"Let's X to play football"

can I replace X with a verb (or phrase)?

I was thinking of teamup (or is it team-up?) but I think it is used when we are already split and we want to be one team.

  • 1
    Hi, and welcome to EL&U. In the US, we say, "Let's split up to play football." No more, no less. Jan 2, 2014 at 9:40

3 Answers 3


After years of playing informal sports, I can virtually assure you that the most appropriate phrase (in the US) would be to "pick teams"

pick verb 2b : choose, select

also please note

pickup noun 6: a pickup game playing pickup

Technically, it would seem that forming teams would be more correct, as there may not be a leader with absolute authority who does the picking. However, I think a brief internet search of "pick teams" vs. "form teams" will confirm that the former is certainly more popular than the latter regardless of technical accuracy.

from m-w.com

  • as much as I love single-word requests, I agree with @Mitch here.
    – Jack Ryan
    Jan 2, 2014 at 14:27

Indeed; 'team up' is used to indicate that a single team is being formed, often of potential adversaries. I do not know of a single word for the meaning you seek extemporaneously, but I suggest "form teams".

  • thanks, but one word always preferable.
    – Abd
    Jan 2, 2014 at 9:01
  • 1
    @user61137 This is one rule I've never heard. Why are the so-called 'phrasal verbs' so popular then? 'He took off the Prime Minister to a tee' / ??'He impersonated the Prime Minister to a tee'. He was sent off / ?dispatched. They kicked off / (?) started. They had built up (/ (?) amassed) a substantial lead by half time. Please look after / (?) tend grandad. Jan 2, 2014 at 9:35
  • @EdwinAshworth - when you put it that way, it's clear why they are popular. It requires less of a vocabulary. Jan 2, 2014 at 9:39
  • 3
    Why is one word preferable?
    – Mitch
    Jan 2, 2014 at 12:25
  • 1
    @Mitch It reduces the world demand for ink!
    – WS2
    Jan 2, 2014 at 12:26

Neither of 'Let's split to play football', nor 'Let's split-up to play football' would work very well in the UK. When we were children (a long time ago) we would say 'Let's pick-up teams for football'. Two persons would be selected (don't ask me how) as captains and then each in turn would select one player. (You always felt dreadful if you were the last man standing).

I have just asked my 8-year old grandson who lives in Manchester which considers itself the world capital of football. (Though the denizens of Rio, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Munich and London, to say nothing of Liverpool and Glasgow, may disagree). He says that he and his friends say 'Let's make teams'. But in selecting the teams, he tells me, they will use a system called 'ghost and numbers'. One person is the 'ghost' and he stands with his back to the others who are each given a number. The ghost does not know which numbers apply to each person, and will shout out the numbers for each team. My grandson thinks this is 'fairer' than selecting two captains. And I am encouraged by the fact that two generations below me they still give priority to 'fairness'.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.