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.

  • 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.
  • get/set 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • on the ball
    meaning – alert, focused, efficient
    example – You haven’t been on the ball recently. Are you having problems at home?
  • 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.
  • on the sidelines
    meaning – not actively participating
    example – Thomas has hurt his knee, so he’ll be on the sidelines today.
  • onside
    meaning – persuade someone to support/agree with you
    example – Once the council are onside, we can go ahead with the house extension.
  • tackle something
    meaning – deal with a task/problem/issue
    example – I’ll tackle the pile of paperwork on my desk after lunch.

football/soccer idioms and expressions with pictures

football/soccer idioms and expressions
football/soccer idioms - get a kick out of something
football/soccer idioms - get the ball rolling
football/soccer sayings - keep one’s eye on the ball
football/soccer sayings - keep the ball rolling
football/soccer sayings - kick off
football/soccer sayings - know the score
football/soccer sayings - move the goalposts
football/soccer sayings - on the ball
football/soccer expressions - on the bench
football/soccer expressions - on the sidelines
football/soccer expressions - onside
football/soccer expressions - tackle something

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.