spanish-sports-vocabulary

Spanish Sports Vocabulary: 66 Words and Phrases Every Athlete Needs to Know

When it comes to sports, the Spanish-speaking world is truly in a league of its own.

Spain and Latin America are famous worldwide for their legendary soccer teams.

Spanish speakers also dominate in a variety of other sports, ranging from tennis to volleyball.

If you’ve ever dreamed of playing a pick-up game of béisbol in the Dominican Republic or watching fútbol at a bar in Spain, we’re confident these words and phrases will help you reach your goooooool in no time.
 

 
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Why You Should Learn Spanish Sports Vocabulary

Uruguayan soccer player Luis Suárez once said, “In Latin America the border between soccer and politics is vague. There is a long list of governments that have fallen or been overthrown after the defeat of the national team.”

It is nearly impossible to overstate the cultural significance of fútbol. In societies that spent much of the 20th century divided by race and class, the “Beautiful Game” was a way to bring entire nations together in pursuit of a common interest.

Soccer remains a key part of the national cultures of many Spanish-speaking countries, but Spain and Latin America complement it with an astounding amount of athletic diversity. Baseball is the most popular sport in much of the Caribbean, for example, and basketball has been gaining popularity throughout much of Latin America in recent years.

Sports are an excellent entryway into the rich cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, and the 66 words and phrases on our list below are a great place to start.

How to Learn More Spanish Sports Vocabulary

The beautiful thing about learning a language is that it can be integrated into just about any hobby. Whether you love cooking, podcasts or crossword puzzles, it’s easy to make Spanish a part of your daily life.

In this sense, sports fans have plenty of options. You could watch soccer with legendary Spanish commentary, talk to a native speaker about your favorite team or even play an immersion-themed pickup game with fellow learners. The possibilities are truly endless! And not only will you be having fun, but you’ll be learning another language while doing it.

Univision Deportes regularly posts video clips and articles about international sports, as do FOX Deportes and ESPN Deportes. In addition to being a great way to practice your Spanish, these websites are a great way to learn more about the many sports teams of Latin America and Spain.

More in the mood for a sports-themed TV show? Check out “Club de Cuervos” (“Club of Crows”), the first-ever Spanish-language Netflix original series.

If you’re looking for sports content in an environment geared toward learners, look no further than FluentU! With real-world videos on just about every topic imaginable, FluentU offers an entertaining and innovative way to learn languages. You’ll find tons of sports-related videos in the FluentU Spanish library, covering everything from soccer matches to chats with Lionel Messi.

Spanish Sports Vocabulary: 66 Words and Phrases Every Athlete Needs to Know

Sports

Let’s start by reviewing the names of some popular sports. Most sports in Spanish are masculine nouns, so you shouldn’t have to strain too hard to remember the genders.

El fútbol — Soccer

El fútbol americano — Football

El béisbol — Baseball

El baloncesto — Basketball

El golf — Golf

El hockey — Hockey

El tenis — Tennis

El voleibol — Volleyball

If you want to say that you play one of these sports, you need to use the verb jugar followed by the preposition a and the name of the sport. In the present tense, jugar is a u ue stem-changing verb. This means that the conjugations are as follows:

Juego — I play

Juegas — You play

Juega — He/she plays

Jugamos — We play

Jugáis — You guys play

Juegan — They play

In the preterite tense, jugar is only irregular in the yo form, conjugated as yo jugué.

Now we’re ready to look at a few examples:

Juegan al fútbol en el parque todos los días. — They play soccer in the park every day.

Jugué al tenis ayer por un rato. — I played tennis for a while yesterday.

Just like in English, there are certain sports that are not “played,” and therefore have their own verbs associated with them:

Luchar — To wrestle/To fight

Correr — To run

Nadar — To swim

Esquiar — To ski

Where Sports Are Played

Now that we know how to say that we play some sports, we’re ready to talk about where we play them. Keep in mind that, to say that you’re at any of these locations, you need to use the verb estar.

La cancha — Field/Court

If you play it on a field or a court in English, you probably play it on a cancha in Spanish. Soccer field? La cancha de fútbol. Basketball court? La cancha de baloncesto.

La pista — Track/Rink

Another versatile word, pista usually means track or rink. In Spain, la pista de tenis can be used to refer to a tennis court, but in Latin America you’re better off sticking with la cancha de tenis.

La piscina — Pool

This is the standard way to refer to a swimming pool, and can either be interior (indoors) or al aire libre (outdoors).

Here are a few other sporting locations:

El campo de golf — Golf course

El estadio — Stadium

El gimnasio — Gym

Games

El partido — Game/Match

La carrera — Race

El torneo — Tournament

La Copa Mundial — World Cup

Los Juegos Olímpicos — The Olympic Games

Sports Equipment

La pelota — Ball

El disco — Puck/Disc

El arco — Goal

La red — Net

El bate — Bat

La raqueta — Racket

El guante de béisbol — Baseball glove

El casco — Helmet

Las espinilleras — Shin guards

Los zapatos de fútbol — Soccer cleats

Playing Sports

Patear — To kick

Saltar — To jump

Parar — To stop/To block

Balancear — To swing

Servir — To serve

Rematar / Remachar — To spike

Pegar — To hit

Driblar / Regatear — To dribble

Tirar — To throw

Agarrar — To catch

Ganar — To win

Perder — To lose

Empatar — To tie

Positions

El árbitro — Referee

El entrenador — Coach

El jugador — Player

El portero — Goalie

El defensa — Defender

El centrocampista — Midfielder

El delantero — Forward

El pícher / El lanzador — Pitcher

El receptor — Catcher

El primera base — First baseman

El campocorto — Shortstop

El jardinero — Outfielder

El base — Point guard

El escolta — Shooting guard

El alero — Small forward

El ala-pívot — Power forward

El pívot — Center

Questions About Sports

Many sports-related questions involve some form of the verb ir in the present tense. As a quick refresher, here are the conjugations:

Voy — I go

Vas — You go

Va — He goes

Vamos — We go

Váis — You guys go

Van — They go

Also, keep an eye out for some Spanish question words that might be familiar.

¿Con qué equipo vas? — Which team are you rooting for?

¿Cómo van? — What’s the score?

¿Quién va ganando? — Who’s winning?

It may feel strange to see the gerund following a verb that’s not estar, but native speakers frequently use ir to imply that the event in question is progressing over time. ¿Quién está ganando? is also a valid way to ask the question.

 

Getting better at Spanish is a lot like getting better at a sport. You need to practice, but it’s easy to have fun while doing so.

With some hard work and determination, you’ll be a pro in no time!

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.

Experience Spanish immersion online!

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.

Experience Spanish immersion online!

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