What does "P" Mean in Soccer? A Guide to Common Abbreviations and Statistics - 33rd Square (2024)

The letter "P" is used to represent a variety of important terms, stats, and abbreviations in the world of soccer/football. Depending on the context, it can stand for everything from a goalkeeper‘s punt to a team‘s total points. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the main uses of "P" and other key abbreviations that fans should know.

Summary of Main Uses of "P"

Before diving into more detail, here is a quick summary of the major meanings of "P" in soccer:

  • Punts (P) – When a goalkeeper punts or kicks the ball back into play from their hands.
  • Points (Pts or Pts) – The number of points a team has earned from winning/drawing matches.
  • Powerplay (PP) – A period when one team has a numerical advantage in players.
  • Probable (P) – Player injury designation meaning they are likely to play.
  • Pushin‘ P – Slang term meaning living the high life.

Punts (P)

One of the most common uses of "P" in soccer statistics is to represent the number of punts by a goalkeeper. A punt occurs when the goalkeeper kicks or "punts" the ball back into active play from their hands.

Punts demonstrate a goalkeeper‘s leg strength and distribution ability. Top keepers like Manuel Neuer can launch pinpoint 40-50 yard punts to begin attacks. However, excessive punting can also surrender possession cheaply. The best goalies choose wisely when to roll, throw, or punt the ball.

Here is an example punt by David de Gea of Manchester United:

What does "P" Mean in Soccer? A Guide to Common Abbreviations and Statistics - 33rd Square (1)

David de Gea punting the ball during a Premier League match

Punt statistics can reveal a keeper‘s style and teams‘ tactical approaches. In the 2021/22 English Premier League season, goalkeepers made the following number of punts on average per 90 minutes:

GoalkeeperTeamPunts per 90
José SáWolves10.02
Illan MeslierLeeds United8.97
David de GeaManchester United8.55

This shows José Sá punted the most often, reflecting Wolves‘ tendency to go long from his Distribution. In contrast, goalkeepers like Ederson who play for possession-focused sides like Manchester City punt less frequently.

Points (Pts/P)

Another very common use of "P" is to represent the number of points a team has accrued. Teams earn points based on their match results:

  • Win: 3 Points
  • Draw: 1 Point
  • Loss: 0 Points

Points are often represented in tables and statistics as "Pts" or just "P". The more points a team gains, the higher they rank in their league table.

For example, here are the points totals in Spain‘s La Liga table halfway through the 2022/23 season:

2Real Madrid38
3Real Sociedad31

Barcelona lead with 41 points from their matches so far. Trailing teams want to catch up in points to get promoted or qualify for cup competitions.

Points and points per game can reveal a team‘s consistency. The top teams earn 2+ points per game on average by winning more often than drawing/losing.

Powerplay (PP)

A powerplay or "PP" represents a temporary numerical advantage where one team has more players on the field than the opposition. Powerplays usually last 1-2 minutes.

Powerplays occur when the referee penalizes the opposition by giving a:

  • Straight red card (ejected)
  • Second yellow card (ejected)
  • Temporary yellow card (sin bin)

The powerplay ends when the penalty time expires or the opposition concedes a goal. Teams aim to capitalize on powerplays by increasing their offense. Skilled powerplay units use short passing and movement to create scoring chances against the undermanned defense.

Here is an example powerplay goal by Robert Lewandowski of Barcelona against Viktoria Plzen:

What does "P" Mean in Soccer? A Guide to Common Abbreviations and Statistics - 33rd Square (2)

Robert Lewandowski scores during a Champions League powerplay

Powerplay conversion percentage is important for evaluating a team‘s effectiveness when they have a numbers advantage. The 2022 German Bundesliga had the following powerplay conversion rates:

TeamPowerplay GoalsPowerplay ChancesConversion %
Bayern Munich124228.6%
Borussia Dortmund103627.8%
Union Berlin42218.2%

Bayern Munich converted over 28% of their powerplays into goals – nearly double Union Berlin‘s rate.

Probable (P) – Player Injury Designation

"P" can also designate a player‘s injury status as "Probable". Clubs publish injury reports before matches indicating if players are probable, questionable, or out. For example:

Chelsea FC Injury Report

  • N‘Golo Kante – Out (thigh)
  • Jorginho – Questionable (foot)
  • Mason Mount – Probable (P) (illness)

Probable means a player has a very strong chance of featuring in the match. It indicates minor injuries or illnesses that should not hold them out of action. Players listed as questionable or out are unlikely to be risked.

Knowing probable designations helps fans and coaches predict starting XIs and substitutions. If key players are less than 100%, managers may opt to rest them or limit their minutes.

Pushin‘ P – Slang Meaning "Living the High Life"

Outside of soccer statistics, "P" is used in the slang term "pushin‘ P" meaning living the good life or enjoying success. The phrase became popularized in rap/hip-hop culture before crossing over more mainstream.

Here are some examples of how "pushin‘ P" is used in a soccer context:

  • The star player left on his private jet after signing a massive contract. He‘s really pushin‘ P now making millions per year!
  • Ever since their Champions League victory, the whole club has been pushin‘ P – hosting lavish trophy celebrations and signing new sponsorship deals.
  • With his recentBallon d‘Or win and slick new fashion line, that striker is pushin‘ P harder than ever!

So in summary, while "P" has many statistical meanings in soccer, players and teams can also metaphorically "push P" by enjoying success and the lavish lifestyle that comes with it. The term signifies making it big and living large.

Other Soccer Abbreviations and Terms

Beyond just "P", here are some other common soccer abbreviations and terms to know:

Pk/Pen – Penalty kick

PG – Point guard. A player designation used in futsal or informal indoor soccer.

Pld – Played. Represents games played by a team or player.

A – Assist. Pass leading directly to a goal scored.

GG – Good game. Said to congratulate opponents on a well-played match.

W – Win. A match victory worth 3 points.

D/Dr – Draw. A tied match worth 1 point each.

L – Loss. A match defeat worth 0 points.

PKT – Penalty kicks. Used to decide drawn cup matches.

GA – Goals against. Goals conceded by a team.

GF – Goals for. Goals scored by a team.

GD – Goal difference. Goals scored minus goals allowed.

GK – Goalkeeper. The designated goalie position.

MOTM – Man of the match. Best performing player.

Positions, Formations, and Tactics

Beyond stats, "P" can also relate to positions, formations, and tactics in soccer:


ST – Striker
SS – Second striker
LW – Left winger
RW – Right winger
AM – Attacking midfielder
CM – Center midfielder
DM – Defensive midfielder
LB – Left back
CB – Center back
RB – Right back


The numbers represent the number of players in each positional group. For example:

4-4-2 – Four defenders, four midfielders, two strikers
4-3-3 – Four defenders, three midfielders, three strikers


PP – Powerplay
TM – Timewasting
OA – Offside trap
PR – Pressing
OT – One touch passing
CH – Counterattack

Managers combine positions, formations, and tactics to create styles of play. Tactical adjustments can make the difference between winning and losing tight matches.

Origins of Soccer Statistics and Abbreviations

Soccer statistics and abbreviations evolved over decades as the sport professionalized. League tables listing results first appeared in English newspapers in the 1890s. Detailed stats like possession, passing accuracy, and tackles/interceptions arose later as data tracking tech improved.

Abbreviations developed to succinctly fit vital info into match reports and statistical summaries. Soccer writer Charles Buchan first compiled an "Alphabetical Guide to Football" in the 1920s defining key terms like "W" for wins and "G" for goals scored.

As soccer globalized, statistical language converged across different countries and languages. "PK" means penalty kick whether you speak Spanish, French, or Japanese. Shared abbreviations help fans and media analyze the game across borders.

While the statistical side of soccer continues advancing, the core abbreviations and metrics like points, goals, and assists remain integral to measuring team and player success.

Examples From Top Competitions

To see these key terms in action, let‘s look at some examples from the highest levels and most watched competitions:

UEFA Champions League

In the 2021/22 Champions League Final, Real Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0 courtesy of a PG (point guard) assist leading to a match-winning G (goal). The Reds pushed for an equalizer but could not convert their late C (corners) and FK (free kicks).

Overall, Real Madrid‘s 14 Goals For (GF) edged out Liverpool‘s 13 GF on their way to European glory. Madrid‘s solid defense only allowed 8 Goals Against (GA) total across the whole UCL campaign.

English Premier League

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool won the 2021/22 Premier League Golden Boot with 23 G (goals), also chipping in 7 A (assists) – the most of any EPL player. Defensively, Manchester City‘s Ederson claimed the GG (Golden Glove) with 20 CS (clean sheets).

In the title race, Man City‘s relentless consistency saw them Pushin‘ P with 94 Pts from 38 Pld (played). Liverpool came close with 92 Pts but fell just short of the trophy.

FIFA World Cup

At the 2018 World Cup, England captain Harry Kane pushed the letter P by winning the Golden Boot with 6 G (goals), including 3 Pk (penalty kick) conversions on England‘s run to the semi-finals. France lived the P life with their second World Cup title, powered by the young star Kylian Mbappé‘s 4 G, including 1 GG (goal in the final) against Croatia.

The next World Cup offers another chance for emerging players and national teams to start Pushin‘ P on soccer‘s biggest stage. The future soccer stars not yet known to fans worldwide will hope this World Cup launches them into the spotlight by filling up the box scores.


Hopefully this guide gave you a fuller understanding of the importance and variety of meanings of "P" in soccer statistics and lingo. While the letter may seem inconsequential, it contains multitudes – from punts to powerplays to pushin‘ P!

Mastering these common abbreviations and terms provides a great foundation for any soccer fan looking to better comprehend the game and engage with other knowledgeable supporters. So next time you see a "P" in a match report or hear commentators mention it, you‘ll know exactly what is being referred to.

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