Chinese Language Blog

Let’s Talk Sports – Chinese Soccer Vocabulary Posted by on Jun 19, 2014 in Culture, Vocabulary

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you know that the biggest event in world sports is going on right now – the World Cup (世界杯 – shì jiè bēi). In America, we call it soccer, but the rest of the world knows this sport as football (足球 – zú qiú). In case you were wondering, in Chinese, the kind of football that’s popular in the USA is actually called “American style rugby” (美式橄榄球 – měi shì gǎn lǎn qiú). This year, the World Cup is going on in one of the biggest countries in the world for football – Brazil (巴西 – bā xī). Although the Chinese team did not make the cut (again), football is still wildly popular in China, and World Cup matches will be watched all over the country. This great article from Time talks about the woes of Chinese football, in case you’re interested.

The Chinese team takes a beating from the Thai team, as mentioned in the Time article.

Photo by Maggio7 from

Photo by Maggio7 from

To help you talk about this huge event with your Chinese colleagues or friends, here are 25 useful vocabulary words for talking about soccer/football in Chinese:

球场 – qiú chǎng

球员 – qiú yuán

教练 – jiào liàn

前场 – qián chǎng
front field

中场 – zhōng chǎng

后场 – hòu chǎng

守门员 – shǒu mén yuán

救球 – jiù qiú

队长 – duì zhǎng

开球 – kāi qiú

点球 – diǎn qiú
penalty kick

角球 – jiǎo qiú
corner kick

任意球 – rèn yì qiú
free kick

带球 – dài qiú

传球 – chuán qiú

射门 – shè mén

头球 – tóu qiú

掷界外球 – zhí jiè wài qiú

铲球 – chǎn qiú

裁判 – cái pàn

黄牌 – huáng pái
yellow card

红牌 – hóng pái
red card

半场 – bàn chǎng
half time

全场 – quán chǎng
full time

足球鞋 – zú qiú xié

For more Chinese practice talking about football, check out this recent episode of ChinesePod, which is all about the World Cup in Brazil.

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.

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