Basic French Soccer Terms – With audio files




Part 1

  • un carton jaune: a yellow card
  • un carton rogue: a red card
  • un arbitre: a referee
  • un entraîneur: a trainer
  • un milieu de terrain: a midfield player
  • un défenseur: a defensive player
  • un corner: a corner kick
  • le terrain de foot: a soccer/football field
  • la surface de réparation: the penalty area
  • la première mi-temps: the first half
  • la deuxième mi-temps: the second half
  • un match à domicile: a home game
  • un match à l’éxterieur: an away game
  • une tête: a header
  • un penalty: a penalty
  • un arrêt: a save
  • un gardien (de but): a goalkeeper
  • un poteau: a post
  • un ballon de foot: a football
  • jouer au foot: to play football/soccer

Part 2

  • un remplaçant: a substitute
  • le banc de touche: the side line bench
  • un attaquant: an offensive player
  • le stade: the stadium
  • les tribunes: the stands
  • un jouer: a male player
  • une joueuse: a female player
  • il est hors-jeu: he is offside
  • une touche: a throw-in
  • la mi-temps: half time
  • un but: a goal
  • un match nul: a draw
  • La coupe du Monde: the world cup

Sentences and additional words

How do you say score a goal in French? Marquer un but. For instance:

  • J’ai marqué un but: I scored a goal.


  • On a marqué un but: We scored a goal.

Scoring a goal requires some type of build-up.

We’ve already learned that une tête corresponds to a header. But how do you say to shoot?

  • (faire) une frappe

The best teams usually pass the ball several times before they score a goal:

  • (faire) une passe

Winning is probably the most important part of a soccer game, at least for professional teams :-).

How do we say this in French?

  • On a gagné: We won (une victoire: a victory)


  • On a perdu: We lost (une défaite: a loss)

Sometimes there is no clear winner in a match. Many games are actually very competitive. In this case, we could say:

  • C’est/ C’était un match serré: It is/ it was an even game.

In addition, some games end in a draw. We’ve already learned that a draw corresponds to un match nul. However, how do we say this in the past tense?

  • Ils ont fait un match nul: It was a draw.

Draws are common in the regular season. However, many tournaments have a group stage followed by the playoffs. One team must win in the playoffs.

If they can’t decide the winner, the game will go to:

  • La prolongation: Overtime.

Many soccer fans have a favourite team. How do you say a team in French?

  • Une équipe

If you have a favourite team, you could say:

  • Mon équipe préféré, c’est __________:, My favourite team is _________ (Here you can insert your own favourite team :-))

Many soccer fans show their appreciation of their team outside of the matches. They usually do this by wearing their jersey. How do you say jersey in French?

  • Le maillot de foot


More sentences


In the beginning of this article we’ve learned that a goal is un but, but what do you call the person who scored the goal?

  • Un buteur

Goals are often preceded by an offensive play:

  • Le pressing haut: High pressuring

Soccer is not the same as American Football when it comes to tackles. However, they do occur in soccer:

  • un tacle: a tackle

The image in the beginning of the article includes the stadium and the stands. However, there are other facilities in the stadium that can be important to know. For instance:

  • Le vestiare: The dressing room

I watched a soccer game the other day. A player was interviewed after the game. This is what he said:

  • On aurait pu faire mieux: We could have done better

This is not necessarily a soccer term. However, the players are known to be self-critical, even when they win.

This sentence is also important from a grammatical stand point. Did you notice the use of pu instead of pouvait?

  • Pu is tied to le passé composé. We use this tense to describe a completed action. In this case, the match was over.
  • Pouvait can be used for something that is ongoing, or a habit in the past.

Let’s continue with more soccer terms.

The image above includes the term un poteau, a post. But how do you say goal net?

  • Filet de but


  • Filet de foot

The French soccer team is very successful. In French, the team is usually called:

  • Les Blues – The Blues

Last but not least, FIFA is the governing body of soccer. It’s actually a French name:

  • Fédération internationale de football association

I’ll let you figure out the translation on your own 🙂


The standings/rankings

How do you say this in French?

  • Classement

You can Google this term to see what shows up. Usually it’s the current standings in the French premier division – ligue 1.

The top tier of the rankings is called:

  • Le haut du classement

In the bottom you’ll find:

  • Le bas du classement

If your team has a really bad season they will probably be:

  • Mon équipe a été reléguée: My team has been relegated.

If your team has a really good season they will probably be:

  • Mon équipe a été promue: My team has been promoted.

However, if you are supporting a team in the highest division you’ll more likely to win and become the champions 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the contents of this article. Feel free to leave a comment if you think that something is incorrect or if you want to learn more French soccer terms 🙂






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