If you’ve been watching the World Cup on ESPN you’ve no doubt realized that many of their lead commentators have British accents. On major matches you’ll hear Martin Tyler, a legend of British soccer broadcasting since the 1970s. I applaud ESPN for hiring the best of the best when it comes to commentary on World Cup football.
I’m sure to untrained ears there are many terms that Tyler uses that will be a mystery to American perception of sports commentary. Here is your guide to making Martin Tyler’s terms more palatable to American brains.
When Tyler uses the term “Premiership” he refers to the English Premier League. This is one of the top football (not soccer) leagues in the world that has some of the highest paid players from all over the world. What’s special about these high paying leagues is that they bring the best talent from every corner of the globe.
Many famous players that currently play in the league are England’s Wayne Rooney, the Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, and the United States’ netminder Tim Howard. Former Premier League stars include David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Relegation isn’t some fancy term for a group of people sent out to meet someone at the front gate of a foreign embassy. In the English Premier League there is only room for twenty of the top teams. In the next lower league, the top three teams of that previous season get promoted to play in the Premier League which is the top league in English football.
Relegation refers to what happens to the lowest three teams in the league in the standings at the end of the season. Those teams are relegated to the lower division and play there for a year to try to earn their way back into the top league.
This is my favorite football term of all. When I played defense for ten years it my lone task on the field to dispossess the attacking team. No, it doesn’t mean we had an exorcism on the field to expel demons from the soccer ball.
Dispossess means a player had the ball taken away from them singularly by another player. This commonly happens when a soccer player is dribbling the ball down the field and a defensive player steals the ball away and then dribbles the ball up the field in the opposite direction leaving the previously offensive player to suddenly play defense.
There are many other terms I’ve left out because the vocabulary of English football announcers is immense. This should give you a good idea of what to expect when you watch the USA advance.