Costa Rica Soccer Terms

A to F


* a celebrar carajo – Used when a team qualifies for the World Cup
* abrir el abanico de posibilidades –A phrase used when there are various options as to how to play soccer.
* abrir la cancha – Kick the ball towards the sidelines to make the playing field wider in order to guard a defender
* abuchear – When the fans “boo” a player.
* acariciar el esferico – To kick the ball with a certain touch
* achicar – When the goal keep plays against a defender one on one and tries to cut off the angle of a shot
* acumulación de ácido láctico – A cramp caused by the accumulation of latic acid in a muscle.
* afrontar el compromiso – Used when one team plays (confronts) another
* ahinco – Passion or effort
* amague – Dodging an opponent by using one’s skill, kicking the ball, dribbling or moving the ball with one’s feet (dribbling).
* andaribel – The sidelines of the soccer field
* anticipo – Anticipating or guessing what an opposing player is going to do to get possession of the ball.
* ariete – Term sometimes used to refer to the position of forward or “shooter” on a soccer team
* arrecostarse a la banda – Term used when a forward or midfielder on a soccer team plays close to the sideline.
* artero – Word used to refer to a rough or violent play or a foul.
* artillero – Person who plays the position of “forward” or “shooter” on a soccer team.
* atenazar – Trap ball with both hands


* balompie – another name for football or soccer as it called in the U.S. and Canada.
* balón dividido – When two players are fighting for possession of a soccer ball.
* banderola – The flag the referees use when signaling a foul.
* banquillo – Bench where the players and coach sit during a game
* bañar – . Act of putting the ball over the opponent’s head without the possibility of the latter reacting in time.
* barra brava – An organized group of soccer fanatics of a certain team who are determined to cheer on the their team and cause a ruckus outside of or near the stadium.
* barrer por detrás – The act of approaching a player from behind and sweeping his feet out from under him.
* bicicleta – A soccer mover executed by moving one’s feet repeatedly over the top of the ball from side to side.
* biotipo – Used to refer to the physical characteristics of a player.
* borrado del terreno de juego – When a team does not have the ball in ins possession and is apparently outplayed and outclassed by the other team.
* botín – A term used to refer to a player’s soccer shoes


* cachetear el balon – To bunt or hit a ball with little force
* cambio de juego – To send the ball from one end of the field to the other end, thus changing the area where the game is being played
* cancerbero – A term used to refer to the goalkeeper or goalie
* candado defensivo – When a team is using a tight of pressure defense against an opposing team.
* cañonazo – A term used to describe a powerful soccer kick like a cannon ball.
* caracolear – A hip fake used by a forward to fake out or fool an opposing player.
* carrilero – . A term used to refer to the defensive midfielder position in Football (Soccer)
* catedral del futbol – The nickname of the Liga’s (Alajuela soccer team) stadium in downtown Alajuela. Catedral is a cathedral
* cartulina amarilla/roja – Terms used to refer to the red or yellow card that the referee pulls out when a foul has been committed
* cerrojo defensivo – When a defensive line of players is reinforced
* certamen – A soccer tournament
* chilena – . An acrobatic play where a player hangs in the air with his back to the goal and kicks the ball towards the goal.
* chorrea el centro – Term used when a player runs along the sideline and passes the ball to the area of play
* chuta – A term used for a shot in soccer
* clásico – A confrontation between two traditional rivals in soccer which stirs up a lot of passion and emotion among the supporters of the teams. A game between Saprisa and La Liga is good example of this term.
* cobro – A term used for describing the execution of a foul shot, an in kick from the sidelines or any other action on the football field.
* colectivo – The proper term used for an informal soccer game or pick-up game. Menjenga is also used.
* columna vertebral – The key players who are the backbone of the team and for whom there are no substitutions.
* comerse la cancha – Term used when a player has an excellent game and “eats up the field.”
* como con la mano – Term for a pass or shot that reaches its objective or target
* como cuchillo en mantequilla – A pass executed perfectly to the back four players of the defense
* como si fuera lo más preciado del mundo – Term used when the goalie traps the ball tightly.
* compromiso – Another name for a soccer game.
* contrataque – Counterattack used by one team just after it has been attacked by the rival team in order to catch the latter off guard or napping.
* contrincante – A rival
* convocados – Players who are selected to play in an important soccer match.
* cosas del fútbol – Anything related to football (soccer)
* cotejo – Another name for a soccer game.
* crack – An exceptional player or superstar
* creativo – Term used to refer to the volante or defensive midfielder in soccer
* culminar – To finish or end (a game)
* cúspide – The peak of a game


* darle con la de palo – Hit the soccer ball with the weaker leg.
* darle tratamiento al balón – Term used to describe when a player handles the ball.
* de buen oficio – Said when a player plays a good game of football. He has “game.”
* de menos a más – A player who doesn’t play well in practice but performs better than usual when he is on the field during a game.
* de pronóstico reservado – Said of a game whose outcome is too difficult to predict.
* deporte rey – The sport of kings or king of all sports, soccer
* derby – A game between two teams from the same city.
* desdibujar al equipo contrario – When a team doesn’t have possession of the ball and the other team not only has the ball, but looks superior.
* desenganchado – A player who isn’t playing according to the game plan.
* director de orquesta – A defensive midfielder who is very creative and sets up the plays for the rest of the team.
* dominar el balón – To master control ball the most effective way.
* donde tejen las arañas – The corner of the goal posts made up of the crossbar and one of the upper corners
* dorsal – The back side of a soccer jersey.


* el coloso de tibas – . The Saprissa soccer stadium in the town of Tibás also known as “La Cueva.”
* el fútbol da revanchas – A phrase used to describe when a team after being defeated comes back and defeats the same team that defeated it. This term is also used when a player misses a shot and then comes back and scores.
* el horizontal – The crossbeam of a goal
* el mano a mano – Said when a player faces the goal keeper one-on-one.
* el palo mayor – Another term for the crossbeam of a goal. The term Travesaño is the same thing.
* el proceso – The term refers to the time in which a football (soccer) strategist controls the reins of a team.
* el profesor (entrenador) – The term often refers to the coach of a Costa Rica soccer team.
* el rectángulo de juego – Used to refer to the soccer field.
* el tan temido 2 – 0 – A score where a goal by the losing team can mean a radical change in the momentum of the game or pave the way for a possible tie.
* el uno dos – Used to refer to a play where one player passes the ball to another player and the latter returns it immediately to the player who originally passed it to him.
* emplearse a fondo – Term used to refer to making a big effort on the field
* en las inmediaciones del área rival – . Said when a player finds himself near the goal of the opposing team.
* en tela de duda – Term used to describe when something is in doubt.
* encarar – A term used to describe when one player confronts another or the goal keeper.
* encerrados en su propia área – When one team won’t let another team attack by keeping them in their own area of the field.
* engolosinarse – When a player hogs the ball even though some of his teammates are free.
* engramado – The grass on the playing field.
* engranaje – The performance on the playing field.
* entrebero en el área – When a ball bounces several times on the playing field.
* equipo de media tabla – A team that is in the middle of the standings.
* esférico – Refers to the soccer ball
* espectador – Spectator.
* estratega – Coach
* etapa de complemento – Second half of a game.
* extremo izq/der – A player that positions himself next to the sidelines.


favorito en el papel – A team that is the favorite on paper.
* filtrar el balón – Term used to describe passing the ball between two defenders to another teammate who is near the goal.
* finta – engaño A fake
* fogueo – A scrimmage or sparring between two teams.
* fusilar al portero – To make a goal from a short distance.

G to Z


* gran galardia – A well-executed play
* gresca – A fight between players
* guardavallas – Another name for goalkeeper


* hacer fútbol – To create plays
* hacerse de la pelota – Used when a player takes control of a ball
* hincha – A soccer fan
* horas fútbol – Refers to the time on the football field.


* impartir justicia – To officiate a game
* infracción – A breaking of the soccer rules
* intervención quirúrgica – When they operate on a soccer player
* ir y venir – The constant attacking and defending that occurs during a game. This term can also refer to a game that has a lot of action.


* jornada – The term used to refer to the date when games are played.


* la alfombra mágica – Term used to refer to artificial turf.
* la bicicleta – A type of soccer play where a player confuses his rival by moving his feet over the top of the ball…sort of like pedaling a bicycle.
* la caprichosa – A term sometimes used to refer to the soccer ball.
* la cueva del monstruo – The Saprissa soccer stadium
* la marianela – A type of maneuver performed by a soccer player when he has the ball.
* la pecosa – Another name for the soccer ball. It literally means the one with freckles and is used to refer to the black spots on the ball.
* la rabona – Used when a player kicks the ball crossing one leg behind the other.
* la tricolor – Tricolor refers to the three colors on the Costa Rican flag or national soccer team.
* la tuvo y la dejo ir – When a player is in position to score and fails to do it. Or when a team has the game one and then loses it.
* legionarios – Term used to describe Costa Rican players who play for foreign teams.
* liga de las estrellas – The nickname for the Spanish Soccer League
* línea de fondo – The end line of the football field.
* línea de cuatro/tres/cinco – A defensive play performed by three, four or five players.


* mamón – A player who always “hogs” the ball
* marco virgen – When the goal keeper hasn’t been scored on.
* medular – The backbone of a team
* mejenga – An informal pick-up type soccer game.
* meter el bus – When the defense clogs an area with a lot of players to try and keep the other team from scoring.
* montar el mariachi – When a player does a series of plays kicking the ball over an opponents head and still maintains control of the ball.


* ni mandrake el mago – When the ball enters the goal and the goalie has no chance of stopping it.
* no apto para cardiacos – A “nail-biter” or exciting game. The term “de infarto” is also used. The latter means that the game is so exciting that it can cause a heart attack.
* nueve metros quince – The official distance from the goal where the “barrier” or line of players has to stand when a free shot is kicked.


* once pasos – Penalty point
* onceno – Name given to a team with eleven players
* orquestador – A coach or player who sets up or designs plays.


* paral de mano (derecha – izquierda) – Right or left goal post
* partido de trámite – A game that has no affect on the standings
* patear el mundo – When a player kicks the dirt instead of the ball.
* pegarle con rencor – The action of kicking the ball violently
* peinar el balón – To hit (tap) the ball with the head and not using much force.
* permuta – Substituting a player
* piernas frescas – When a player who is “fresh (rested)” enters the game with “fresh legs.”
* pintar de amarillo – When a player gets a yellow card
* piscinazo – When a player hits the ground intentionally to try and impress the referee.
* pivotear – When a player gets the ball with his back to the goal and then passes it to another player.
* plancheta – When a player tries to kick a rival using the cleats of his soccer shoes.
* plano individual – Term used to describe the performance of an individual player
* plasmar la idea del técnico – To understand the coaches instructions.
* poner toda la carne en el asador – To go for broke or go for it all.
* ponerse el overall – Term used when a player performs well.
* pressing – When one team is putting pressure on another and closing off the passing lanes.
* punto tragico – A penalty point
* puntuar – The accumulation of points on the scoreboard


* quedarle grande el partido – When a player has “big shoes” to fill during a game (figuratively speaking).
* quedarle grande la camiseta – . Used when a player does not play well or live up to expectations.
* quemarropa – . Term used to describe a goal made from a short distance. Quema ropa means “point blank.”


* rajar al rival – To pass the ball between a rival’s legs.
* recorte – To strip your rival of the ball by cutting him off.
* reducto – A stadium
* referato – Refers to the four referees of a game
* reflejos felinos – Terms used when a goalie has excellent reflexes. They say he has the reflexes of a “cat.”
* reiteración – The playback or repetition of a play.
* remate – A shot at the goal
* reparto del balón – Term used to describe the movement of the ball between two players.
* repechaje – . A special extra playoff game that takes place so that a team can qualify for the World Cup.
* resorteo – When the ball is hit with the head by jumping high.
* retaguardia – The last line of defense, either a player or the goalkeeper
* robar las espaldas – Said when a forward gets the ball behind the defense in the correct position on the field.


* sacar agua del bote – Used when a player or either team that is defending kicks the ball in any direction to avoid danger.
* sacar la faena – Used when a team or player accomplishes an objective.
* sacar los tres puntos – To win a game.
* sacarla con la cutícula de los dedos – When a goal keep barely makes a play.
* Salir a cazar mariposas – When a goal keeper fails to make a play.
* salir jugando elegantemente con el balón –To handle the soccer ball well.
* salirse del libreto – When a player does more than he is expected to without following the game plan.
* sanción – A disciplinary measure taken against a player.
* silbatero – The central referee. Comes from the verb Silbar which means to blow a whistle.
* sombrerito – “The Hat Trick” or when a player passes the ball over an opponent’s head and still maintains control of the ball.
* stopper – A defensive player who plays behind the first line of defense.
* suplente – . A substitute player off the bench.


* tapar la salida del rival – A defensive tactic to pressure a team that is trying to move down the field of play.
* taquito – Any play where the ball hits a player’s heel.
* técnico– Another name for coach
* tener gol – Said when a player scores.
* terreno de juego – The playing field
* testarazo – A header or hitting the ball with one’s head. The term cabezazo is also used.
* tiempos del partido – Used when a player knows how to attack and keep possession of the ball.
* tiempos suplementarios – Overtime
* timonel – Another name for coach.
* tirar un caño – The act of passing the ball between an opponent’s legs.
* tocar en corto – A short pass of the ball.
* tocar la gloria – To score
* tomar la batuta del equipo – Used when either the coach of player leads the team.
* transitar – Running while moving the ball.
* trastabilleo – When a player trips over his own feet.
* trazo largo – Passing the ball at least 30 meters.
* tres cuartos de cancha – Term used to describe the rival’s section of the soccer field.
* triangulación – . A term used to describe fast passes of the ball between two players.


* valuarte – An important player
* vamos al fútbol – The equivalent of “Play ball!” to indicate that the game has started.
* violacion de la regla once – Offsides
* vocacion ofensiva/defensiva – . A player who has both offensive and defensive responsibilities.
* volante de llegada – A player whose responsibility is to attack.
* volantear – A verb that refers to the duties of the midfielder.
Volante The midfielder
* volantes mixtos – A midfielder who attacks and efends during a game
* vuelo supremo – Term used to describe the goalkeeper when he is in the air trying to stop a ball.


* zaga – Defensive player
* zapatazo – A stupid or inaccurate shot
* zona de candela – Hot zone of the field