After yesterday's triumphant US domination over Ghana in our stars and stripes' first match in the World Cup, it seems likely you, non soccer fan, have been bitten by the soccer bug.
Did you see that beautiful goal made by a head? Can you believe that guy got his nose broke and the fellow in the different uniform gave the other gentleman a card? Your heart is in the right places, but your mouth is fucking up.
Non soccer fan, if you want to walk the walk, you've got to talk the talk, and heaven knows you can't understand a damn word those limey announcers are saying. It's rare that we'll do you a solid twice in one week, but consider this one a freebie. Study hard.
ale - n. - You're drinking it. Maybe dial that one back a little.
ankle - n. - the joint on the body that connects the foot to the leg; the reason you claim you were never good at soccer
ass-hat - n. - anybody in your city who is wearing a knit soccer scarf in the middle of June
assist - v. - when a player sends a ball to his teammate, thereby creating a goal
backpass - v. - when a player passes the ball back to his team's goalkeeper. A goalkeeper is not allowed to deliberately handle the ball if the pass was intentional.
bar - n. - 1. a horizontal goalpost that connects two vertical goalposts
2. see: alehouse
best player - n. - This is Lionel Messi. He is the best player in the world.
bicycle kick - n. - Maybe Wayne Rooney can explain this one. Wayne?
boots - n. - These are soccer shoes with spikes in them for optimal tread on natural grass. There is no Astroturf at the World Cup, get the fuck out of here.
cap - n. - THIS ONE IS CONFUSING, STAY FOCUSED. A cap is not, as it should be, the limit to something, like the NBA's salary cap. It is also not a hat of any kind. It is instead recognition given to a player when they play an international game. For example: Didier Drogba has won over 100 caps for his home country, the Ivory Coast. It means country appearance, get it?
cards - n. - these belong to ref, do not fucking touch
club - n. - a team; where all of the Portugal National Team lives during the offseason
corner kick - n. - kick from the corner, also known as a set piece
dive - v. - FOR PUSSIES AND BABIES AND ITALIANS AND CRYERS; according to the New York Times, our inability to dive is what makes our good strong American boys so bad at soccer
dribble - v. - same as basketball but you use your foot
draw - n. - this is a tie; here is a servicey acrostic to help you remember what this means:
dummy - n. - all of us; not touching the ball in order to fool the other team. Here you see Thierry Henry pretending to move the ball toward the goal when really, he's not.
A much-deserved break for a limerick:
There once was a great goalie named Buffon
Not to be confused with buffoon
World Cup games were missed
Because of a soft ankle twist
And yet Italy still beat England
Europe - n. - where everything related to this sport is always happening; spring break and stuff
feint - v. - PSYCH (alt: sike, syke); rhymes with taint
FIFA - n. - The organization that brings you everything soccer-related from the World Cup to the horrible disgusting corruption that forced several of its primary figures to shamefully resign over the course of only three years. Its president is Soup Bladder and its acronym stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
football - n. - are you even reading this
formation - n. - the Kama Sutra of organizing your squad
goalkeeper - n. - protect the net; they wear different outfits
goal line - n. - If the ball crosses this line but the attacking team touched it last, a goal kick is awarded; if the ball crosses this line but the defending team touched it last, a corner kick is awarded. Lol, Beckham:
hacking - v. - when a dirty cheat comes at an opponent's shins
halves - n. - soccer is divided into two halves, like a sandwich; each half is 45 minutes long, also like a sandwich
hand ball - n. - don't ask me—ask Luis Suarez
header - n. - when one hits a ball with one's head
howler - n. - you done fucked up; rhymes with "growler"—see alehouse
Iran Men's National Team - n. - not to be underestimated, but probably not gonna win
Jules Rimet Trophy - n. - There's a really good 30 for 30 documentary on the Jules Rimet Trophy, which was stolen in 1966 and has never been found; it's rumored it was melted down into gold bars. The new trophy, which was introduced in 1974, will be caged in Louis Vuitton and presented by Gisele Bündchen because luxury is the key to succeeding at soccer.
Karl Ove Knausgård - n. - You've been seeing this guy's name everywhere, but who is he?!
keepy-uppy - n. - an affectionate term for juggling, which is any manner of keeping the ball above ground without using one's hands
linesman - n. - an assistant referee meant to keep track of offsides and throw-ins, terms that you cannot possible understand right now
lob - v. - kicking a ball so it is lofted into the air
loosey-goosey - adj. - the way you feel when you eat too much BBQ and your skinfat is indistinguishable from an obese baby's; soccer players have never felt this way because they are all below 1 percent body fat* (*unsubstantiated claim)
You've earned another well-deserved break, but this time to marvel at this awesome photograph of France's Mamadou Sakho mid-header:
marking - v. - the defensive act of picking a player to trail exclusively so that he may not score, assist in scoring, or do anything fun that he's getting paid to do
match - n. - game
Messi, Lionel - n. - see best player
midfielder - n. - the player on the field tasked with linking the offense and the defense; it's not much more complicated than that if you don't want it to be
Napa Valley - n. - when was the last time you went on a vacation?
nil - n. - zero, nothing, ziltch, one minus one; it literally just means nothing
nutmeg - v. - ahahahahahaha THIS IS THE ONE YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR, thanks for hanging around. To nutmeg is to deliberately kick a ball through an opponent's legs, only to then retrieve it on the other end. It is the most hilarious and humiliating thing in the world. Watch a full compilation video here.
off sides/off side - n. - Ugh how do I even explain this so you'll understand? The Washington Post did a nice job: "It's called when a player is closer to the opponent's goal than the ball or the penultimate defender." Don't worry about it. You'll get in time.
own goal - n. - you done goofed part II; when a player for the defending team puts a ball over his own goal line by accident
pitch - n. - a journalist's nightmare, an editor's nightmare, a footballer's home
penalty kick - n. - when the opposing team is given a penalty by the referee, the defending team is granted a penalty kick from the same spot
red card - n. - you fucked up SO BAD and now you're out of here. An important and obnoxious recent example:
Shrek - n. - see Wayne Rooney
shutout - n. - same as baseball; when a team does not concede any goals in a match
stoppage time - n. - the ref, king of the pitch, adds this to the clock; the clock never stops in soccer so any injuries or other reasons for delay of game get accounted for at the end of each half
striker - n. - the player whose purpose it is to make goals
sweeper - n. - the everyman position, the player who sweeps up everyone else's mess
throw-in - n. - when a player puts the ball over the sideline, a player on the opposing team may then throw the ball in with their hands but only from the spot where the ball went out of play
unlucky - adj. - you will hear English announcers say this over and over in response to plays that are generally considered worse than just "unlucky"
wall - n. - a line of men standing shoulder to shoulder to prevent a free kick from being scored; you will notice men protecting their balls here and you are permitted to laugh
"We Are One (Ole Ola)" - n. - the contender for the shittiest World Cup theme song ever made, though the sports blooper video series Deadspin disagrees.
yellow card - n. - 1. you get one of these flashed in your face if you're being an unsportsmanlike dick, grabbing on your opponent's jersey, as well as a number of other reasons; two yellow cards equals one red card and then you're ejected. 2. a late '00s Southern California pop punk band that featured a backflipping violin player
Zidane headbutt - n. - Zinedine Zidane, a legendary French footballer, headbutted Italian Marco Materazzi in the chest during the 2006 World Cup final; it was rumored that Materazzi was saying bad things about Zidane's mother, more specifically that Zidane was "the son of a terrorist whore"; it bears no relevance to this year's World Cup but it's a good GIF to keep in your back pocket
zzz - onomatopoeia - The sound of you sleeping through this entire list. Goodnight, sweet prince.
[Images via Vogue UK/AP]