This post is going to be all about the goal. The goal area, goalie, net, posts, and, well, goals. It’s always important to have goals in life, and it’s especially important to have goals in a soccer game, seeing as they’re kind of the point. So, let’s give that region of the soccer field some love.
A goalie or goalkeeper is usually an arquero or a portero. Guardameta is also used with semi-regularity. Here in Colombia, I mostly hear arquero. Arquero seems to be the norm in most of South America; portero is more common in Spain and Mexico. Central America? The Caribbean? Equatorial Guinea? I don’t know. Words that also exist but that aren’t nearly as common include guardavallas, guardapalos, cuidapalos, golero, cancerbero, and meta. Cancerbero has nothing to do with cancer; it’s actually the combination of can– (dog, as in canine) + Cerbero (Cerberus, the mythological 3-headed hellhound that guards the entrance to the underworld). I like to imagine goalies giving themselves that pep talk as they step into position: I am Cerberus; I will guard this space like 3-headed ferocious dog guarding the gates of Hades; if anyone tries to enter I’ll bite their freaking head off! If Luis Suárez was a goalie, maybe he could have used this as his defense last week. Hey, I thought I was Cerberus! You guys don’t want me to bite, maybe you should think twice before you call me a 3-headed fanged beast. Except he’s a forward, so yeah. No excuses.
Those are nine ways of saying goalie, but what do you call the actual goal area? Well, you can find the many ways in the words above. The goal can be the arco, arquería, puerta, portería, meta, valla, los tres palos, or the casamata. Portería is what I hear most.
The posts or bars? I mostly know them as the palos, but they can also be called los postes or la madera. The horizontal crossbar can be called the travesaño, larguero, or horizontal (with the vertical bars being verticales).
Do you know how to say to bounce off something? It’s rebotar en algo. So, if the ball bounces off the posts, you say rebotó en los palos. Whenever this happens, there is sure to be cursing on one side and sighs of relief on the other.
The net is la red, sometimes la malla.
To score a goal is marcar un gol. You can also say hacer un gol, meter un gol, or anotar un gol. If you’re a journalist, you might write golear, though this doesn’t mean to score an individual goal per se, but rather for a team to score a lot of goals, for them to win handily. Colombia goleó a Brasil 4 a 1. Look for this one tonight!!! (This is actually the score I’m betting on for my polla– sports bet.)
And how about when a goalie blocks a goal or performs a save? The most common and colloquial ways of saying this seem to be tapar, parar, and atajar un gol. Atajar was a brand new one for me, but I’ve heard it several times lately; WordReference says to stop, intercept; to catch, catch in flight. ¡Qué atajada! What a save! Or, ¡Qué parada! Feel free to also bandy about verbs like detener, impedir, evitar, rechazar, bloquear, and blocar. Apparently, salvar un gol is used in some countries, but rejected in others as an overly literal translation from English. Despejar would be like to clear the ball, getting it the heck out of there by whatever means necessary.
Any more goal vocab? Oh, I just thought of one. In journalism, goals are often referred to as tantos. Supplement me, correct me, pillory me, love me in the comments. And tune in tomorrow at 4 p.m. U.S. Eastern time to watch the Colombia-Brazil game and cheer us on! It’s going to be epic, and we need your support! ¡Vamos Colombia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rodney’s latest post has lots of soccer vocab as well, so be sure to check it out. I didn’t know the Mexican phrase, ¿Quién es tu gallo? Pues, ¡mi gallo es Colombia! ¿Quién lo iba a pensar?