Football Language: Loose Pass

In this post we explain the football phrase ‘loose pass,’ used to describe a mistake. If you have questions or comments, email us at: Pass

  • You can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here.

Football Language: Loose Pass

The phrase loose pass, is a combination of an adjective ‘loose‘ and a noun ‘a pass.Loose, in this context means bad, with the added inference that the passer of the ball was not concentrating when they passed the ball. Usually, a loose pass is intercepted or goes straight to a player on the opposing team. We could also say it was a misplaced pass, although using this phrase means the speaker does not criticise the passer as much as if they used a loose pass.

Verb phrases with the same meaning include ‘to give the ball away cheaply,’ and ‘to gift the ball to.’

In the Champions League this week, Mo Salah of Liverpool made a loose pass, allowing Neymar to link with Mbappe, who scored and equalising goal. also, in Fernandinho’s loose pass allowed Lyon to score against Manchester City. Here is an example from The Guardian about Mo Salah: ‘Salah played a loose pass in his own half, presenting the ball to Neymar, who sprinted towards the Liverpool box.


Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and don’t forget to join our Premier League predictions competition. 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.

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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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Football GlossaryEpisode 815