I'm looking for the translation of the soccer term that in Portuguese we use as "disarm". It is the action of taking the ball from the opponent player or when the player with the ball attempts to trick the opponent and loses the ball.

  • I'm thinking about accepting Bill's answer as I'm looking more for a noun or adjective rather than a verb (sorry for not mentioning this before). I'm looking for a way to express the ability of someone to steal the ball, so I could classify the player in a chart, like "strength = high, speed = low, dribble = high, tackle = high"... I'm interested in the differences between UK and USA, I mentioned soccer because I was afraid of someone thinking about American football. – Roberto Aug 16 '11 at 21:12
  • Challenge could also be what you're looking for. coachingsoccer101.com/glossary.htm – RGW1976 Aug 16 '11 at 23:22
  • @Roberto You may want to consider using gerunds to describe the ability: dribbling, tackling, etc. – ghoppe Aug 17 '11 at 3:19

The action of attempting to take the ball from the opponent player is called "tackling". However, I do not know of any single word describing losing the ball, except for "losing the ball".

  • +1 – Using your feet to steal the ball from the opponent is called "tackling". It could be a successful tackle or unsuccessful one. Or a particularly bad one that causes a foul. :) – ghoppe Aug 17 '11 at 3:22
  • Note that the word "tackle" is used in other sports like Aussie Rules and Rugby and, while the aim of the tackle is to "take possession of the ball", it often results in the opponent losing possession of the ball to a penalty or another player. – Bill Aug 17 '11 at 10:52

"Steal" would be the most appropriate word based on the context you are using it in.

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary lists the following definition when using "steal" as a transitive verb:

a : to seize, gain, or win by trickery, skill, or daring b of a base runner : to reach (a base) safely solely by running and usually catching the opposing team off guard

For soccer purposes: "Kaka stole the ball from Beckham and is streaking up field!"

How Kaka came to gain possession of the ball - whether Beckham had lost it while attempting to make a fancy play or if Kaka had simply run up to Beckham and kicked the ball out from under his feet - the result is the same. Beckham had the ball until Kaka took it from him.


"Steal" is used in American English (which might be what you're after as you asked about "soccer"). In British English, dispossess would be more common.

deprive (a player) of the ball

There is also the phrase "caught in possession", but that describes a player with the ball that didn't notice an approaching opponent who then dispossessed him.

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    Your answer is a few seconds younger than my similar one. Perhaps you could combine the two and then I will delete mine? – z7sg Ѫ Aug 16 '11 at 15:16
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    I think "steal" would be more common than "dispossess" in UK as well. – Colin Fine Aug 16 '11 at 17:08
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    @Colin I don't agree, it's one of the commentators' favourite words. It's in the BNC: "Pearce intelligent ball for Phillips back in it goes to Collimore and a header down drops to Crosby Thomson arrives to dispossess him and knocks it first time for Jochim. Good work by Chettle. " – z7sg Ѫ Aug 16 '11 at 18:34
  • @z7sg: I'm not a devotee of sports writing (or sports) so I withdraw from the discussion. – Colin Fine Aug 17 '11 at 13:40

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