Italian Soccer Vocabulary

Vocabulary Words for Italian Calcio

Italian soccer or calcio
Stefano Oppo

You don’t have to study Italian for long before you learn that Italians love soccer.

Historically and currently it’s referred to as il calcio. (Have you heard of an event called il Calcio Storico Fiorentino? It won’t look quite like the soccer matches you’re used to!)

Nowadays, though, there are coaches and referees from other countries, players on loan from all over the world and tifosi (fans) internationally.

In Italy, in matches ranging from the Coppa del Mondo (World Cup) to Serie A, from international friendlies to the friendly pick-up game in the piazza, a multitude of languages are spoken—not just Italian.

But even so, there are advantages to knowing Italian soccer terms. If you were to attend a game in-person in Italy, chances are that you'll still hear Italian spoken most of the time. And if your goal is to improve your Italian language skills, then reading Corriere dello Sport or Gazzetta dello Sport (which is famous for it's pink colored pages - even the website maintains this pink color!) for the latest results of your favorite squadra (team) or listening to soccer broadcasts in Italian is a very effective way to advance in the standings, so to speak.

Besides knowing the vocabulary words that you see below, you’ll also want to know about the different teams, their nicknames, and how the leagues are structured.

Common Soccer Vocabulary Words

  • i calzoncini—shorts
  • i calzini (le calze da giocatore)—socks
  • i guanti da portiere—goalkeeper's gloves
  • il calcio d'angolo (il corner)—corner (corner kick)
  • il calcio di punizione—free kick
  • il calcio di rigore (il rigore)—penalty (penalty kick)
  • il calcio di rinvio—goal kick
  • il campo di/da calcio—field
  • il cartellino giallo (per l'ammonizione)—yellow card (as a caution)
  • il cartellino rosso (per l'espulsione)—red card (for expulsion)
  • il centrocampista—midfield player
  • il dischetto del calcio di rigore—penalty spot
  • il colpo di testa—header
  • il difensore—defender
  • il difensore esterno—outside defender
  • il dribbling—dribble
  • il fallo—foul
  • il fuorigioco—offside
  • il gol—goal
  • il guardalinee—linesman
  • il libero—sweeper
  • il palo (il palo della porta)—post (goalpost)
  • il pallone—soccer ball
  • il parastinchi—shin guard
  • il passaggio diretto (della palla)—pass (passing the ball)
  • il passaggio corto—short pass
  • il portiere—goalkeeper
  • l'ala—outside forward (winger)
  • l'allenatore—coach
  • l'ammonizione—sending-off
  • l'arbitro—referee
  • l'area di rigore—penalty area
  • l'arresto (della palla)—receiving the ball (taking a pass)
  • l'attaccante—striker
  • l'ostruzione—obstruction
  • la bandierina di calcio d'angolo—corner flag
  • la linea di fondo—goal line
  • la linea di metà campo—half-way line
  • la linea laterale—touch line
  • la maglia—shirt (jersey)
  • la mezz'ala—inside forward (striker)
  • la partita—match
  • la respinta di pugno—save with the fists
  • la rimessa laterale—throw-in
  • la riserva (il giocatore di reserva)—substitute
  • la rovesciata—bicycle kick
  • la scarpa da calcio—soccer boot (shoe)
  • la squadra—team
  • la traversa—crossbar
  • lo stadio—stadium
  • lo stopper—inside defender
  • segnare un gol—to score a goal
  • tifosi - fans

For vocabulary words related to other sports, like skiing and cycling, read, 75 Vocabulary Words for Talking About Sports in Italian.

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Your Citation
Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Soccer Vocabulary." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Filippo, Michael San. (2023, April 5). Italian Soccer Vocabulary. Retrieved from Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Soccer Vocabulary." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 7, 2023).