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10 Soccer Sayings You Didn’t Know Came from the Beautiful Game

Do you know what it means to ‘score an own goal’ or to ‘put one in the back of the net’? These are both soccer sayings that you’ve probably heard before, but did you know that they both come from the beautiful game? Soccer has been around for centuries, and its influence can be seen in many aspects of everyday life.

This blog post will explore 10 of the most common soccer sayings and where they originated from. From giving someone a ‘red card’ to ‘bouncing back from a loss’, you’ll learn how these phrases have become part of our everyday language. 

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1) Keep your eye on the ball

The phrase keep your eye on the ball is a classic sports idiom that has been used by athletes, coaches, and fans alike for many years. But where did it come from?
The saying can actually be traced back to soccer—specifically, the concept of tracking the ball in order to position yourself correctly during a game. The phrase is a reminder to stay focused on the ball at all times, as it’s the most important object on the field.

In the business world, this phrase can be used to remind team members to stay focused on their goals, rather than becoming distracted by other tasks or projects. It’s a reminder to keep working towards the big picture and to stay goal-oriented. It can also be used to encourage collaboration, as it emphasizes that everyone should work together to achieve success.

Ultimately, this soccer saying is a timeless reminder that staying focused and working together are key components of success. Whether you’re playing soccer or working on a business project, always keep your eye on the ball.

2) That’ll be the day

When we think of soccer, most of us think of great players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. But when it comes to words and phrases, soccer has also had its share of contributions. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the common soccer sayings you didn’t know came from the beautiful game.

The first phrase is That’ll be the day. This phrase, which can be used to express skepticism about something that seems unlikely to happen, originates from an old soccer saying. When someone predicted that a certain team would win, or a certain player would score a goal, fans would often reply with That’ll be the day as a way of expressing doubt.

Another popular phrase that was originally used in soccer is It’s all over bar the shouting. This expression can mean that something has come to an end, but that it’s too late to change the outcome. It originally described the feeling of relief a fan feels when the final whistle blows, signifying that their team has won the match. 

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Other phrases include Show me the money and On the double. These both have their origins in soccer as well. Show me the money was a phrase shouted by spectators when teams were being paid for playing matches. On the double was used to describe teams running faster than usual on the pitch in order to catch up with their opponents.

So the next time you hear one of these phrases, remember their soccer origins. They may have become commonplace in everyday speech, but their roots are still firmly planted in the beautiful game.

3) On the ball

Soccer has been a beloved game around the world for centuries, and it has been the source of some truly unique sayings that have become popular in everyday life. One such phrase is on the ball, which is a soccer idiom used to describe someone who is paying attention, prepared, and knows what they’re doing. In business, it’s often used to describe someone who is up to date on their projects and is able to complete tasks quickly and accurately. In sport, it’s used to refer to a player who is alert and in control of the ball. Knowing when and how to use these phrases can help you communicate better in both the business and sports worlds.

4) Play by the rules

When it comes to sports, the phrase play by the rules is used often. It is a reminder to athletes and teams that they must adhere to the regulations and laws of the sport. Even if this means that it might be difficult to win, or that it will take more effort to achieve success, playing fair and following the rules is essential. 

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But the phrase play by the rules is not just confined to the world of sports. This expression is also commonly used in the business world, where it can also have a strong impact. In a professional setting, playing by the rules is a reminder to employees and executives that they must adhere to all applicable laws and regulations while running a company. It means playing it safe and not taking any unnecessary risks which could have a negative impact on the company.

In the end, playing by the rules is an important concept for both sports and business. By ensuring that everyone involved is following the proper guidelines, organizations can create a level playing field for all parties and strive for successful outcomes.

5) Get a leg up

When talking about the game of soccer, there are some phrases and sayings that you may not have known originated in the beautiful game. While many of them are still associated with soccer today, they have become more widely used in everyday life and the business world.

One phrase that has become a mainstay is getting a leg up. This expression dates back to early football, when players were allowed to kick an opponent’s legs to knock them off balance. Today, this phrase has taken on a broader meaning, referring to any situation where someone gets an advantage or takes the lead.

For example, if you and your team are competing for a project, you might say that you are getting a leg up if you manage to get access to valuable information that your competitors don’t have. In the sports world, a team that’s able to gain an advantage by making better tactical decisions can also be said to be getting a leg up.

In either case, this phrase is a great reminder that in order to stay ahead in any competition, you need to stay one step ahead of the competition. By being creative and capitalizing on any advantages you may have, you can give yourself the best chance of succeeding.

6) level playing field

Level playing field is one of the most common sports idioms to have made its way into everyday conversations. This saying comes from the game of soccer, where both teams are given an equal opportunity to compete and demonstrate their skills. A level playing field means that all participants in the competition are on an equal footing, with no advantage given to any side.

The phrase is often used to refer to situations outside of the sports arena, such as in the business world. For example, it can be used to describe a workplace environment where everyone has equal access to resources and opportunities. It is also often used to discuss political or social issues, such as ensuring fairness and equality for all citizens regardless of their gender, race, or economic status.

When it comes to soccer, a level playing field means that both teams have an equal chance of winning and no one side has an unfair advantage. This could be due to better coaching, equipment, or players. It is important that all teams have access to the same resources in order for the competition to be fair.

This phrase is an important part of soccer and many other sports. It emphasizes that every player deserves a fair chance and that no one should be disadvantaged due to factors beyond their control. By creating a level playing field, athletes can truly demonstrate their skills and show what they are capable of achieving.

7) above board

The phrase above board is a popular sports idiom that has become widely used in the business world. It originates from the game of soccer, where it was used to describe a situation where all players were on the same level, not hiding anything from each other. In business, this phrase is used to indicate that everything is transparent and above reproach.

It’s easy to understand why this phrase has become so popular. We all want to work in an honest, open environment where everyone is on the same page. When business partners know they are working above board, it creates a sense of security and trust that leads to better cooperation and productivity.

This phrase is often used in combination with other sports idioms, such as play by the rules or toe the line. As such, it serves as a reminder that we should be open and honest with our business partners and always act with integrity. By using this phrase, we can remind ourselves to stay above reproach in all our dealings and strive for a fair, honest, and successful working environment.

8) in the same boat

In the same boat is a common soccer saying that has been used in other contexts as well. This phrase is most often used to describe a situation where two people are in the same challenging position. It can also be used to express empathy or understanding when someone else is going through a difficult time.

This idiom originated during the era of sailing ships when sailors were all in the same precarious situation and had to work together to survive and make it to their destination. Over time, the phrase has come to mean any situation where two people share a common goal or challenge.

In the world of soccer, this phrase often refers to two teams that are both struggling to win games or reach a certain level of success. It can also be used to describe two players that are both in a similar position within a team, such as competing for the same spot on the starting lineup.

No matter what context it is used in, in the same boat conveys the idea of solidarity and understanding when two people are going through similar experiences.

9) I’m all ears

The phrase I’m all ears has become a common idiom that is used in many different contexts. While it is often used in sports, it is even more widely used in the business world.
In sports, this phrase is often used to express readiness and alertness. For example, when a soccer coach calls for his players to listen, he might say I’m all ears to indicate that he is ready to hear what they have to say. Another way this phrase is commonly used in sports is when one athlete tells another athlete something, the other might reply I’m all ears as an expression of interest.

In the business world, I’m all ears is often used to show a willingness to learn or take on new ideas and concepts. For example, if a manager is discussing a new strategy with their team, they might use the phrase I’m all ears to indicate they are open to hearing any thoughts or opinions that the team members may have. It can also be used when someone is willing to listen to someone else’s problems and provide solutions or advice.

Overall, I’m all ears is a useful phrase that can be used in many different contexts. Whether it’s being used in sports or business, it indicates openness and attentiveness.

10) back to the drawing board

The idiom back to the drawing board is used to express the idea that a plan or process needs to be reevaluated and reconsidered, usually because it was unsuccessful or not quite right. This phrase is often used in both business and sports settings.

In business, back to the drawing board can be used to suggest that an idea or concept needs to be revisited and altered. For example, if a company launches a product and it does not turn out as expected, the team might go back to the drawing board to revise their strategy for the product.

In sports, this idiom is often used to suggest that the current game plan needs to be revised. For example, if a football team is struggling to score, their coach might call a timeout to regroup and tell the team to go back to the drawing board for the next play.

Ultimately, the phrase back to the drawing board is used to acknowledge that an existing plan has not worked and that it is time to come up with a new one.

This was written by me. Bryce Purnell, founder of Learn Laugh Speak. Check out more on my Medium or send me an email if you’re ever curious about anything at all!

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