The Soccer Education of Trey Daubert: Chapter 1 – The Basics
A few weeks ago, Trey had me on his podcast That’s Some Cheese to talk all things internship and sports. About halfway through the show, he brought up soccer. Mind you, soccer and college basketball are my two greatest loves in sports, so when you get me started on those things, I’m hard to stop. Of course, we talked about the Euros because that was in full swing at the time, but then my boss said something I wasn’t expecting to hear. Whether it was in a joking manner or not, Trey Daubert asked me to give him a soccer education. So, after weeks of intrapersonal debating, I’ve decided to start a weekly series devoted to turning Hockey Guy Trey into Soccer Guy Trey before the world’s ultimate sport starts again in the fall. Today begins that series.
The Soccer Education of Trey Daubert: Chapter 1 – The Basics
Soccer is one of the easiest sports to pick up, but its beauty is in its simplicity. All you need is a ball, some grass, and two things to mark as a goal – cones, goalposts, other soccer balls, chairs, etc.
Now, you will need to know a lot before the season starts, so I’m going to start with the basics, but I think you (Trey or the reader) likely know more than I’m letting on. As I outline stuff, know that this is not an insult of your intelligence, I just have no idea where the bar is, so I’m teaching this like I would teach a sixth grader from rural North Carolina who thinks soccer is a sport for sissies. Positions, formations, teams and more will be included in later chapters.
Soccer Colloquialisms/Phrases to Know
Football/Fútbol/Soccer: It’s all the same sport, and if you really get upset about what someone calls the beautiful game, then you need to stop gatekeeping and grow up.
Pitch: A fancier way of saying field. That’s all it is.
Goal/Golazo: You know what a goal is, but you know a golazo when you see one.
Assist: I know you know what an assist is, but I wanted to explain how you can get one in soccer. You can get an assist if you simply provide the last pass to the goal scorer. This counts as an assist – and Sergio Busquets has plenty of them because of Messi.
Manager: The coach. Also called the ‘gaffer’ in England.
Penalty: It’s not “PKs”, it’s penalties. I’ve learned that pisses people off when they hear Americans say that. Also, don’t ever let someone tell you that the late-90s MLS penalty shootout is better than what we have today. They’re wrong and they’re a part of the reason why Americans aren’t taken seriously concerning soccer. And if for whatever reason you support the old MLS penalties, there may be no hope for you.
Offside: When an offensive player is behind/beyond the last defender. For illustrative purposes (blue is offense, red defense):
VAR: The virtual assistant referee. It’s rarely wrong, but it is beyond frustrating when the errors occur. Also, when your pinky toe is offsides upon review, that seems a bit silly to call back a goal. You will learn to despise it, but you will love it when it benefits your team.
Nutmeg: When a player is on the ball and dribbles it through an opponent’s legs. As a former center-back, it’s your worst nightmare.
Touchline: The long out of bounds lines on the pitch. The length portion of the field, if we go back to our elementary lessons about rectangles.
Goal Line: The shorter out of bounds lines running across the face of goal. The width portion of the field.
Six-yard box: The smaller rectangle within the larger outlined rectangle on both ends of the field. This is the area in which the goalkeeper can take the goal kick. For visual representation (six-yard box in blue, 18-yard box in orange):
18-yard box: This is the larger outlined rectangle that delineates where a goalkeeper can use his hands.
Goal Kicks/Corner Kicks: I feel like you understand what these are, but I wanted to highlight them nonetheless. A goal kick is when the offense kicks the ball out of bounds across the goal line. Then the goalkeeper, although it could be a defender, gets to play the ball from within the six-yard box. Corner kicks are when the defense kicks the ball out of bounds on the goal line they are defending, and the offense gets to whip a ball into the 18-yard box.
Free Kick: These are given whenever there is a foul. Free kicks can be direct or indirect. A direct free kick is when the ball can be immediately played (i.e. a shot, pass, etc.) An indirect free kick is when the ball has to be touched by one offensive player, before the ball can be played. That’s a little confusing so here is my attempt at creating a scene to describe it. Messi gets fouled about 30 yards from goal, but the referee deems it an indirect free kick. Now that forces a second player from Barcelona to come over to the spot of the foul. That player will likely tap or roll the ball to Messi, initiating play from there.
Set Piece: When a team initiates a play off of a free kick or corner. For illustrative purposes:
Wall: A group of players bunching together to stop a free kick. There can be anywhere from one to five or six people on a wall, based on the preference of the goalkeeper.
Tackle: A player’s effort to steal the ball from an opponent, can also be referred to as “getting stuck in.”
Handball: Exactly how it sounds. It occurs when a player – excluding goalkeepers within their 18-yard box – touches the ball in a non-traditional manner with their hands, forearm or any part of the arm beneath the shoulder. However, the rules about what is and isn’t a handball are getting very confusing.
Yellow Card: Essentially a warning given by the referee to a player who has just committed a foul, a number of fouls, or was mouthing off.
Red Card: An immediate send-off for the player or manager it was given to. This can be given for an egregious foul, arguing with the ref, or after getting two yellow cards in the same match.
Relegation: When a team finishes at the bottom of their league (this is three or four teams typically) they are “relegated” to the lower flight of club competition in that country. It would be like if Major League Baseball did away with the AL and NL and put everyone in one league. Then let’s say the Yankees finished 28th, they are sent down to Triple A and replaced by another team from Triple A.
Promotion: When a team finishes in top of their league (this can be first, second, third or fourth sometimes) they are “promoted” to the higher flight of club competition in that country. It would be like if the Charlotte Knights had the second best record in Triple A and got promoted to the MLB.
World Cup: Soccer’s ultimate stage. It comes around every four years and is the planet’s premier sports competition. You know what is, no need to explain it further.
Champions League: European club soccer’s ultimate competition. Comprised of the best of the best from the leagues across Europe. Most recent winners: Chelsea. Had to be said.
Here concludes today’s lesson. This has been the first installment of the Soccer Education of Trey Daubert and I know that was a lot to take in. However, that’s just the beginning. I will have a new chapter out every week or so, maybe even a bit earlier. I hope you (Trey) found this helpful, but we’ve only just grazed the surface. Buckle in.
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