Football Language (a) Ball

ballIn this football language post we look at the noun ‘ball‘  and how it is used in football and how it is connected with passing. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:

Football Language: Ball

Most people when asked to think about what ‘ball‘ means in football, may think the answer is obvious. It is the ball that you kick, the ball in football, the round object that everyone is trying to get in their opponent‘s net. And of course, this is correct – you can pass the ball to a teammate, kick the ball out of play, place the ball on the penalty spot, handle the ball in the box and so on. However, it also means a pass or a cross. A ball into the box is a cross into the box; a nice ball, is a good pass to a teammate. So, ball actually becomes an action not an object. It often combines with adjectives, such as great, dangerous, glorious to describe what kind of cross, or ball, it is. Here are some examples:

Example: Cuadrado swings over a delicious ball towards Cristiano at the back stick. He is preparing to pull the trigger, but the Uruguayan gets the faintest of nicks on the ball to divert it away from the striker. (, September 2019)

Example: Unbelievable start for Barca! Corner is headed away and then a dangerous ball is sent back in towards the far post. (, October 2019)

Related Links

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here. If you have any suggestions or questions, contact us at

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

Free football language podcast for learners of English brought to you by Damian and Damon. Interviews, match reviews, predictions all with full language support for football fans around the world who wish to improve their English language skills.

Hosted by

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!
Google | Facebook | Twitter | Mail | Website

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

BEpisode 873