Meaning of GA, GF, GD, and Other Common Football Abbreviations

Updated on July 19, 2018
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Januaris is a freelance sports writer and soccer analyst. He specializes in football news and after-match analysis for sports portals.

According to my own observations, most soccer enthusiasts find it hard to understand football abbreviations and acronyms, especially the ones found in soccer league and World Cup tables. Almost all new football fans cannot understand the tables fully without consulting experienced soccer fans or getting assistance from the internet.

This article is about football abbreviations and acronyms and what they stand for. Read on to know the full meaning of GA, GF, GD, MP, FC, FIFA, Caps, Apps, VAR, and other terms.

Examples Of Football League Tables
Examples Of Football League Tables | Source

What Does GA, GF, and GD Mean in Football?

In brief, GA, GF, and GD stand for Goals Against, Goals For, and Goal Difference respectively. Other common terms like Apps and Caps mean Appearances (both), which are the number of times a player has played for their country (or club) or participated in a competition.

Soccer Table Abbreviations and Their Meaning

  • P, Pld – Played (i.e., number of matches or games played by a team).
  • MP – Matches Played (sometimes used in place of P, Pld).
  • W – Won (i.e., number of matches won).
  • D – Draw (i.e., number of times a team has finished a match with an even score or tie).
  • L – Loss (i.e., number of matches lost).
  • GS – Goals Scored
  • F, GF – Goals For (sometimes used in place of GS).
  • A, GA – Goals Against (i.e., number of goals conceded by a team).
  • GD – Goal Difference (i.e., difference between GF and GA, and sometimes denoted by +/-). According to the tables above, team B would win under the goal difference criterion.
  • PD – Points Difference (i.e., difference between GF and GA, and sometimes used in place of GD).
  • GAvg – Goal Average (i.e., GF divided by GA). According to the tables above, team A would win under the goal average criterion.
  • GR – Goal Ratio (i.e., GF divided by GA, and sometimes used in place of GAvg).
  • Pos – Position (sometimes denoted by #).
  • Pts – Points (i.e., total number of points earned by a team after playing a certain number of games). A team is awarded 3 points after winning a match or one point if the game ends as a draw or tie.

Brief Analysis of a Football League Table

Teams belonging to a certain league are ranked based on their total number of points and goal difference. This means that the team at the top of the table has the highest number of points while the team at the bottom has the lowest number of points.

If two teams have the same number of points, they are ranked based on the goal difference. The team with a superior goal difference is ranked on top of the other. If it happens that the two teams have the same number of points and same goal difference, the goals for (GF) or head-to-head performance is used to separate the two teams. Concerning the head-to-head performance, the team that scored more goals when the two teams met (home and away) gets a higher ranking.

In case you are new to football leagues, most leagues feature 10-20 teams. Considering the English Premier League has 20 member clubs, each team has to play 38 games (home and away matches) before the season ends. The total number of games played in the league per season is 380 and the maximum number of points a team can earn is 114.

2016-2017 EPL Table - Final Standings
2016-2017 EPL Table - Final Standings | Source

The table above shows Chelsea Football Club as the winners of the 2016/2017 English Premier League title. They finished the season with 93 points having won 30 matches, drawn three, and lost five. They scored 85 goals and conceded 33 which gave a goal difference of 52.

At the bottom side, Sunderland Football Club finished with 24 points after winning only six games, drawing six, and losing as many as 26. Their GF, GA, and GD were 29, 69, and -40 respectively.

In most leagues, the last three teams are relegated to a lower league division and are replaced by the top three teams from the lower division. For example, Sunderland FC, Middleborough FC, and Hull City FC were relegated and replaced by Newcastle FC, Brighton FC, and Huddersfield Town FC (play-offs winners) from the EFL Championship division.

The top teams in the major leagues qualify for major competitions. For example, Chelsea FC, Tottenham FC, Manchester City FC, and Liverpool FC qualified for the 2017/2018 European Champions League. The fifth, sixth, and seventh placed teams, which were Arsenal FC, Manchester United FC, and Everton, qualified for the Europa League, but Man United FC qualified for the Champions League after winning the 2016/2017 Europa League.

Other Soccer Abbreviations and Acronyms

Game-Related Abbreviations and Acronyms

  • A – Attack, Attacker, Assists
  • B – Back, Boots, Booter (i.e., kicker), Brace (i.e., one player scoring two goals), Box (i.e., rectangular area near the goal).
  • C – Center/Central, Corner, Cross, Coach, Clear (i.e., kick the ball out of the dangerous zone), Caution (i.e., referee uses yellow card to warn players).
  • D – Defender, Dribble
  • E – Elimination, Expulsion (i.e., referee uses red card to dismiss players).
  • F – Forward, Foul, Field, Final
  • G – Goal, Guard, Gloves
  • H – Home, Header, Head (i.e., kick with head).
  • I – Inside, Injury
  • J – Jersey
  • K – Kick, Kicker
  • M – Marker (i.e., man-to-man coverage).
  • N – Neutral
  • O – Outside, Offside, Obstruction (i.e., blocking opponent).
  • P – Penalty, Pitch, Period, Promotion, Possession, Punt (i.e., long pass towering in the air).
  • R – Right, Referee, Relegation
  • S – Suspension, Sponsor, Stands, Shot, Striker, Statistics, Save (i.e., done by goalkeeper to avoid conceding), Sweeper (i.e., player who kicks the ball to eliminate threat).
  • T – Tackle, Ticket, Ties, Time
  • U – Unofficial
  • V – Volley (i.e., mid-air kick).
  • W – Winger, Whistle

  • AB, AM – Abandoned Match, Armband
  • AC – Assistant Coach
  • AD – Away Draw
  • AF – Advanced Forward
  • AL – Away Loss
  • AM – Assistant Manager
  • AR – Assistant Referee, Advantage Rule (i.e., foul but the game doesn't stop).
  • AS – Aggregate Score (i.e., sum of home and away goals).
  • AT – Added Time
  • Av – Average
  • AW – Away Win
  • BC – Ball Carrier (i.e., player possessing the ball).
  • BH – Back Heel (i.e., when the ball is kicked using heel).
  • BK – Bicycle Kick (i.e., kicking the ball backward over the head).
  • BP – Back Pass, Ball Possession
  • BS – Beach Soccer
  • BW – Blow Whistle
  • Ca – Counterattack
  • Cb – Crossbar (i.e., a bar connecting goalposts).
  • CC – Club of the Century
  • DA – Development Award
  • CD – Central Defender
  • CF – Center-Forward, Corner Flag (i.e., flags placed at the four corners of the field).
  • CK – Corner Kick
  • CM – Central Midfielder
  • CP – Catches and Punches (i.e., used by goalkeeper on the ball to prevent conceding), Center Spot (i.e., kickoff place at the center of the field).
  • CS – Community Shield, Clean Sheets (I.e., for goalkeeper when he hasn’t been scored against).
  • DB – Dead Ball (i.e., when there is no play and the ball isn't moving).
  • DR – Dummy Run (i.e., running without the ball).
  • EJ – Ejections (i.e., number of red-carded players in a match or league).
  • ET – Extra Time
  • FA – Fan Award
  • FC – Fouls Committed, Football Club, Football Coach, Center Forward
  • FK – Free Kick
  • FM – Football Manager
  • FP – Far Post (i.e., goalpost furthest from the ball), Football Positions.
  • FS – Fouls Suffered, Fouls Sustained, Full Squad, Futsal (i.e., indoor football).
  • FT – Fullback, Full Time
  • Fr – Friendly
  • FW – FIFPro World11
  • GA – Goal Area, Goals Allowed, Goals Attempted
  • GG – Give and Go (also denoted by 1-2)
  • GK – Goalkeeper, Goal Kick
  • GL – Goal Line
  • GM – Goal Mouth (i.e., area closest to the goal).
  • GP – Games Played, Goal Post
  • GS – Games Started, Group Stages, Goal Scorer
  • GT – Goaltender (i.e., goalkeeper).
  • HA – Home and Away
  • HB – Halfback, Hand Ball (i.e., ball coming into contact with the hand which is also an offense).
  • HT – Half Time, Hat-Trick (i.e., one player scoring three goals).
  • In – Inswinger (i.e., curving kick).
  • JD – Jersey Designer
  • Ko – Kickoff (i.e., starting of the game).
  • LB – Left-Back, Loose Ball (i.e., when two opposing players are eligible to get the ball).
  • LM – Linesman (i.e., assistance referee).
  • LT – Livescore Table
  • Mf – Midfield, Midfielder
  • MO – Match Official
  • Np – Nearpost (i.e., goalpost nearest the ball).
  • NT – National Team
  • OT – Offside Trap (i.e., putting attacking players in an offside position).
  • OG – Own Goal
  • OS – Out Swinger (i.e., kick that moves away from the goal).
  • PA – Puskás Award, Penalty Kick Attempts
  • PG – Penalty Kick Goals
  • PK – Penalty Kick
  • PO – Penalty Spot, Playoff
  • PR - Positions Roles
  • PT – Prediction Table
  • QF – Quarter-Final
  • RB – Right-Back
  • RC – Red Card
  • SA – Save Average
  • SB – Score Board, Substitute
  • SF – Semi-Final
  • SG – Shots on Goal
  • Sh – Shots
  • SI – Sports Interactive
  • SL – Scoreline (i.e., match results being shown on a screen), Sideline (i.e., field border).
  • SK – Scissor Kick (i.e., kicking the ball forward while jumping up in the air), Spot-Kick (i.e., penalty kick).
  • SR – Save Ratio
  • SS – Shirt Sponsor
  • ST – Sliding Tackle
  • TD – Team Doctor
  • TF – Transfer Fee (i.e., selling price of a player).
  • TI – Throw In
  • TL – Touch Line (i.e., outside edge of the field).
  • TM – Target Man
  • TN – Team Name
  • TP – Through Pass, Team Physician, Toe Poke (i.e., kicking with the toe).
  • TO – Timeout
  • TS – Top Scorer
  • TW – Transfer Window
  • VF – Vanishing Foam (i.e., marker for free kicks).
  • VS – Versus, Vanishing Spray (i.e., marker for free kicks).
  • WP – Wide Play, Wide Player (i.e., wingers and fullbacks), Wall-Pass (i.e., give the ball and go).
  • WC – World Cup
  • YC – Yellow Card
  • ZD – Zone Defense (i.e., area occupied by defenders).

  • AET – After Extra Time
  • App (Apps) – Appearances (i.e., number of times a player appears for matches in a competition).
  • BIP – Ball In Play (i.e., when the ball is within the playing field).
  • Blk – Blocked (i.e., Blocked shots).
  • BMC – Best Men's Coach
  • BMP – Best Men's Player
  • BTB – Bending the Ball (i.e., causing the ball to follow a curved path).
  • BWC – Best Women's Coach
  • BWP – Best Women's Player
  • CPT – Captain
  • DFK – Direct Free Kick
  • DEF – Defense
  • DMf – Defensive Midfielder
  • FFB – Fifty-Fifty Ball (i.e., when opposing players cause equal impact on each other when going for the ball).
  • FSL – Football Scoring List
  • FTS – Failed to Score
  • GAA – Goals Allowed Average
  • GLT – Goal-Line Technology
  • GWA – Game Winning Assist
  • GWG – Game Winning Goal
  • Hat – Hat Trick (also denoted by HT, see above).
  • HTH – Head-to-Head
  • HMf – Holding Midfielder (i.e., player who plays in the front of the central defenders).
  • IFK – Indirect Free Kick
  • OFF – Offside
  • OTM – Overtime Minutes
  • OTL – Overtime Losses
  • OTW – Overtime Wins
  • MIN – Minutes

  • MMM – Man-to-Man Marking
  • MPK – Missed Penalty Kick
  • OTP – One-Touch Pass
  • Pct – Shooting Percentage (i.e., goals scored per shot on the goal).
  • PKS – Penalty Kicks Saves
  • PSO – Penalty Shootout
  • Rsl, Res – Result
  • SHO – Shutouts (i.e., given to the winning team if the opponents didn't score).
  • SOG – Shots on Goal
  • SOT – Shots on Target (sometimes used in place of SOG).
  • Stl – Steals (i.e., number of times a player has seized a ball from the opponent).
  • Sub – Substitution
  • TTB – Trapping the Ball (i.e., controlling the ball).
  • VAR – Video Assistant Referees

  • BOOP – Ball Out Of Play (i.e., when the ball is out of the playing field).
  • Caps – Appearances (i.e., number of times a player has played for their country).
  • COTM – Coach of the Month
  • Disc – Discipline
  • Mins – Minutes
  • POTC – Player of the Century
  • POTM – Player of the Match, Player of the Month
  • SPct – Save Shooting Percentage
  • WCDT – World Cup Dream Team
  • BTBMf – Box-to-Box Midfielder
  • WCATM – World Cup All-Time Team
  • WCOTY – World Coach of the Year
  • WPOTY – World Player of the Year

Football Associations' Abbreviations and Acronyms

  • BC – British Championship (i.e., a tournament).
  • D2 – Division 2
  • FA – The Football Association
  • FC – Football Club
  • IL – International League
  • MC – Major Cup
  • MT – Major Tournament
  • VI – Victory International
  • WI – Wartime International

  • AFC – Asian Football Confederation
  • EPL – English Premier League
  • FPA – Fair Play Award
  • FPC – Female Player of the Century
  • ICC – International Champions Cup
  • CAF – Confederation Africaine de Football
  • CFA – Chinese Football Association
  • CSA – Canadian Soccer League
  • CSL – Canadian Soccer League
  • ECF – European Championship Final (i.e., a tournament).
  • ECP – European Championship Preliminary (i.e., a competition).
  • EFL – English Football League
  • FUR – Football Union of Russia
  • ICC – International Champions Cup
  • MSL – Major Soccer League
  • NCS – National Championship Series
  • ODP – Olympic Development Program
  • OFC – Oceania Football Confederation
  • PDL – Premier Development League
  • PDL – Professional Development League
  • PDP – Player Development Program
  • PLS – Premier League Soccer
  • PSL – Premier Soccer League
  • PRO – Professional Referee Organization
  • SAC – South American Championship (i.e., finals tournament, also known as Copa América).
  • SPI – Soccer Power Index
  • TFC – The Football Confederation
  • TOA – Team Owners Association
  • TSE – Total Sports Experience
  • UEL – UEFA Europa League
  • UCL – UEFA Champions League
  • USA – United Soccer Association
  • USC – UEFA Super Cup
  • USL – United Soccer Leagues
  • WCF – World Cup Final (i.e., a tournament).
  • WCP – World Cup Preliminary (i.e., a competition).
  • WPS – Women’s Professional Soccer
  • WSF – Women’s Soccer Federation

  • APSL – American Professional Soccer League
  • AYSO – American Youth Soccer Organization
  • CISL – Continental Indoor Soccer League
  • ECNL – Elite Clubs National League
  • FCWC – FIFA Club World Cup
  • FFPS – Fun-Fair-Positive Soccer
  • FIFA – Fédération International de Football Association
  • FIRA – Federation of International Robot-soccer Association
  • ITSF – International Table Soccer Federation
  • LTPD – Long-Term Player Development
  • MISL – Major Indoor Soccer League
  • MUFC – Manchester United Football Club
  • NASL – North American Soccer League
  • NCSL – National Capital Soccer League
  • NPSL – National Professional Soccer League
  • NWSL – National Women’s Soccer League
  • SAFA – South African Football Association
  • UEFA – Union des Associations Européenes de Football
  • USFA – United States Football Association
  • USSF – United States Soccer Federation
  • WISL – World Indoor Soccer League
  • WPSL – Women’s Premier Soccer League
  • WUSA – Women’s United Soccer Association
  • CMISL – Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League
  • NSCAA – National Soccer Coaches Association of America
  • USASA – United States Adult Soccer Association
  • CONCACAF – Confederation of North, American and Caribbean Association Football
  • CONMEBOL – Confederación Sudamericana de Fūtbol

FIFA - The International Body That Governs Football.
FIFA - The International Body That Governs Football. | Source


Abbreviations and acronyms are quite many in the world of FIFA soccer, but these are the most common ones. All countries in the world have sports associations, and all the associations' names are abbreviated. So there are definitely thousands of sports-related abbreviations and acronyms out there.

Have you been finding it hard to understand football league tables?

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If you have some soccer abbreviations and synonyms not listed here, you can add them in the comments section below!


  • Mak K. "An Idiots Guide to Soccer and Soccer Gaming - Strategy Guide". Operation Sports. (2012).
  • Donaovon L. "Beginners Guide to Soccer". US Soccer Players (2017).
  • Jake D. "How to Play Soccer - Soccer Guide". The Complete Soccer Guide. (2015).
  • Amarikwa Q. "7 Essential Soccer Tips for Beginners". Perfect Soccer. (2016).
  • Ominsky D., Harari P.J. "Football Made Simple: A Spectator's Guide". Book. First Base Sports, Inc. (1994).
  • Nelson D. M. "Anatomy of a Game: Football, the Rules, and the Men Who Made the Game". Book. Associated University Presses. Newark. University of Delaware Press. (1996).

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