Spanish Sports Terms

Fútbol (foot-bvohl), el béisbol (ehl bvehees-bvohl) (baseball), tennis, swimming, and cycling are all popular sports in Latin America. A little Spanish vocabulary can help you discuss these sports and games, whether you’re watching or playing.

Fútbol: The most popular game

Fútbol, called soccer in North American English and football elsewhere, is the most popular game in Latin America This game is the talk of taverns, bars, and living rooms, and its stars are national heroes. We dare say there is more talk about fútbol in Latin America than about anything else. Following are some common fútbol terms:

  • el arquero (ehl ahr-keh-roh) (the goalkeeper [arco (ahr-koh) means “arch”])

  • la cancha (lah kahn-chah) (the playing field)

  • el defensa (ehl deh-fehn-sah) (the defense)

  • los delanteros (lohs deh-lahn-teh-rohs) (the forwards)

  • diverter (dee-bvehr-tehr) to amuse)

  • el equipo (ehl eh-kee-poh) (the team)

  • el estadio (ehl ehs-tah-deeoh) (the stadium)

  • ganar (gah-nahr) (to win)

  • el gol (ehl gohl) (the hit, goal)

  • el hincha (ehl een-chah) (the fan [hinchar (een-chahr) means “to inflate” or “to bloat”])

  • el jugador (ehl Hoo-gah-dohr) (the player)

Baseball is #2

El béisbol (ehl bvehees-bvohl) (baseball) is definitely the second most important ballgame (after fútbol) in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Following are a few terms related to béisbol:

  • batear (bvah-teh-ahr) (to bat)

  • la carrera (lah kah-rreh-rah) (the run, the race)

  • la goma (lah goh-mah) (the home base [Literally: the rubber])

Star tennis players

Many Latin Americans are in the top ranks of professional tennis stars. For example, Marcelo Rios took the number one men’s spot from Pete Sampras in 1998 (for a while, anyway). Following are a few tennis terms:

  • juego (Hoo-eh-goh) (the set)

  • la pista (lah pees-tah) (the court)

  • la raqueta (lah rah-keh-tah) (the racket)

Swimming and cycling terms

Swimming and cycling are other sports you’ll hear about in Latin America. The following vocabulary words relate to these activities:

  • el estilo (ehl ehs-tee-loh) (the style)

  • el estilo crol (ehl ehs-tee-loh krohl) (crawl stroke)

  • el estilo espalda (ehl ehs-tee-loh ehs-pahl-dah) (the backstroke)

  • el estilo pecho (ehl ehs-tee-loh peh-choh) (the breaststroke)

  • la bicicleta (lah bvee-see-kleh-tah) (the bicycle)

  • de carrera (deh kah-rreh-rah) (racing [kind])

  • la carrera (lah kah-rreh-rah) (the race)

  • el ciclismo (ehl see-klees-moh) (cycling)

  • la montaña (lah mohn-tah-nyah) (mountain)

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