkeeper is the only player allowed to use his hands and arms, though only within the penalty area.
Kickoff: The method of starting a game or restarting it after each goal, where a player passes the ball forward to a teammate from the center spot.
Laws of the Game: The 17 main rules for soccer established by FIFA.
Passing: When a player kicks the ball to his teammate; used to move the ball closer to the opposing goal, or to keep the ball away from an opponent or to give the ball to a player who is in a better position to score.
Penalty Shot: A kick taken from the penalty spot by a player against the opposing goalie without any players closer than 10 yards away. A penalty shot is awarded only for the most severe rule violations.
Striker: A striker is the team's most powerful and best-scoring forward who plays towards the center of the soccer field.
Sweeper: A defender who plays closest to his own goal behind the rest of the defenders.
Tackling: Tackling is the act of taking the ball away from a player by kicking or stopping it with the feet. Only a minimal amount of contact is permitted to knock the ball carrier off balance.
World Cup: The international soccer competition held by FIFA every four years between the top professional teams in the world. It is the most watched event in the world.
Yellow card: A yellow card is given to a soccer player to warn him of dangerous or unsportsmanlike behavior.