Soccer: without the seemingly endless American baseball season, the adrenaline of basketball or the fiendish enthusiasm that fills so many living rooms during American football season, it might not be on our screens most of the time. But once every four years, the international soccer tournament washes over the entire globe, complete with a mascot, an anthem, and a roster of stellar players returning home to their birth teams from (usually) whichever European team they play on during regular season. This is one of those years.
Organized by the Swiss organization FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, this year’s World Cup will be held in Brazil from June 12-13. The FIFA itself is quite international, comprised of 310 or so people from 35 different nations. This reflects the tsunami effect that the World Cup has over many countries, primarily in Europe, Latin America, and Africa, where the airing of the daily game trumps everything, from business to commerce, to family life, to even sleep. At the World Cup, teams from powerful countries go head to head with teams of developing countries, and sometimes the latter are the victors. Players’ careers are often made or broken at the World Cup as it serves as the ultimate scouting arena for well-paying teams to hire rookie players from other parts of the world. As Lionel Messi, the top-ranked, record-breaking player from Argentina (who plays for Barcelona’s team during season) remarked, “You have to show up in the World Cup, and in the World Cup anything can happen.”
Taking over the world for a month means soccer can easily take over your remote. So while you might not care to develop a keen interest in the sport for life, here are some soccer terms to help you survive the soccer-filled summer unscathed (and you might even enjoy it!).
1. Bicycle Kick
As its name implies, this is when a player kicks the ball over his head, taking both feet off the ground and kicking in a pedaling motion. It is equivalent to doing a somersault as he kicks.