By George Kee
Many teams find themselves looking for a quick goal during a match which can lead to repeated direct balls from the back line to the strikers. While this option may seem quicker, it is not typically the most effective way to create scoring chances. This exercise aims to increase the ability to move the ball up the field from the defense line through the midfield line, and onto the strikers.
Area Size: 45x20 area split into 3 zones 15 yards each
# Of Players: 14-20
Time: 30 minutes
Set up: 45x20 yard area with 3 even zones of 15x20. Two neutral players will stay on each end of the area and are not allowed in. The neutral player inside is free to move between zones at all times. Neutral player is the only one allowed to move throughout zones.
Execution: The team in possession looks to score by getting the ball from one neutral player to the other. If the ball is played out of bounds play restarts to the proper team from the neutral. The team in possession must keep numbers up in the zone with the neutral player moving in.
Attacking players should utilize the entire width of the zone in order to take advantage of the numerical superiority. This allows the neutral player to find space in the middle between the defenders.
• It is important that players keep an open body position, receive with the correct foot, and check their shoulder as to speed up play and increase the number of times the ball can be played forward.
When attempting to play the ball through the lines one detail that often gets lost is the positioning of the midfielders. Players should check away from the ball and go high in order to create space for themselves to check into. Often times players like to stand where they want the ball making them easy to mark.
- Players should take up a position behind the defenders before checking down to receive. Most defenders will have their focus on the ball and lose track of their mark. Even if the defenders track the run they will still be 2 or 3 steps behind allowing space to receive.
- The timing of the pass is also important. Coach players to make eye contact, and have the ability to make the pass into space for the midfielder to move on to.
- When the player on the ball is free from marking and able to look up midfielders should be active trying to create space and lose their markers. If the player on the ball is closed down by a defender, teammates should look to get into a supporting position to help keep possession.
Rebound Pass: A pass that will come in handy when players are having a hard time freeing themselves of marking, or are strong enough to shield defenders from the ball.
The attacking team will play a pass into a teammate being guarded. Here it is the neutral players’ responsibility to take up a good position to receive a quick lay-off pass. Since each player is guarded this pass guarantees the neutral player will be free to advance the ball forward.
• Keep the ball moving until space opens up to move forward
• Player look to create space with clever movements
• Open body position and continuous checking of the shoulder
• Touch restriction for neutrals and players
• Allow central neutral player to advance the ball between zones with the dribble
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, George moved to northern California in 2014 to take over as the head soccer coach at Lassen College. In his brief time with the program George has won an undefeated conference title, coached four players of the year, and won three Coach of the Year Awards.