French Football Vocabulary


Football (soccer) is an ultra popular sport in France. If you ever step foot into a French bar or pub, oftentimes a match is being aired, especially during the World Cup!

It’s important to know some useful vocabulary, so I compiled a list of words used when talking about French football (soccer). We’ll touch upon the top French teams, some useful French vocabulary, and I’ll share some French videos.

The Top French Teams

The top teams in France play in a division known as the Ligue 1. It is a top league to play in and is only outmatched, in terms of talent & entertainment value, by the leagues in Spain and England.

There are 20 teams and 38 matches. Winning a match earns you 3 points, a draw merits 1 point and losing gets you 0 points.

The league changes every year because the bottom three teams are relegated to a lower league and the top teams of Ligue 2 move up. Consistently, the most competitive teams are Paris, Lyon, Monacco, Saint-Étienne, Marseille, Montpeillier, Bordeaux, and Lille.

Paris, Marseille and Lyon have die-hard fans. The PSG is known as a top-club worldwide and spends a substantially larger budget than its rivals. This budget allows Paris to snag international stars.

French Soccer / Football Vocabulary

I will interchange between definite articles (le / la / les) and indefinite articles (un / une / des).

La Coupe du Monde: the World Cup
L’équipe de France / Les Bleus: the French National Team
Les supporters: the fans
Le stade: the stadium
Le terrain: the field
Le ballon: the ball

Positions & People

L’attaquant / l’avant: striker / forward
Le milieu de terrain: midfielder
Le défenseur: the defender
Le gardien: the goalkeeper (goalie)
L’arbitre (m.): the referee
Les supporters: the fans
Le streaker: an idiot a person who runs on the field during the game for attention


Tirer / un tire: to shoot (verb) / a shot (noun)
Frapper le ballon: tap the ball
Passer / une passe: to pass (verb) / a pass (noun)
Une touche: a throw-in
Un dribble: a dribble
Un tacle / tacler: a tackle / to tackle
Un centre: a cross
La bicyclette: bicycle kick (rare but bada*s)
Un pénalty / un péno: a penalty
Un carton jaune: a yellow card
Un carton rouge: a red card
« CARTON !! » what French people yell when they’re pissed off and see a fault

Portions of the game

L’engagement: kick-off
Mi-temps: half time
Temps réglementaire: regulation time (full game)
Temps additionel: stoppage time (for injuries)
Prolongation: extra time
Gagner: to win (verb)
Perdre: to lose (verb)

Useful Videos

A funny video about football / soccer

Minute Forme Video Series [Video guides on mastering the techniques found in the game of football]

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