Football is a team game that is played on a rectangular pitch. Each team has 11 players and the aim is to score by kicking a round ball into a goal. Football is a different game to American football.

In American English, football is called ‘soccer’.

football/soccer idioms and expressions

Many idioms originated from football/soccer and here is a list of them with examples.

football/soccer idioms and expressions

get a kick out of something

meaning – to enjoy something/get pleasure out of something
example – I really get a kick out of fishing, I’ve been twice this week already.

football/soccer idioms - get a kick out of something

get the ball rolling

meaning – start a process
example – I want to sell my house. I’ll call the estate agent and get the ball rolling tomorrow.

football/soccer idioms - get the ball rolling meaning and examples

keep one’s eye on the ball

meaning – stay focused
example – We need to keep out eye on the ball, our final exams start in a month.

football/soccer sayings - keep one’s eye on the ball

keep the ball rolling

meaning – maintain the momentum/progress
example – Ernie founded the charity before he passed. It’s up to us to keep the ball rolling.

football/soccer sayings - keep the ball rolling

kick off

meaning – the start of an event/activity or start arguing/fighting
example – I’m leaving work at 6, so I’ll be back in time for kick off.

football/soccer sayings - kick off meaning and example

know the score

meaning – be aware of what is going on even if you don’t like it
example – He knows the score. If he wants drugs, I want money first.

football/soccer sayings - know the score

move the goalposts

meaning – change the rules/parameters to make a situation more difficult
example – I met the conditions, but they refused my proposal. They can’t keep moving the goalposts.

move the goalposts meaning and example

on the ball

meaning – alert, focused, efficient
example – You haven’t been on the ball recently. Are you having problems at home?

football/soccer sayings - on the ball

on the bench

meaning – a substitute, not participating
example – I’ve got a knee injury; I’ll be on the bench for at least 6 weeks.

football/soccer expressions - on the bench

on the sidelines

meaning – not actively participating
example – Thomas has hurt his knee, so he’ll be on the sidelines today.

football/soccer expressions - on the sidelines meaning and example


meaning – persuade someone to support/agree with you
example – Once the council are onside, we can go ahead with the house extension.

football/soccer expressions - onside

tackle something

meaning – deal with a task/problem/issue
example – I’ll tackle the pile of paperwork on my desk after lunch.

football/soccer expressions - tackle something meaning and example

You can download a table of football/soccer idioms and expressions below.

If you’ve enjoyed this page, don’t forget to check out some more sports idioms by clicking on the links below.