What Does CS Mean in Soccer?

Soccer isn’t just about scoring goals.

Participating players also have to defend their own territory in order to prevent the opposition from making successful attacks.

The game is all about striking the right balance between offense and defense, which a lot of people tend to forget.

Now, when it comes to the topic of defense, soccer analysts utilize certain metrics to make interesting comparisons between players and teams, as well as to evaluate overall performance effectiveness.

One of these statistics is referred to as the “CS”.

If you’re new to the sport, it’s unlikely that you’ll have heard of the term.

But worry not!

This article has been written to solve the mystery puzzle of what CS means in soccer.

So, let’s get straight to the answer…

CS stands for “Clean Sheet” in soccer. It basically means that one team successfully managed to prevent an opposing side from scoring a goal during a match.

The expression is more significant for goalkeepers, particularly because they play a pivotal role in preventing the concession of goals during a soccer game.

Now, a quick Google of its meaning will probably show you that a cup competition called the Community Shield is also referred to using the CS shorthand.

But that reference is in fact very rare – and in most cases unheard of – within the sport’s commentary circles and wider lexicon.


Where did the term “CS” originate from?

Funnily enough, there is no officially documented time period where the CS label is said to have popped up from.

But it’s relatively easy to understand the hidden context behind the word.

You see, a clean sheet essentially means that you have a record obtained without blemish.

It’s clean for all to see!

Now, let me explain this concept using an interesting analogy.

Babies typically wet the bed when they sleep at night.

Due to the slower than normal development of a child’s central nervous system, a baby has a reduced ability to control when they empty their bladder.

So, when a baby falls asleep there’s a decent chance that their bladder will let loose during the night.

And the same can be said for their bowels!

When such events happen, the bed sheets end up in a state that’s far from clean.

Commentators gradually picked up on this phrase and began using it to refer to goalkeeper performance.

what CS means in soccer - clean sheet

The shot-stoppers who managed not to “shit the bed” during matches would get a clean sheet award at the end of it.

By preventing the opposition from scoring goals, a goalkeeper is able to keep their goal net untouched.

This exact type of perfection exemplifies how clean sheets came to be, and it also explains where the CS shorthand came from as well.


Which goalkeeper currently has the most CS awards in soccer?

To answer this question, we need to go back to the record books of the sport.

According to the World Football Historic Center, a goalkeeper called Ray Clemence garnered the most CS awards in the history of the game.

He amassed 460 clean sheets throughout the course of his entire professional career.

The man was well known for his largely successful stint at the English side Liverpool, where he helped the side lift both domestic and European trophies.

The video below pays a small tribute to the goalkeeper who contributed so much to the game:


What does CS stand for in FIFA?

You may think the meaning of the CS term changes when it’s used in a video game, but this is far from the case!

A CS in FIFA still refers to a “clean sheet”.

However, the console game uses the expression in a much wider team context.

The image above explains why.

You can see from this screenshot of the 2014 FIFA World Cup video game that outfield players are awarded clean sheets when their team doesn’t concede a goal during matches.

Geoff Cameron who tops the “CS list” is a right-sided full back who represents the United States soccer team.

And that’s followed closely by his teammate Landon Donovan who was a striker well known for his goal scoring exploits with club and country.

Ultimately in console games like FIFA, the CS metric is used to recognise the contribution of all the players within the team instead of only just rating the goalkeeper.


Closing thoughts

If you’ve got this far in the article, you’ll now have a greater understanding of what the CS term means in soccer.

But just to recap…

A CS in soccer means a “clean sheet”. This phrase is commonly used to describe a situation where a goalkeeper and their team have successfully prevented an opponent from scoring a goal during match play.

Learning about all of soccer’s famous terminologies is a great exercise, so you should definitely check out our other articles on the acronym used to denote an own goal in soccer and our piece on the nickname for a manager or coach in soccer.

Samuel Waihenya
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