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Football Language: (to) Spring the Offside Trap

This post explains how the phrase  ‘to spring the offside trap’.Spring the Offside Trap

  • Find out more about this phrase by reading the transcript below.
  • You can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here.

Spring the Offside Trap

The offside trap refers to the tactic defenders use to catch attacking players offside. The defenders work together to keep the defensive line in a straight line and move up the pitch together to leave the attacker in an offside position. Now, to spring a trap, means to trigger the trap, make the trap close shut – in this case we are talking about a trap to catch animals, a metal trap with a spring holding it open. To spring it means to trigger it and make it close. After a trap has been closed or sprung, it is no longer effective. It needs to be reset. So to spring the offside trap in football means to beat the trap, to make it ineffective. You will see both sprang the offside trap and sprung the offside trap, the former is grammatically correct, it is the past form of the verb spring, but many people use the past participle, sprung.

Example: (Japan)seized the initiative just before half-time when Takuma Asano sprung the Australian offside trap to volley home from close range. (FIFA)

Example: But Urawa rallied and netted a vital away goal in the 76th minute when Yuki Muto sprang the offside trap and fired home. (

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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