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Football Language: Good with Their Feet

good with feetIn this short football language post we explain the phrase ‘good with their feet‘ and how it is used in football. Check out our football glossary  and  football cliches pages for several hundred more explanations of the language of soccer. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:

Football Language: Good with their feet

What do we mean when we say ‘he or she is good with his feet‘? Well, all football players should be good with their feet, right? It is called ‘foot‘ ball after all. There is one player on the pitch that is not always expected to be good at kicking a ball, except maybe from a goal kick and that is the goalkeeper.

So, this phrase is used to describe a goalkeeper who is not only good at stopping the ball from going in the net, but can also control and pass the ball to his or her defenders or midfield.

More and more, a keeper who is good with their feet is an important part of teams that like to play out from the back – that is, pass the ball from their defenders, through midfield into the opponent’s half.

Lump it

Teams that don’t have a keeper good with their feet often lump the ball down field – a phrase which means kick the ball long, hoping it will fall to your team. On the pitch, a defender might shout ‘get rid’ at their goalkeeper if the ball is played towards the keeper and an attacker is nearby. This means lump it down field, kick the ball long.

In contrast to a keeper who lumps the ball, a keeper good with their feet will often control the ball and wait to deliver a pass, or chip the ball over the attacker to a teammate in midfield.


Here is a good example about Liverpool’s current goalkeeper, Alison:

Alisson is, of course, a gifted shot-stopper, but he’s also a great organiser and an inspirational presence behind that red-shirted backline. Good with his feet and seeming to be constantly oozing with confidence, goalkeepers like Alisson are a rare breed. Liverpool are lucky to have him.

You can see in this example another phrase used to describe keepers and that is – a good shot-stopper; someone who has good reactions and can often save close range shots.

Ideally, a team wants a good shot stopper and a keeper good with their feet, but often they have to choose one or the other!

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

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
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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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