Football Language Podcast: (to) Feed

feedIn this week’s short football language podcast, we take a look at the verb ‘to feed‘, along with some other football language. Check out our football glossary and football cliches pages for hundreds more explanations of the language of soccer. If you have any questions, suggestions or comments then please email us at: (DB=Damon)

Listening Report: (to) Feed

DB: You’re listening to Hello everyone. Welcome to languagecaster and another short podcast on the language of football or soccer, depending on where you are in the world.  My name’s Damon, I’m based in Tokyo, and, as you may know if you are a regular listener, I’m one of the languagecaster team, the other being Damian in London. We both hope you are all keeping away from the corona virus wherever you are and are enjoying the football.

So, on today’s show, I’m going to take a look at the verb to feed and how it can be used when talking about football.

Stinger: You’re listening to (in Korean)

To Feed

Yes, you are listening to, and that message was in Korean. Send us your message – you are listening to in your language and we’ll add it to one of our shows. OK, let’s get started.

To feed‘ means to give food to. You can hear the resemblance between the verb ‘feed‘ and the noun ‘food‘, can’t you. So, you might feed your family, or feed your pet dog. Picture in your mind yourself putting food on a plate or in a bowl and then handing it to someone. We can also use ‘feed‘ to describe putting something in something – for example, you can feed wire or string through a hole, or you could feed data into a computer. You can even feed someone lies, tell them lies.

But what about football? Well, I’ve already says that if you feed someone, it can mean you pass them food. In football if you feed a player, you pass them the ball, you supply them with the ball, so that they can then use it somehow – maybe run with it, shoot, or pass it on. Remember I talked about feeding some wire or string through a hole or a pipe – maybe an electrician is feeding an electric wire through a wall. Now, imagine a player feeding the ball between two opposing players so that his or her teammate can latch on to the pass, can collect the pass.


This week, I’ve been watching the Champions League, so let’s imagine we have a player like Mbappe and his teammate Florenzi. We might say that Florenzi fed Mbappe, meaning he passed the ball to the striker. Other structures could be, Florenzi fed the ball through to Mbappe, or Florenzi fed the ball across the area. This last example is a little different as it is not feeding one player but giving an opportunity to anyone.

Stinger: You’re listening to (Arsenal)

Right, let’s look at some real examples from football reports. First, the structure feed a player:

(Bernardo Silva) patiently and inventively fed Raheem Sterling at the back post to extend the lead by a further goal. (Liverpool Echo, Feb. 2021)

And here is the structure, feed the ball to someone or somewhere.

Peter Clarke fed the ball across the face of goal after Stanley failed to clear a corner and Ellis had the easy task of tapping into an empty net at the far post. (BBC, March 2020)

And finally, the idea of passing through a gap:

He fed a creative through ball to Haaland out on the left, though it looked to have strayed too wide. (Talksport, Jan 2021

Other Phrases

DB: Right, so we know how to use ‘feed‘ to talk about football, and we can obviously use other phrases. The first would be the easiest, pass to a player, pass the ball to a player. We could also use ‘play in‘, ‘play someone in‘, which means to pass the ball, or feed a player, so they have a shot on goal.

Here’s an example of play in from ESPN:

The ball was immediately transferred right up the other end and Neymar played Messi in, but Hart did well to force him wide and close down the chance. 

So Neymar fed Messi, played him in, for a shot, but the shot was prevented by the goalkeeper, Hart.

Good bye

OK, we’ve talked about the verb ‘to feed’ and how we can use it in football to mean pass or cross the ball, or give someone a chance, and we’ve also seen we can use ‘play someone in’ to mean the same thing, give someone a chance by passing them the ball in a dangerous area.

And that brings us to the end of this short podcast., If you like what we do, tell your friends or support us via You can follow us on Twitter and most social media platforms, and you can get in touch us via

Thanks for listening. Stay safe, enjoy the football, and we’ll be back soon with some more football language to talk about.


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

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