Defending the Line in Soccer

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Field size: 60 yards by 40 yards

Number of players: full team; start out playing one versus two and then add additional players

Age range: 14-16

Description: Defender passes the ball to an attacker who tries to dribble across a ten-yard wide goal end line.  Attacker should be about fifteen yards away from the defender.

Later, add in another defender who joins the game once the attacker has touched the ball.  First defender should stand up the attacker and steer the attacker into the cover defender.  The second or cover defender communicates with the first defender, telling him or her where he or she wants them to channel the attacker.

This is a good game for the attacker too, as they can get used to trying to beat two defenders.  As the drill progresses, setup a small goal with cones on the right or left side of the end line, and give more points to the attacker if they score by dribbling through the two cones.  This way you give the defenders a set challenge in terms of where they want to channel the attacker, away from the the small goal.

Next, try this drill with two attackers and three defenders and add in another small goal with a different point value.  You can also use a stopwatch and add in another defender once they’ve held the attackers for thirty seconds the additional defender joins in the game.  For defenders, during the later stages of the drill, they too can score on a designated goal on the other side of the grid. But you first want the players to understand the different aspects of channeling an attacker to one side and winning the ball.

Equipment needed: Cones and practice vests.

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