Soccer Definitions PDF Print E-mail

SOCCER DEFINITIONS and there Meanings
I have scouted the internet to find all the possible soccer terms and give you there meanings / definitions.
I hope I have listed the majority of them... courtesy of click here to visit their site.

Words I have found so far associated with soccer...

Advantage Clause
A clause in the rules that gives the Referee the discretion to allow play to continue even after a foul has been committed if stopping play would unfairly punish the fouled team (e.g., if the fouled team had a breakaway & might score even after having been fouled). The idea is that the team which committed the foul should not gain an advantage as a result of the foul. (See "Fouls).

Air Ball
(aka "Lifted Ball" or "Lofted Ball"). A ball that is in the air. A "chip" pass is an "air ball". A pass should stay on the ground unless the passer intends it to be an "air ball".

This term most frequently refers to the "Penalty Box Arc", which is the arc at the top of the Penalty Box. There is also a "corner arc.

Refers to a pass that results in a goal (e.g., "He had 2 assists in the game"). It is very important to encourage assists. One way to do so is by congratulating the player who made the assist in front of the team. Also, the player who scored the goal should always thank his teammate who made the assist. Teach your players to do this & ask the scorer if he thanked his teammate for the assist.

Assistant Referee
(aka "Linesman"). There are 2 per game, one on each side line, who mainly "call the lines" & offside, but can also report fouls & advise the Referee. On throw-ins, they indicate when the ball is out-of-bounds by pointing the flag in the direction in which the attackers will advance (i.e., toward the goal of the team it is out on).

(aka "Offense"). When a team has the ball they are generally referred to as "attacking", no matter where the ball is on the field. There are 2 different styles of attacking: a "direct attack" and an "indirect attack". A direct attack tries to move the ball quickly into scoring range by using mostly forward passes, through balls and breakaways. An indirect attack is slower and uses a lot of sideways or backward passes while searching for a weakness in the defense. Unless your team is very skilled and has excellent passing ability a direct attack will work best. (See "Styles of Play" for more details). Creating space is a very important part of attacking. There are 2 different ways to create space. One relies on the ballhandler (i.e., the player "onball") to create opportunities. The other way to create space is by "movement off-the-ball" & relies on movement by players other than the ballhandler (i.e., players "off-the-ball") to create space & to create opportunities. (See "Attacking Plan", "Attacking Third", "Create", "Dribbling", "Go To Goal", "Kick-Off", "Pass To Space", "Shift & Sag", "Strength On The Ball", "Through Ball", "Push Up", "Build An Attack From The Back", "Center The Ball", "Coaching Rules", "Commit The Defender", "Counterattack", "Creating Space", "Cross The Ball", "Defending to Win", "Direct Attack", "Finish", "First Attacker", "Formations", "Goal Kick", "Movement Off-The-Ball", "Possession Style", "Rebound", "Release", "Spread The Field", "Styles of Play", "Support", "Switch The Play", "When to Dribble/When to Pass", "Width In Attack", "Win The Ball".

Attacking Plan
For recreational teams ages 10 and older, it is very important to have a simple and realistic attacking plan that players clearly understand & can execute. For example, a simple attacking plan could be to "clear" the ball away from your "Defending Third", have your forwards be positioned to win the ball, and launch a quick attack. This is not as easy as it sounds.

Attacking Third
(aka "Final Third"). The 1/3 of the field that contains the other team's goal. This is a term used when discussing tactics & strategy. For example, I don't want my players to dribble a lot in the "Defending Third", but it is okay for them to dribble in the Attacking Third. (However, they should still be looking for a pass or a "Give & Go"). Also, our forwards should aggressively pressure the ball & try to steal it if the other team has it in our "Attacking Third". (See "Defending Third", & "Middle Third" & "When To Dribble/When To Pass").

(aka "Fullback"). See "Fullbacks". In Britain, they sometimes refer to center backs and use the term full-back to mean the right and left backs.

Back Door
(aka "Back Side" or "Weak Side"). See "Back Side" & "Far Post".

Back Heel
Striking the ball with the heel to kick it backward.

Back Pass
Passing the ball backward instead of forward. (See "Reverse Pass").

Back Post
(aka "Far Post"). See "Far Post".

Back Side
(aka Back Door & "Weak Side"). The side of the goal or the side of the Danger Zone that is away from the ball. Attackers will try to quickly "switch the play" to the back side because it is often poorly protected & defenders will have to turn around & reposition in order to defend.

Soccer balls come in 3 different sizes: 3, 4, & 5. The ball size is shown on the ball. Also, look for a stamp that says either "official size & weight" or "FIFA Approved". Even if a ball is the official weight, some balls are heavier & harder than others. Don't get a ball that is too heavy or hard (some seamless balls are especially hard). Some balls are so hard that it is painful to kick them. If you have a choice, a shiny, waterproof surface is best because it won't absorb water & will last longer. Test the ball to see if it's round & will fly straight by tossing it into the air with a lot of spin on it to see if it wobbles. U-6 & U-8 use a size 3; U-10 & U-12 use a size 4; and U-13 & older use a size 5 ball.

Refers to getting between an opponent & the ball (e.g., "John, get ballside"). (See "Goalside").

Ball Watching
Refers to players who only watch the ball & don't know where nearby opponents are. Players must know where nearby opponents are, particularly when defending their own goal, on goal kicks & on corner kicks. Players should know where the ball is, but also where nearby opponents are.

Banana Kick
(aka Bending the Ball, Inswinger & Outswinger). A shot kicked into the air that curves like a "banana". The ball curves because of sidespin. If it curves in, it is called an "inswinger"; if out, it is called an "outswinger". This kick is used a lot on corner kicks, to curve into or away from the goal and to curve around defenders, such as to curve around a wall on a free kick.

Behind the Defense
When an attacker is fast enough to get past the defenders (i.e., except for the goalkeeper) to have a clean shot on goal, he has gotten "behind the defense".

Bend the Ball
See "Banana Kick".

Bicycle Kick
(aka "Scissors Kick"). The spectacular kick you see in photographs where the kicker leaps into the air, falls backward & kicks the ball over his head. Do not teach this. If any other players are near, it is considered dangerous play & a foul can be called.

Blind Side
An area outside the defender's field of vision (e.g., a "Blind Side Run" behind a defender). See "Blind Side Run".

Blind Side Run
When an attacker without the ball (i.e., "off the ball") runs outside a defender's field of vision in order to get open to receive a pass. On a "give & go" the receiver often makes a "blind side run" behind the defender. (See "Give & Go").

Block Tackle
A standing "tackle" made with the inside of the foot. (In soccer, you don't tackle the player, you "tackle" the ball). This is the most basic tackle. It is made head on, using the inside of the foot. It is important to keep the tackling foot low, the ankle firm & the leg stiff. If the tackling foot is too high, the ball may be forced under it; but if it is low, you may be able to pop it over the opponent's foot & thus win the "tackle". (See "Tackle").

When a yellow or red card is given the Referee takes out his "notebook" (actually a match record card) & writes down the player's name & number. When he does this he "books" a player & the player has been "booked". (See "Cards").

Boom Ball
A slang derogatory term referring to when the ball is frequently kicked in the air toward the other teams goal. This occurs by youth teams who have no attacking plan but it can also be an intentional and effective tactic with forwards stationed in position to win long "over-the-top" balls. You see a certain amount of "Boom Ball" in most professional leagues and it is used extensively by some successful professional teams. For example, in 2001 this long over-the-top tactic was used by Celtic, which had a secure lead at year end in the Scottish Premier League. It is easy to criticize teams for playing Boom Ball, when in fact most professional and select teams "boom" their goal kicks and long corners and punt their goalie distributions rather than controlling the ball and building from the back, and many teams FB's "boom" the ball to clear it when they are under pressure. I think it is fair to define "Boom Ball" as when the ball is kicked long without any real purpose or strategy and when the kicker's team has only a 50/50 chance or less to win the ball. However, if you send the ball forward as part of an attacking strategy, or when under pressure in the Defending Third, or when your team has a better than 50/50 chance of winning the ball, is isn't "Boom Ball". "Boom Ball" is very different from "Kick & Run". (See "Styles of Play", "Kick & Run", and "Attacking").

Two meanings:
1st The British term for a soccer shoe.
2nd To kick the ball (i.e., to "boot" the ball).

"In the Box" usually refers to the Penalty Box. The "18" also refers to being inside the Penalty Box (e.g., "inside the 18"). (See "Penalty Box").

A fast break where one or more attackers get behind the defenders so that only the other team's goalkeeper is between them & the goal. Breakaway's often happen because a defense is "pushed up" & "flat" (i.e., has no "depth"), which makes it vulnerable to "through balls". The "Sweepers" job (if you use a Sweeper) is to stop breakaways by kicking the ball out of bounds. In recreational soccer, a good strategy for stopping the other team's fast break is to teach your FB's to kick the ball out of bounds. This will give your FB's & MF's time to "sag" back to defend their goal. A "sagging" defense with "depth" prevents breakaways by having multiple layers of defenders in position to slow down the attack. On 1 vs. 1 breakaways, the defending goalkeeper should come out of the goal toward the ball in order to reduce the shooting angle. He should do this when the shooter gets within shooting range & once he starts he must run quickly toward the shooter & cannot stop or turn back; if he does, the shooter will probably score. (See "Counterattack", "Formations" (3-2-2-3), "Push Up", "Styles of Play", "Through Ball", "Sweeper", "Last Defender", "Zone Defense" & "Goalkeeper").

Build an attack from the back
A controlled attack starting with the FB's who pass to the MF's, who pass to the F's. The phrase is also used in a more general way to refer to FB's being involved in the attack. This is very difficult and unrealistic for most youth recreational teams. It only works if your FB's have very good ball skills. If the other team's forwards are better than your FB's, it will probably not work. If you turn over the ball near your goal the other team may score. If your FB's are under pressure, it is advisable for them to "clear" the ball away from your goal. (See "Attacking", "Attacking Plan" and "Clear").

The number of official international games a player has played in for his or her national team. Reputedly, at the turn of the century these players actually received a "cap" for each game. They don't now but the term is still used. (e.g., "he has 20 caps" or "he has been capped 20 times").

There are 2 colors of "cards" which the referee will hold up to indicate serious fouls or behavior which won't be tolerated. He carries these cards in his shirt pocket, so if he reaches for his pocket it's a bad sign for the player who committed the foul. These cards are about the size of a playing card and one is yellow and the other is red. When a card is to be given (it isn't actually given to the offending player, it is actually just shown to him and to everyone else) the referee will stop the game, call the player over, hold up the card and write the player's name in his notebook. This is called "booking" the player and when it happens the player has been "booked", (e.g., "he was booked"). Any time a Yellow or Red Card is shown, a "direct" or "indirect kick" will also be awarded. (See "Fouls", "Deck" & "Booking").
Yellow Card - Indicates a formal "caution"
A player who receives 2 Yellow Cards is given a Red Card & ejected. FIFA rules do not require a player to leave the field for the first yellow card. However, some leagues' rules do. You must go by your league's rules.
Red Card - A player must be shown a Red Card and "sent off" (i.e., made to leave the field)
A player shown a "Red Card" & sent off may not be replaced during that game (i.e., his team must play a player "short" for the rest of the game.

Another word for "dribble".

An official disciplinary action where the Referee shows a player a "Yellow Card". (See "Cards").

Center Back
A center fullback. If you played 4 FB's, there would be 2 center backs; one would be "left" & the other "right".

Center Circle
Circle in the center of the field; usually 6 yard radius for U-8, 8 yard radius for U-10 & 10 yard radius for U-12 & older. On a kick off, defenders must stay outside this until the ball is moved by the kicker. (See "Kick Off").

Center Mark
A painted mark at the center of the Center Circle on which the ball is placed for a kick-off.

Center the Ball
(aka "Cross The Ball" or "Center It"). Refers to an attacker kicking or passing the ball to the area in front of the opponent's goal. Attackers often pass the ball to this space without having a receiver in mind because it can create a scoring opportunity. (This is called "passing to space"). This term is more descriptive of what you want a youth team to do than "cross the ball". (See "Cross The Ball", "Creating Space", "First Attacker", & "Pass to Space").

Center of the Field
(aka The Center). It is often necessary to refer to the "center of the field" (e.g., "don't go past the center"). The center of the field is roughly the area between the two goals and is where the CFB (Center Fullback), CMF (Center Midfielder) & CF (Center Forward) usually start the game. The term "middle" is sometimes incorrectly used to refer to the "center". (See "Middle" and "Center The Ball").

Center Forward.

Center Fullback.

When a defender tries to steal the ball it is called a "challenge" (e.g., "He challenged for the ball").

There are two meanings:
The defender should angle his body & position himself to "channel" the "onball attacker" toward the side line. This is the same concept as "turning" the ballhandler, but if you "channel" the ballhandler you stay with him & keep trying force him wide. This is a desirable tactic because it poses much less risk to the defending team than if the ballhandler is able to turn into the center of the field. The Defender should favor the center and turn his body so the ballhandler cannot easily get past him to the center of the field. This encourages the ballhandler to go to the outside. Forcing the ballhandler to the outside reduces the risk of the ballhandler getting a clean shot on the front of the goal (i.e., if he gets off a shot from the sideline area he has a bad angle).
The term also refers to a passing lane. (See "Slot").

Checking Off
(aka Checking Run and Pull-Return) When a receiver runs away from the ballhandler but then quickly runs back toward the ballhandler. The idea is to draw the defender away from the ballhandler to create an open space that the receiver can then run back into in hopes of being open for a pass. (i.e., the first run was a "dummy run"). The opposite of a "hooking run". (See "Hooking Run", "Show", "Third Man Running", "Movement Off-The-Ball" & "Creating Space").

Chest Pass
A pass made when a player receives the ball with his chest but instead of pulling the chest in to "cushion" the ball so it drops, the receiver tightens his chest & pushes it forward & turns it to direct the ball as a pass to a teammate. Especially useful when in scoring range. (See "Chest Reception").

Chest Reception
The chest can be used to receive or re-direct the ball. There are 3 teaching points: (1) "Cushion" the ball by pulling in the chest & exhaling on contact (2) Hold arms down or out to the sides so there is no chance of the ball accidentally hitting the arm & being called for a handball (3) Turn the chest on impact to direct the ball in the direction you want it to go. (U-12 & up). (See "Chest Pass).

Similar to golf, a chip pass or chip shot is made by a jabbing motion down & under the ball so the ball goes up into the air. Chipped balls have backspin. The ball can be approached straight on or from the side & can be struck with the top of the laces or the side of the laces, but in all cases the ball is struck low using a downward jabbing motion with little follow-through. The more downward the strike, the more rapidly the ball rises & the more backspin. A chip shot will only work if the goalkeeper is out of the goal or if the goal is too tall for the goalkeeper to cover. But it can be very effective in youth leagues against a short goalkeeper in a tall goal. Not all "airballs" are chips. A ball struck low with a normal backswing and a normal follow-through will also rise into the air. This ball, called a "lofted drive", will not rise as quickly as a chip and has little or no backspin, but it will travel farther & with more pace. When coaching a Rec team, I often used the word "chip" in a generic way when I wanted a player to send a pass "over the top" of the opponents or to "clear" the ball, because it was easier than saying "kick a lofted ball with backspin". See "Chips Game" and "Chip Pass or Shot" in "Techniques & Fancy Footwork", which is part of the Premium site. (See "Lofted Drive" and "Hopped Pass").

Similar to golf, a chip pass or chip shot is made by a jabbing motion down & under the ball so the ball goes up into the air. Chipped balls have backspin. The ball can be approached straight on or from the side & can be struck with the top of the laces or the side of the laces, but in all cases the ball is struck low using a downward jabbing motion with little follow-through. The more downward the strike, the more rapidly the ball rises & the more backspin. A chip shot will only work if the goalkeeper is out of the goal or if the goal is too tall for the goalkeeper to cover. But it can be very effective in youth leagues against a short goalkeeper in a tall goal. Not all "airballs" are chips. A ball struck low with a normal backswing and a normal follow-through will also rise into the air. This ball, called a "lofted drive", will not rise as quickly as a chip and has little or no backspin, but it will travel farther & with more pace. When coaching a Rec team, I often used the word "chip" in a generic way when I wanted a player to send a pass "over the top" of the opponents or to "clear" the ball, because it was easier than saying "kick a lofted ball with backspin". See "Chips Game" and "Chip Pass or Shot" in "Techniques & Fancy Footwork", which is part of the Premium site. (See "Lofted Drive" and "Hopped Pass").

(aka Clear the Ball). The first priority of defenders is to "clear the ball" (i.e., kick the ball) out of the "Danger Zone" (i.e., out of scoring range), preferably to the side, not down the center. If the ball is in front of your goal & in scoring range, they should "clear it" because a turnover would give the other team a scoring opportunity. This is especially true in recreational soccer where players often don't have great skills. If your defenders clear the ball (as opposed to trying to control it), you should leave your forwards a long kick out so they can try to win the cleared balls. At higher levels of play the emphasis is on controlling the ball, but in rec leagues teams often don't have the skill to "build an attack from the back", as it is called when the FB's pass to the MF's who pass to the F's, etc.

Center Midfielder.

Combination Play
When attacking players work together to execute a play. Examples are a "Give & Go", an "Overlapping Run", a "Takeover", a "Hooking Run" and "Checking Off".

Commit the Defender
A misdirection play such as a feint, a wall pass or an "off- the- ball" or "onball" run that causes the defender to commit in a direction that is advantageous to the attacking team. Another way to commit the defender is for the ballhandler to dribble toward him & then pass the ball at the last second when it is too late for the defender to guard the receiver.

Any tactic or technique that is used to restrict an opponent's movement (e.g., "We must contain their Forwards").

Control Dribbling
When a player is "in traffic" he must keep the ball close to his feet so he can protect it; this is called Control Dribbling. However, if he is in the open he will want to "Speed Dribble" so he can run faster with the ball.

Corner Arc
The small arc at each corner of the field.

Corner Flags
The flags marking the corners of the field.

Corner Kick
(aka Corners). When the ball goes out of bounds over the end line & was last touched by the defending team, the attacking team inbounds it from the nearest corner by kicking it in from the Corner Arc. Defenders must stay 6 yards back if U-8, 8 yards if U-10 & 10 yards back if U-12 or older. (If they don't, they might get a yellow card). The ball may be placed anywhere inside the Corner Arc or on the Corner Arc lines. There are 2 types of corners: a "Long Corner" and a "Short Corner". A player is not offside if he receives the ball from a Corner Kick.

Counter Attack
All of your attacks will either start with a kick-off or a "re-start" (such as a goal kick, corner kick or free kick), or they will be "counterattacks" which start when you get the ball on a turnover from the other team. There are 2 types of counterattacks: One is a slow, patient, ball-controlling attack that relies on a lot of short passes in all directions (i.e., backwards & sideways as well as forward); the other is to launch a quick "direct attack" by moving the ball forward as quickly as possible into the other team's "Danger Zone". Unless you have a highly skilled team that can complete a lot of consecutive passes, the quick direct counterattack will be the most effective. The concept is very similar to a fastbreak in basketball and if someone says you are vulnerable to a counterattack they are referring to a direct, fastbreak counterattack. You are more vulnerable to a quick counterattack if you push up your FB's when you attack. There are 2 keys to launching a successful fastbreak counterattack: (1) When your goal is under attack, you must be sure that one or two of your forwards stay out toward the halfway line or even farther if the other team's FB's are deep. (Another advantage of this is it will force the other team's FB's to stay back, otherwise, they might push up closer toward your goal). (2) Your FB's or MF's must quickly kick the ball deep onto your opponent's half of the field so your forwards can win the ball and fastbreak.

"Cover", "Support", & "Depth" are related but different concepts. Whereas "support" means there should be several teammates within the immediate area of the ball (i.e., within the distance of a long pass on offense and a short pass on defense) and applies to offense (i.e., receivers supporting the passer) and defense (e.g., the Second Defender should back up the First Defender), "cover" is a defensive concept that has 3 meanings. One meaning refers to areas of the field that your "defense" should cover. For example, when the ball is on your end of the field, your defense must "cover" your Danger Zone & if the ball is in your Danger Zone your defenders must especially cover the area in front of your goal. The area your defense must cover depends on how far away from your goal the ball is, which side of the field it is on & who is faster, your fullbacks or the other team's forwards (e.g., if your fullbacks are faster then you can "push up" more because you have the speed to "recover"). A second meaning refers to a defender guarding an opponent (e.g., "His job is to cover the Right Forward"). The term cover is also used as a synonym for defensive support (e.g., "The Sweeper is responsible for providing cover for his fullbacks". This is similar to the concept of a free safety providing cover for his cornerbacks and linebackers in American football). (See "Support", "Shift & Sag", "Depth", "Width In Defense" & "Recover").

Refers to being sure your defenders are covering important space such as the Danger Zone if the other team is attacking near your goal. (See "Cover", "Shift & Sag", & "Support").

You hope your players will learn how to "create". This refers to creating scoring opportunities. At higher levels, these players are very valued & often play CMF. For example, Carlos Valderrama & Marco Etcheverry are mid-fielders who "create" by great passing. These players are said to have great "vision" to see the potential to create opportunities. The great Brazilian player, Roberto Carlos, "creates" by making great "overlapping runs" down the side line from his fullback position to send beautiful "crossing passes" to his forwards. (See "Assist" & "Vision").

Creating Space
There are 2 different philosophies about how to "create space" - - "onball attacking" & "off-the-ball attacking". These are different styles of play.
"Onball Attacking" emphasizes the ballhandler dribbling to get open or dribbling for the purpose of pulling defenders toward him so receivers become open & he can try to pass to them (i.e., he "creates space" for the receivers by drawing their defenders toward him). This requires the ballhandler to have superb dribbling skills & the attack relies on the ballhandler to create opportunities. This style of play is easier to defend than "Offball Attacking" because the key is simply to shut down the ballhandler & mark potential receivers who are in scoring range. There are 3 reasons why you should not teach youth teams this style of play:
Most youth players don't have & cannot acquire the dribbling skills to use it successfully.
It doesn't stress "movement off-the-ball", which is something you want your players to learn.
In this style of play, passing is a second priority to dribbling (whereas players U-8 & up should be taught that passing is the first priority unless they are close to goal & can dribble & score). Teams that pass the ball well almost always beat those that dribble too much. A good comparison is to basketball, where teams that dribble too much usually lose to teams with good passing skills.
"Off-The-Ball Attacking" emphasizes 2 things: (A) The movement of players without the ball (i.e., "movement off-the-ball") to create space & (B) Passing to open space. This is a better style of play to teach youth because it emphasizes passing & "movement off-the-ball". Examples of how to create space through "off-the-ball attacking" are given below.
A. Examples of "movement off-the-ball" which pull defenders away from the ballhandler or away from the area to be attacked & thereby "create space" are:
"Spreading The Field", which moves attackers wide in order to pull defenders away from the center. (This is relatively easy to teach U-10 & up).
Having attackers stay a pass apart which forces the defense to spread out and, thereby, creates space. (This is relatively easy to teach U-10 & up).
Having receivers move away from the ballhandler as he approaches them creates space because defenders will have to cover the receivers or else the receivers will be open for a pass. (If receivers don't move, then their defenders are in a position to pressure the ballhandler as he gets closer to the receiver). The best teams in the world, such as Manchester United, do this very well. This is fundamental & one of the most important things you can teach, but it is surprising how often high school players don't do it. (This is relatively easy to teach U-10 & up).
"Checking Off", "Hooking Runs", "Diagonal Runs" and "Give & Go's" also create space by "movement off-the-ball". (These are relatively difficult to teach).
Occasionally a receiver should move toward the ballhandler, but young receivers more often make the mistake of moving toward the ballhandler when they should be moving away, or of not moving to get open from defenders. A good analogy is to think about basketball or receivers in American football.
B. Examples of attacking by playing the ball to open space are:
"Through Balls" which are kicked to the open space behind the defenders when the other team's defense is "pushed up": ("Through Balls" are relatively easy to teach U-10 & up).
"Switching The Play" where the ball is quickly passed from one side of the field to the other & is especially good when you are near the other team's goal & can attack the "back door". ("Switching The Play" is somewhat difficult to teach & is best for U-12 & up).
Passes to open space near a specific receiver (such as "Leading Passes" & "Crossing Passes") are another way to attack by passing to open space. (U-10 & up).
"Passing To Yourself" is a fourth way. (This is relatively easy to teach U-10 & up).
It is very important to teach passers to pass to space and to teach receivers to anticipate passes to space. If you do this, your attack will greatly improve, your team will score many more goals and it will be more fun. Teaching how to play to open space is a different way of thinking than "passing to feet", but once a team grasps the concept you will be amazed at how much more they move off the ball and how they try to win the ball more.

(aka Cross the Ball, Center The Ball, Cross It, Cross, Crossing Pass or Crossed Ball). A very important term & concept to teach U-10 & older, because "crosses" are a very important way to create scoring opportunities. To "cross the ball" means to kick the ball from the side of the field across the field toward the area in front of the opponent's goal in order to create a scoring opportunity. A cross is a "square pass" to the area in front of the goal (If a player passes the ball across the field to a teammate out of scoring range, it is not called a "cross", but is called a "square pass"). A crossed ball is usually a "pass to space" (as opposed to a "pass to feet"). Even at the pro level, the passer usually isn't passing to a specific person; he's just concentrating on kicking the ball to the front of the goal (often while on the run) because doing so often creates a scoring opportunity. (This is hard to do. Try kicking the ball sideways while running). A good cross will be to the area in front of the goal & about 7 to 20 steps out from the goal; if it is too close to the goal the goalkeeper will pick it up or catch it & if it is too far out the receiver won't have a shot. At the high school level and older, a lot of crosses are "air balls" that create the opportunity to score on a "header". I think it is better to use the term "center the ball" rather than "crossing pass" when giving directions to young players, because if you say "crossing pass", a young player thinks he should look for someone to "pass" it to. I've found it is better to teach your outside F's to "center the ball" without worrying whether a receiver will get there. Yes, they will sometimes center it when no one is there but it will teach receivers that they must "go to goal" & get in position to receive these "crosses" so they can make a one-touch or two-touch shot. Tell your receivers to stay 3 or 4 steps behind the ball when they run with the dribbler (i.e., the player who will make the cross) so they won't be called offside & so the ball won't go behind them. If they are even with the ball they will either have to stop & wait on it or will overrun it & it will go behind them. By staying 3 or 4 steps behind they should be able to slow down & reach the ball but still have forward momentum which will give them power on a one-touch shot. A more important reason to stay 3 to 4 steps back is so the cross doesn't go behind them. If it does, they have lost the scoring opportunity. If they are behind the ball they will have a chance; if the ball goes behind them, they won't). Tell them that when they reach the ball they should just block the ball with the inside of their foot & use a very short backswing; if they take a big backswing they will probably mis-kick. Placement is the key, not power. Crosses should go straight across. This is because if the cross is at a forward angle, it is harder for the receiver to kick it (since it is going away from him) & it is easier for defenders to clear it (because it is going toward them) and it is easier for the goalkeeper to catch it. A "Long Corner" is a type of "Cross" to "Center The Ball".

Crossover Run
A misdirection play where 2 attackers run past each other in opposite directions. This can be a way to get open on throw-ins.

Cushioning the Ball
When a receiver relaxes a part of the body so it absorbs the force of the ball. The purpose, of course, is so he can control the ball.

(aka "Inside-of-Foot Hook"). Using the inside of foot to chop the ball across the body to the left or right as a way to change direction

The "Penalty Box Arc" is called the "D" because it looks like a D. (See "Penalty Box Arc").

Danger Zone
(aka Scoring Zone and Danger Area). The area extending out from the goal in which most shots occur that actually score. The size of this depends on the player's age. Generally, most goals are scored in the "center", so it is much safer to clear the ball to the side than down the center. (See "Attacking Third" and "Where...From?").

Dangerous Attackers
(aka Most Dangerous Attackers). Any attacker who is in scoring position is a "Dangerous Attacker" & should be marked goalside & ballside by a defender. This is especially true of attackers who are near the goal on corner kicks or free kicks. This is important & you should start to teach this by age 10. (You can still teach this as part of a zone defense). An attacker who is in front of your goal & inside the Penalty Box is more dangerous than one who is toward the side line or outside the Penalty Box & should be marked closely (e.g., within 2 steps). The player with the ball is not necessarily the "Most Dangerous". For example, if the ballhandler is outside of scoring range, it is best to guard him loosely & watch for a mistake, because if the defender gets too close the ballhandler may be able to get past him & become dangerous.

Dangerous Play
Any action by a player that is unsafe to him or another player, in the judgment of the referee. When contact is made, the referee will consider whether it was "careless, reckless or there was excessive force". The penalty for some types of dangerous actions such as tripping is a direct kick, but for others such as a high kick the penalty is an indirect free kick. (See "Fouls" and "Cards").

Slang for the Cards the Referee carries; e.g., "He's pulling out the deck a lot today". (See "Cards" and "Booking").

Decoy Run
(aka "Dummy Run"). See "Dummy Run".

The term defenders usually refers to the Fullbacks or to the players who are defending the goal that is under attack. Midfielders, for example, also often drop back to defend. In a broader sense, when your team loses the ball, the players closest to the ball should try to steal it back. In this case even the Forwards might be defenders. (See "Fullbacks").

Defending Deep
Defending Deep is the opposite of "Defending To Win" and refers to leaving your Fullbacks deep on your half of the field. The primary reason for this would be if the other team's forwards have more speed than your Fullbacks. Another reason might be if you don't have subs and leave your FB's deep to reduce their running and conserve their energy. (See "Defending To Win", "Formations" and "Push Up").

Defending Third
The 1/3 of the field containing your goal. (See "Attacking Third" & "Middle Third").

Defending to Win
Refers to aggressively pushing up the Fullbacks & even the goalkeeper to support the attack & to "press" if the ball is turned over to the other team with the objective of recovering the ball on the other team's half of the field. This is quite different from a cautious defense that doesn't aggressively push up or get the FB's involved in the attack. The opposite of "Defending Deep". (See "Attacking" & "Push Up").

Defensive Midfielders
(Abbreviated as "DMF's"). See "Formations" and "Midfielders".

Deliver the Ball
This refers to completing a pass, especially a pass that creates a scoring opportunity. (e.g., "He delivered a great ball"). (See "Create" & "Assist").

Depth on defense means having several defenders (ideally, multiple layers of defenders) spaced between the ball & the goal who are in a position to "recover" in time to stop an attack on their goal. This and First Defender/Second Defender are the most important defensive concepts. Depth is the opposite of a "flat" defense. Depth in attack means having support to the rear so the ball can be passed back or "dropped". (See "Support", "Through Balls", "Defending Deep", "Zone Defense", "Flat Defense" & "Cover").

Diagonal throuth Ball
A "through ball" that is played diagonally instead of straight ahead. If from far out, it might be played toward the far corner. This can be very effective because it is difficult for defenders to handle. This is for U-11 & up. (See "Through Ball", "Pass To Space", "Push Up" and "Stretch The Field").

Direct Attack
To quickly move the ball forward toward the other teams goal by passing or dribbling; as opposed to a slow "indirect attack" which uses a lot of backward or sideways ("square") passes while searching for a weakness in the defense. Unless your team has excellent passing ability, a direct attack will be more effective. (See "Counterattack", "Attacking", "Possession Style", "Styles of Play", & "Creating Space").

Direct Kick
A type of "free kick" given after severe fouls such as hitting or kicking. On a direct kick, a goal can be scored by kicking the ball into the goal without it first touching another player. (See "Free Kick" & "Fouls").

Direct Kick Foul
See "Fouls".

Goalkeepers "distribute" the ball by kicking, punting or throwing it. Once they pick up the ball, they have six seconds to punt it or release it. They can pick it up, run with it and then punt it, throw it or drop it and dribble it or kick it. (However, they cannot touch it with their hands outside the "Penalty Box" and once they drop it they can't touch it again with their hands until an opponent has touched it). They can also put it down on the ground and dribble it outside the Penalty Box like a "field player". (See "How To Teach Goalkeeping" in SoccerHelp Premium, "Punting", "Sidearm Throw" & "Goalkeeper").

Abbreviation for Defensive Midfielder.

Drag Back
(aka "Pullback"). See "Pullback".

Drag the Ball
To keep the ball on one foot or very close to the foot so you are moving slowly & "dragging" the ball. This is done in conjunction with a player using his body to shield the ball from a defender & "dragging" the ball with the foot farthest from the defender, or as part of a feint where the player slows up & drags the ball & then either "pops" it past or fakes one way & flicks it the other way using the outside of his foot.

(aka Carrying) A player can dribble with any part of the foot. "Control dribbling" is usually with the inside or outside of the foot. "Speed dribbling" is often with the top of the foot (i.e., the "laces"). See "When To Dribble", "Control Dribbling, "Speed Dribbling" & "Pass To Yourself".

(aka Power Shot). A shot hit with the "laces". The foot does not go under the ball & the knee should be over the ball when struck with the head looking down (it is very important to keep the eyes on the ball until it is kicked; just like it is important to keep the eyes on a baseball, or a football when catching it or a golf ball when hitting it; if the head goes up too soon, it moves the hips) & a long follow through. Strike the ball halfway up. The shoulder on the same side of the body as the non-kicking foot should be pointing toward the goal before the shot & the shoulders will "square up" to the goal as the kicking foot follows through. (This rotation creates power). Unless the shot must go over a defender, a low shot is preferred because it is more difficult for the goalkeeper to block.

Refers to a ball left by the ballhandler for a trailing teammate (i.e., instead of passing backward, the ballhandler "drops" the ball & then makes a run, knowing his teammate is running onto the ball). Can also refer to a soft back pass that the trailer runs onto. This is an alternative to a back pass & is only used when the ballhandler is certain his teammate will get the ball if he drops it. (See "Trailer" & "Back Pass").

Drop Kick
A "half-volley" by a goalkeeper (he is the only one who can hold the ball to drop it). Adult goalkeepers sometimes do this instead of punting. This requires perfect timing & seems to me to have no advantages over punting, but there is a greater risk of a mis-kick. I think young goalkeepers should stick to punting or rolling the ball.

1. Any type of feint or deceptive move.
2. A "Dummy Run".
3. When a receiver intentionally allows a pass to roll through his legs to a teammate after pretending he was going to receive the pass or kick the ball.

Dummy Run
(aka "Decoy Run"). A run intended to distract defenders or to draw them away from the area you plan to attack in order to "create space" for a teammate. (See "Overlap", "Checking Off", "Hooking Run", "Diagonal Run" & "Crossover Run").

The term "18" refers to the Penalty Box line, since on adult sized fields the Penalty Box extends 18 yards from the Goal Line into the field. For example, "inside the 18" would mean in the Penalty box. (See "Box" and "Penalty Box").

When a defender is closer than the rules allow on a kick off, corner kick, goal kick, free kick or PK.

End Lines
(aka Goal Lines) The lines that define the ends of the field. Length will vary by age group & your club rules. (See "Field Diagram"). Coaches & spectators are supposed to stand along the side lines, not behind the end lines because it is too distracting.

Abbreviation for Forward. RF is Right F, CF is Center F, LF is Left F, MF is Midfielder, FB is Fullback and SW is Sweeper. Right and Left are as you face the other team's goal. (See "Forwards" and "Formations").

Fair Charging
See "Shoulder Charge".

Far Forward
The Forward farthest from the ball.

Far Post
(aka "Back Post"). Refers to the part of the goal farthest from the ball (e.g., "run to the far post" or "cover the far post" or "set up off the far post").

Fast Break
aka "Breakaway". See "Breakaway" & "Counterattack".

Abbreviation for Fullback. (See "Fullbacks").

Field Player
All players except the goalkeeper. However, when the goalkeeper is outside of the Penalty Box he loses his special privileges & becomes a "field player" until he returns to the Penalty Box.

Field Size
FIFA's "Laws of the Game" are published annually and are the official rules. For current rules and field sizes, go to "Laws of the Game" at or check with your soccer association. The official field size can range from 50 to 100 yards wide by 100 to 130 yards long. However, the rules allow field sizes to be reduced for women, players with disabilities and for players under 16 and over 35 years of age. Field sizes used by youth leagues vary greatly.

(Pronounced "FEE-fuh"). The world soccer governing body. They publish the official rules, which are called the "Laws of the Game" and are revised annually. Go to for more information and a complete list of the latest rules which are called "Laws of the Game").

Fifty-Fifty Ball
A loose ball that either team has an equal chance of winning. Try to teach your players to win these balls. The team that wins these will usually win the game. The key is a quick first start & not being afraid of contact.

Final Third
(aka "Attacking Third"). See "Attacking Third".

Or Finishing, means to complete the attack by scoring (i.e., converting a scoring opportunity into a goal). If your team can't "finish", you may need to work on shooting or rebounding. Are your players shooting from too far away or without power? Are players in place to score on rebounds? Are they getting a lot of shots? Are your players taking shots? Are you getting the ball into the Penalty Box with Forwards in position to score? When near the goal are they shooting low & to the corner? (As an example, a few years ago we played a game where we had 11 shots but only scored 1 goal. The problem was that all of our shots were air balls toward the center of the goal & the goalkeeper caught them. If we had shot grounders to the corner we would have scored 5 or 6 more goals). Teach your players to shoot low to the corners when inside the Penalty Box & that accuracy is more important than power. Quick, aggressive players are usually good finishers.

First Attacker
(aka "Onball Attacker"). The "First Attacker" is the player with the ball. The terms "First Attacker", "Second Attacker", and "Third Attacker" are useful in teaching your "Attacking Plan". You may want to teach that there should always be a First, Second, and Third Attacker and what their jobs are. The First Attacker's job is to "penetrate" (i.e., attack the goal) by passing, dribbling or "centering" the ball to a space in front of the goal. When one of your players has the ball, there must always be at least one Second Attacker who is close enough for a pass. (This is called "Support"). For example, if your LF is attacking down the left side on the opponent's half of the field, the LMF should "trail" her as a Second Attacker, stay a pass away, and be ready for a "Back Pass", while the other Forward should run toward the "Near Post" as another Second Attacker and the other MF should run foward the "Far Post" as the Third Attacker, to be ready for a "Cross" or a "Rebound". The Second and Third Attackers should stay 3 steps behind the ball so they won't be offside and can run onto the Cross. There can be more than one Second Attacker (which is defined as a supporting attacker within a pass of the ball). You must have Second and Third Attackers to have an effective attack. You can define Second Attackers as those within a short to medium passing distance and Third Attackers as those in scoring position or running with the attack but a long pass away from the First Attacker.

First Post
(aka "Near Post"). See "Near Post".

First Time Ball
(aka "One Touch"). See "One Touch".

First Touch
(aka "One Touch" or "First-Time Ball"). Refers to the first touch by a player as a shot or a pass. "He has a great First Touch". See "One Touch".

Flat Back
Refers to Flat Back 3 or Flat Back 4, which are types of "Zone Defenses". See "Flat Defense" and "Zone Defense".

Flat Defense
(aka "Square Defense"). A defense that is straight across the field, parallel to the end line. A flat defense has no "depth" & is vulnerable to "through balls", but can "offside trap". (See "Depth", "Support", "Through Balls", "Zone Defense" & "Offside Trap").

Flat Pass
(aka "Square Pass"). See "Square Pass".

Flick Header
A header that redirects the ball in a ricochet fashion. Instead of a forceful strike, the head is used to change the direction of the ball. This is usually done with the side or top of the head & not the forehead.

Flick Pass
(aka "Forward-Foot Pass") A pass made with the outside of the foot & without a backswing (also called passing with the "Forward-Foot"). This is a quickly made & deceptive pass mostly used when attacking near the goal. It can be especially effective when dribbling with the inside of the foot & suddenly using the outside of the same foot to make a "flick pass". This is an important pass to teach.

Flow of Play
(aka "Run of Play"). This phrase usually is used to describe goals or shots occurring in the "flow of play" as opposed to a Penalty Kick or in a "Shoot-Out".

Refers to the ground, as opposed to the air. For example, "Keep the ball on the floor".

Foot Skills
Foot Skills fall into 3 categories: Dribbling, Turns and Feints (obviously there is overlap here). The primary methods of turning are the "Pullback", the "Cutback" and the "Hook". Some important Feints are the "Scissors", the "Cruyff Move", the "Fake Kick", the "Matthews Move" and the "Change of Speed". These are defined herein and in "Techniques and Fancy Footwork" which is part of the Premium site.

(abb. "F") Primary scorers who play closest to the other team's goal. The Right Forward ("RF") is the one on the right facing the other teams goal; LF is on the left, & CF is center. Most formations will have 2 or 3 forwards. Teach your forwards to be aggressive and opportunistic. They must fight to win the ball. (See "Formations", "Positions", "Striker" & "Wing").

Forward Foot Pass
(aka "Flick Pass" & pass with the Forward Foot). A pass made with the outside-of-foot without a backswing. This is a quickly made & deceptive pass that is very useful for short passes in the attacking end or near the other team's goal. This can be especially effective when dribbling with the inside of the foot & suddenly using the outside of the same foot to make a "flick pass". (See "Flick Pass").

There are 2 kinds of fouls, Direct Kick Fouls & Indirect Kick Fouls. (Rules are called "Laws Of The Game" and are changed each year. Go to for current rules.
(1) Direct Kick Fouls - For which the other team receives a "direct free kick" (meaning a goal can be scored by kicking the ball straight into the goal) or a "penalty kick" ("PK") if the foul occurs within the Penalty Box (Note: It doesn't matter whether the ball was in the Penalty Box or not; what matters is where the foul was committed).
(2) Indirect Kick Fouls - For which the other team receives an "indirect free kick" (meaning a goal only counts if another player touches the ball before it enters the goal). There are 2 types of indirect kick fouls:
Advantage Clause. This rule states that the Referee, in his discretion, may decide to not stop play due to a foul if it would be to the advantage to the fouled team to not stop play (i.e., The concept is that the team that was fouled should not be punished by having an attack stopped which might result in a goal and, conversely, that the team which committed the foul should not gain an advantage as a result of the foul). (See "Advantage Clause").

Free Kick
When one team is penalized, the other usually gets a "free kick". There are 2 types of free kicks (direct & indirect) and a special type of Direct Free Kick called a Penalty Kick:
Direct Free Kick - Where a goal may be scored by kicking the ball directly into the opponent's goal without anyone else touching it (although it still counts if someone else does touch it).
Indirect Free Kick - On which a goal may be scored only if another player touches the ball before it enters the goal. Question: "How do you know if a free kick is indirect?" Answer: "The referee will raise his arm above his head and leave it up until the ball is kicked". On an indirect kick you should have one player gently tap the ball so another player standing behind the ball can kick it; or pass it to someone who shoots it. If on an Indirect Free Kick the ball is kicked into the goal without anyone else touching it (other than the kicker) the goal does not count and the other team is awarded a goal kick. However, if the ball is touched by a player on either team, including the goalkeeper, before it goes into the goal, the goal counts.
Penalty Kick - When a player commits a foul within his own Penalty Box, which would normally result in a Direct Free Kick, the other team is given a Penalty Kick ("PK"). (See "Penalty Kick").
On Direct & Indirect Free Kicks, defenders must stay away from the kicker (6 yards if U-8, 8 yards if U-10 & 10 yards for U-12 & older) until a player on the kicking team moves the ball, if they don't they can receive a yellow card. On Penalty Kicks, everyone but the kicker & goalkeeper must stay out of the Penalty Box until the kicker moves the ball. (See "Fouls", "Hand Ball", "Cards", "Offside Rule", & "Penalty Kick".

An exhibition game or a teaching scrimmage. In recreational soccer, all games should be "friendlies".

(abb. "FB"). (aka Backs and Defenders). Defenders who play closest to their own goal. The Left & Right are as you face the other teams goal. In diagrams the Left Fullbacks will be designated "LFB", center as "CFB" & right as "RFB". In Britain, they sometimes use the term full-back to refer to the right and left back, as opposed to the center back(s).

A term used to describe the way in which defenders retreat toward their goal so they become more concentrated as they get closer to the goal. (e.g., "Funnel back toward the goal"). I think "First Defender/Second Defender" & "shift & sag" better describe what you want to happen. (See "First Defender" and "Shift & Sag").

Give and Go
(aka "one-two pass") A "wall pass" where the initial passer passes & then breaks (often making a "blind side run") to get open for a return pass. (See "Wall Pass" & "Blind Side Run").

Abbreviation for Goalkeeper. (See "Goalkeeper").

Go to Goal
What you might yell to your supporting attackers (i.e., F's or MF's) if a teammate is making a breakaway or a run which will result in a crossing pass & you want several players to "go to goal" to take the cross or for rebounds.

There are two definitions: The metal or wooden structure which is at the center of each end line & for adult play is 8 yards wide & 8 feet high; also, a "goal" is scored when the ball totally crosses the end line inside the goal.

Goal Area
(aka "Goal Box" or "Six"). See "Goal Box".

Goal Box
(aka "Goal Area" or "Six"). The small box in front of the goal within which the ball must be placed to take a goal kick. (The ball can also be placed on the line). Size will vary by age group & your soccer club's rules. On adult sized fields the Goal Box extends six yards from the Goal and Goal Line into the field and for this reason it is sometimes referred to as the "Six". For dimensions go to "Laws of the Game" at

Goal Kick
When the ball goes out of bounds over the end line & was last touched by the attacking team, it is put back into play by the defending team, who may place it anywhere within their Goal Box (including on the line) & then kick it. The kicked ball may not be touched again by anyone on either team until it clears the Penalty Box and the other team must stay outside the Penalty Box until the ball clears the Penalty Box. A goal kick is kind of like having the ball on your own 5-yard line in American football, you're glad to have the ball but if you turn it over you can be in trouble. If your goalkeeper has a strong leg, have him take your goal kicks. Otherwise, you may want to have another player take the kick while the goalkeeper stays in front of the goal. If you have an advanced team and don't have someone who can kick the ball to the halfway line, consider "Spreading The Field" in order to "Stretch The Defense". You can do this by spreading out your players and taking the kick from the middle of the Goal Box line, directly in front of the goal. This way the Defenders won't know which side of the field you will kick to and they are forced to spread out. The rules give the kicking team an advantage by requiring the Defenders to stay out of the Penalty Box until the ball clears the Box (if the Defenders run into the Box the kick is retaken). The kicking team can be in the Box or can run across it, but cannot touch the ball until it clears the Box (i.e., your team can make runs across the Box but the other team can't). If you aren't able to kick it deep or spread the field, the Defenders will cluster within kicking distance, mark up behind your players & step in front to steal the ball. (This is how you should teach your players to defend goal kicks). I like spreading the field because it teaches the concept of controlling the ball, rather than just booming it, and teaches the attackers how to spread the field, take the ball wide & how to "build an attack from the back". However, spreading the field is probably not practical for a recreational team because of the practice time required. For recreational teams, the best approach is to have the strongest kicker take the kick (even if it is a forward) and to teach the MF's and F's that they must fight to "win the ball".

Goal Lines
(aka "End Lines"). (See "End Lines").

(aka Goalie, Keeper or GK). Except in small-sided play, each team must have a designated goalkeeper. He is the only player on the field who can legally use his hands and then only inside the Penalty Box. Once he picks up the ball he has six seconds to punt it or release it. He is allowed to pick up the ball, run with it and then punt it, throw it, or drop it and dribble or kick it. (However, he cannot touch it with his hands outside the "Penalty Box" and once he drops it he can't touch it again with his hands until an opponent has touched it). The goalkeeper has special protections inside the Penalty Box; the ball may not be kicked if he is touching it with his hand or arm and the referee will call a foul if the goalkeeper is endangered. He must wear a shirt or jersey that is recognizably different from all other players (goalkeepers often wear special jerseys with padded elbows). Note: In hot weather, do not put a goalkeeper jersey on a player. They can get too overheated & become sick. Instead, have them wear a different-colored shirt (one shirt only) or a mesh training vest over their shirt. If your goalkeeper has a strong leg, let him take goal kicks. Encourage him to play aggressively & if you push up on the attack, to come out to the edge of the Penalty Box or beyond to play like a "Second Sweeper". If he picks up the ball & no opponents are close, encourage him to drop the ball & dribble it out & then kick it. (Once he drops it or when out of the Penalty Box, he can play like a field player but can't touch the ball with his hands). Encourage him to play aggressively & to take chances, everyone will have much more fun if you do & more kids will want to play goal. Goalkeepers tend to get blamed for goals when most of the time it isn't their fault (if the other defenders are doing a great job there won't be any shots on goal). You should tell your goalkeeper before the game that the other team is expected to score goals & that it isn't his fault if they score. Do not let anyone else (players or parents) blame the goalkeeper. In fact, after the game you should have the rest of the team thank the goalkeeper, even if he or she did make mistakes. You should encourage everyone who wants to to take a try at playing goalkeeper. You will be surprised who is good & you really can't tell until they actually play the position. At the very least, it will give all the players respect for how tough the position is & they will be less likely to blame the goalkeeper when goals are scored. However, do not make a child play goalkeeper if he or she doesn't want to.

Refers to getting between an attacker & the goal he is trying to score in (e.g., "John, get goalside").

Good Ball
A great pass, often a "leading pass", or a "through ball", a pass that "Switches The Play" or an accurate pass through defenders.

Ground Ball
In my research I haven't found a commonly used term for balls kicked on the ground, but "ground ball" seems as good as any & is a term American kid's should understand. (See "Air Ball").

Another term for "Midfielder". Midfielder is more commonly used today.

Half Volley
Kicking the ball the instant it starts to bounce up after it hits the ground. (See "Drop Kick").

Half Way Line
The line across the middle of the length of the field that splits it into two halves.

Hand Ball
It is a "direct kick foul" if a player (other than the goalkeeper inside his own penalty area) deliberately handles the ball (meaning to touch it with any part of the arm up to & including the shoulder). If the player handles it for the purpose of preventing an opponent from gaining possession, it is a "cautionable offense" and a yellow card should be given. If a player deliberately handles the ball to deny an obvious goal scoring opportunity (e.g., to prevent a breakaway or to deliberately stop a shot), a red card should be given and the player "sent off". However, a hand ball foul should not be called if: (1) a player is instinctively trying to protect himself from injury or (2) the player did not deliberately touch the ball but the ball hit his arm & he did not move the arm toward the ball (however, if the player's arms were in an unnatural position such as above his shoulders or sticking out to the sides, then he should be called for a handball). (See "Fouls").

NOTE: Medical studies have found that extensive headers can cause brain damage; some parents oppose practicing them.
As players get older, they use their head more often to pass, receive, shoot or "redirect" the ball. There are two types of headers: a) a directional header where the player wants to control the ball (i.e., a pass, shoot or receive) & which is struck with the forehead (just below or at the hairline, where the player can see the ball; teach this by having them hold the ball on the forehead & asking them if they can see it) or with the side of the head; and, b) a clearing header (where the objective is just to send it as far as possible) which is struck with the forehead at the hairline or with the top of the head & where the defender often leaps to get more power. Don't even try to teach headers until U-10 & don't stress them until U-11. If you play a lot of small sided, by U-10 or U-11 they will be learning on their own. Don't use a heavy or hard ball to teach headers; use a soft or underinflated ball. A header that is aimed at the ground near the goal line (so it will bounce) is particularly difficult for the goalie to save. (See "Flick Header").

Home Team
Usually listed first on the schedule & should provide the ball unless the League provides it.

Hook Turn
(aka "Outside-of-Foot Hook"). A technique for reversing direction by using the outside of the foot to "hook" the ball. This is done by turning the foot and pulling the toes up so the outside laces can hook the ball & pull it backward.

Hooking Run
(aka Pull-Series). When a receiver runs toward the ballhandler & then quickly reverses & runs away from the ballhandler. The reverse of "checking off". (See "Checking Off", "Dummy Run" & "Show").

Hooking the Ball
(aka "Hook Turn"). Using the outside-of-foot to reverse the direction of the ball, an alternative to a pullback.

Hopped Pass
A short "chip" or "flick pass" that is kicked into the air high enough to go over outstretched legs. This can be effective near the goal or when "passing to yourself" to beat a defender. (See "Pass To Yourself", "Flick Pass", "Chip" & "Air Ball").

Indirect Attack
See "Attacking" & "Direct Attack".

Indirect Kick
A type of "free kick" given after minor fouls such as obstruction. On an indirect kick, another player (on either team) must touch the ball before a goal can be scored. (See "Free Kick" & "Fouls").

Indirect Kick Foul
See "Fouls".

If a player is injured, play will continue until the whistle is blown. The referee will stop the game if a child appears to be seriously hurt or if there is blood. If the game is stopped for injury, you should have your players immediately stop and sit or kneel down where they are. It is recommended that each coach become familiar with the proper procedures in the event of an injury. An injured player should sit out and receive appropriate treatment.

Injury Time
See "Stoppage Time".

Inside of Foot Hook
(aka "Cutback"). See "Cutback".

Inside of Foot Pass
This pass is most often struck with the rear of the arch (under the anklebone) and is called a "push pass" if there is a follow through, as opposed to a jabbing motion. It is the most accurate and most frequently used pass. A pass can also be made with the front of the inside-of-foot, but that pass is more difficult, because it is struck with a smaller area of the foot and it is more difficult to keep the foot rigid while striking the ball. By comparison, the area under the anklebone is a larger, firmer surface. (See "Push Pass").

(aka "Laces"). See "Laces".

(aka "Banana Kick"). See "Banana Kick".

Or Juggling. A training technique to teach touch & ball control, where any part of the body except the arms is used to strike the ball upward & the player sees how many times he can "juggle" it before it hits the ground.

(aka "Shepherding", "Steering", "Channeling" and "Defensive Containment"). A type of one vs. one defense used by the "First Defender" to contain and "steer" the "First Attacker".

Kick and Run
(aka Boomball). A derogatory term applying to youth soccer where a player kicks the ball & then everyone runs toward the ball & there is little passing or ball control. "Kick & Run" has a different meaning from "Boom Ball". Kick & Run is obviously a style of play that you do not want to teach and that is not used by good teams, whereas "Boom Ball" is used by some excellent teams as a tactic. (See "Boom Ball").

Kick Off
The referee will toss a coin to decide which team kicks off first & in which direction they face when they kick off. In the second half, the teams switch sides of the field & the team that received the first kick off gets to kick off to start the second half. Each time a goal is scored, the team that didn't score gets to kick off. At each kick off, the ball is placed in the center of the "Center Mark" (on the half-way line) & both teams must be on their own half of the field & the receiving team must stay outside the Center Circle until the ball is "kicked". Moving the ball any constitutes a "kick off", even if it only goes an inch. However, the ball must move forward on the "kick off". The "kicker" may not touch the ball again until someone else (on either team) has touched it. However, the "kicker" may put his foot on top of the ball & barely move it forward so a teammate standing nearby can dribble it or pass it backward or forward. Even though a goal may be scored on a direct kick off (i.e., another player is not required to touch it first), it is better to teach your players to control the ball on a kick off instead of just kicking it away. However, kicking it deep to the corner & rapidly "pushing up" to try to steal the ball back is a viable strategy that pro teams even use occasionally. Some coaches teach passing the ball backward on kick off (after it has been touched by the kicker). Before you try this, see Tip No. 7, "Steal Their Kick-Off", in Chapter 1. Don't spend a lot of time teaching fancy kick-offs; there are so few in a game that it's not worth it. My favorite kick-off is to put your CMF (center midfielder) & CF (center forward) beside the ball, the other F's & MF's spread out on the halfway line, & the FB's a long pass behind. The CMF taps the ball to the CF & at the same time the CMF & the other F's & MF's run forward & get open for a pass. The CF quickly passes the ball to an open teammate or passes it to open space. This is simple, easy to teach, teaches ball control, starts with a good shape & is hard to defend. Also, you get the ball away from your goal and even if you turn it over it is on the other teams side of the field.

Kill the Ball
Using the foot to stop the ball "dead".

Killer Ball
A pass that is so good that it sets up a goal. Usually a "through ball", a "long ball", a "give & go" or a soft "pass to space".

(aka "Instep"). Refers to the top of the foot where the shoelaces are. A front volley would be struck "with the laces". Long shots, long passes & power kicks are also struck with the laces. (See "Lofted Drive").

Last Defender
The defender (not counting the goalkeeper) who is closest to the goal you are attacking. (The goalkeeper is usually the actual last defender, but it is easier to teach this concept by referring to the last field player as the "Last Defender").This is an important concept to teach because you may want your center forward to play within 2 steps of the Last Defender. The "Last Defender" is usually as far as a forward can "push up" without the ball & still be "onside". You want your forwards to stay 2 steps behind the last Defender so they won't be as likely to be called offside. It is hard to dribble past the Last Defenders. The best way to break through them is by "through balls", "give & go's" or "passing to yourself".

Late Tackle
A tackle (usually a slide tackle) that makes contact with the ballhandler just after he has played the ball. (See "Played").

Laws of the Game
The official soccer rules are called the "Laws of the Game" and are published annually by FIFA. (Go to "Laws of the Game" at for more information and a complete list of the latest rules. Rules may be modified for women, players with disabilities and for players under 16 and over 35 years of age.

Left Defensive Midfielder. (See "Formations"). Left is as you face the other team's goal.

Leading Pass
A pass into open space that "leads" the receiver (i.e., is played to space in front of the receiver). (See "Through Ball", which is a similar concepts and "Pass to Space").

Left Forward. Left is as you face the other team's goal. (See "Positions" and "Forwards").

Left Fullback. (See "Positions" and "Fullbacks").

The Italian term for "free player". Usually refers to the "Sweeper", but also can refer to a star player who is allowed to roam and play in the rear or front as he sees fit. (See "Sweeper").

Lifted Ball
An "Air Ball".

Line of the Ball
Path of the ball.

a. The general rule is that the lines on the field are part of the area they define & as long as any part of the ball is on the line it is considered to be within the area.
b. The ball must totally cross the side line or end line to be out-of-bounds.
c. The ball must totally cross the imaginary plane of the goal line (inside the goal of course) in order for a goal to be scored.
d. The thrower on a throw-in may step on the side line & is only considered to have crossed the line if one or both feet entirely cross the line. (This seems to contradict the other rule, but it is true).
e. On a goal kick, corner kick or kick off, the ball may be placed on the line. (It is considered to be on the line if any part of it is touching the line).
f. On the kick off, a player may be standing on the line.

What the Assistant Referees used to be called.

(aka Midfielders). See "Midfielders".

Left Midfielder. Left is as you face the other team's goal. (See "Positions" and "Midfielder").

Lofted Drive
A pass or shot that is made by striking the lower part of the ball with the inside or outside of the foot near the laces, or with the top of the foot, so the ball rises into the air (i.e., so it is "lofted"). It is a "drive" because there is a full follow-thru. A good analogy is a drive in golf; here you are going for distance. This is different from a "chip" which is struck with a downward, jabbing motion & little follow-through. A drive is more powerful than a chip & at older ages is more likely to score from long distance. In youth leagues, however, where there is a short goalkeeper in a tall goal, a chip can be very effective. (See "Drive", "Chip", "Hopped Pass" & "Air Ball").

Left Offensive Midfielder. Left is as you face the other team's goal. (See "Formations").

Long Ball
A ball that is kicked "long". This usually refers to a long ball from the FB's to open space down the side line or to an air ball that is sent between the FB's & the goalkeeper. (e.g., "send a long ball"). (See "Through Ball", "Sweeper", "Over The Top", & "Push Up").

Long - Ball Game
(aka Long Game or Direct Attack). A style of offensive play where the objective of the attacking team is to send "long balls" thru or over the defense which they hope their forwards will occasionally beat the defenders to. This style keeps pressure on the defense but it is much more effective if the attackers can also use short passes when near the other teams goal as a way to finish the attack. (See "Short Game", "Over The Top", & "Direct Attack").

Long Corner
A corner kick that is kicked to the front of the goal in hopes an attacker will kick or head it in, as opposed to a "short corner" which is passed in. A Long Corner is a type of "Cross" to "Center The Ball". (See "Short Corner").

(Mark Up or Mark A Man). Means to guard a man one-on-one ("man-to-man"). A pure man-to-man defense is being abandoned today in favor of one that uses a "spatial" or "zone" defense to defend the area between the ball & the goal and uses man-to-man near the goal & in cases such as corner kicks. A pure man-to-man defense doesn't work well in youth recreational soccer because many players don't have the speed or endurance it requires. (See "Mark The Ball" & "Zone Defense").

Mark the Ball
(aka Spatial Defense or "Zone Defense"). To play the ball & defend space (i.e., Zone Defense) as opposed to marking a man. This is done by creating "multiple layers of defenders" between the ball & the goal ("depth") and the closest defender to the ball becomes the "First Defender", the next closest are "Second Defenders" & other defenders "shift & sag" as the ball moves. This is a more accurate term for "defending space" than the term "Zone Defense" because what you are really doing is defending the space between the ball & your goal. (See "Pressure", "Zone Defense", "Flat Defense" & "First Defender").

Abbreviation for Midfielder. (See "Midfielders").

When describing defensive positions & terms such as "Support" it is necessary to refer to the "middle of the field". The middle of the field is the area that includes the Halfway Line & is where the midfielders generally stay the most. It is between the "Attacking Third" & the "Defending Third". The term "middle" is sometimes incorrectly used to refer to the "center", which is the area between the 2 goals. (See "Middle Third" & "Center Of The Field").

Middle Third
The 1/3 of the field containing the Halfway Line & Center Circle. (See "Attacking Third" & "Defending Third").

(abb. "MF"; aka Halfbacks) Play between Forwards & Fullbacks. Must support the Forwards & also support the Fullbacks. Used to be called "linkmen" because they link the Fullbacks & Forwards. Must run more than any position & must have good stamina or be subbed a lot. On my U-16 recreational team we have 2 "Offensive MF's" ("OMF's") & 2 "Defensive MF's" ("DMF's"). (We play a 3-2-2-3, see "Formations"). My "MF's" move up on the attack & can move into scoring position & score if the opportunity is created. However, they must get back & cover their position & remember they are a mid-fielder. I encourage them to take long chip shots at the top of the goal, but not long grounders that the goalkeeper will easily pick up. On defense, I bring the DMF's back just outside the Penalty Box. We play a zone defense & the Defensive MF's will shift from side to side & move into the Penalty Box if necessary, depending on where the ball is, but the LMF (Left MF) & RMF (Right MF) will not go past the "center"; that way we always have someone covering the center even if the ball is far to one side. (The right and left sides are as you face the other team's goal).

Movement off the Ball
This is a key concept & one of the most important things you can teach. It is the key to "off-the-ball attacking". In general, "movement off-the-ball" refers to the movement by the ballhandler's teammates (the ballhandler is "onball"). The 2 types of movement off-the-ball which all coaches can teach players U-10 & older are: having attackers stay a pass apart, and having receivers move away from the ballhandler as he approaches them in order to create space (i.e., so they are a pass apart). (See "Creating Space", "Off-The-Ball", "Third Man Running", "Support" & "Diagonal Run").

Near Post
(aka "First Post"). The part of the goal that is closest to the ball (e.g., "make a run to the near post" or "cover the near post" or "set up off the near post").

Number of Players
The rules, which are called the "Laws of the Game," call for 11 players per side, although a team can play with as few as 7. However, most youth leagues play with fewer than 11 until age 12 or 14. Contact your soccer association to discuss their rules or go to "Laws of the Game" at (See "Formations", "Positions" and "Small Sided").

Refers to one team having a concentration of players in a specific area or a numerical advantage. For example, "The Defense has numbers in the Box". Or, if the offense had a numerical advantage & scored, you might say, "They had numbers".

When a ballhandler intentionally passes the ball through a defenders legs, then the defender has been "nutmegged".

See "Fouls, Indirect Kick, Impeding the Progress of an Opponent".

Off his Line
When the goalkeeper comes out of the goal (i.e., "off" the goal line between the goal posts) he is "off his line".

Off the Ball
Refers to players on the attacking team who do not have the ball (e.g., "movement off-the-ball"). In contrast, the player with the ball (the "ballhandler") is "onball". (See "Onball Attacker", "Movement Off-The-Ball" & "Creating Space").

Off the Ball Attacking
A style of play emphasizing "off-the-ball" movement as a way to "create space" & scoring opportunities. (See "Movement Off-The-Ball" & "Creating Space").

Off the Play
Refers to a player who is not directly involved in the play. For example, if one player passes to another, they are in the play, but their teammates are "off the play". This term can refer to players who are on offense & defense. (For example, see "Third Man Running").

(aka "Attacking"). See "Attacking", "Attacking Plan" & "Creating Space".

Offensive Midfielders
(Abbreviation is "OMF"). See "Formations".

Offside Rule Simplified
If "offside" is called in your age bracket, you can teach this simple version: You are not offside if you:
Are in your own half of the field (your half is the half your goalkeeper is on)
Are even with or behind the ball
Don't go past the "Second Last Defender" (The goalkeeper is usually, but not always, the last defender; this might be the case if the goalkeeper is out of goal).
Receive the ball direct from a goal kick, corner kick or throw-in. (But you can be offside if you receive it direct on a "free kick").
Are the ballhandler (the ballhandler can be closer to the goal than the ball if he has his back to the goal).
When my forwards "push up" without the ball, I tell them to stay 2 steps behind the Last Defender (not counting the goalkeeper) so they are less likely to be caught offside or to be accidentally called offside. (See "Played" & "Offside Rule, Detailed").

Offside Rule Detailed
What makes the offside rule especially complicated is that a player can be in an "offside position" without being offside. Two things are necessary to be "offside":
1st - The player must be in an "offside position" at the moment the ball is "played" by a teammate. To be in an "offside position", a player must be on the opponent's half of the field & closer to the opponent's goal line than both the ball & the second-last defender. A player is not in an offside position if he is on his own half of the field (i.e. the half his goalkeeper is on), or even with the second-to-last defender or the last 2 defenders. (The goalkeeper is usually the last defender, or one of the last two, but he might not be; the rules just refer to the last 2 defenders & don't mention the goalkeeper). This is often difficult to call. (For example, if a player is even with the Second Last Defender & thereby in an "onside position" but runs past the Second Last Defender a split second after his teammate makes a through pass. In this example, the player is not offside because he was in an onside position at the moment the ball was played.)
2nd - The player must be involved in "active play" by either:
gaining an advantage by being in an offside position, or
interfering with play, or
interfering with an opponent
For example, if a player is in an "offside position" but not involved in the play, he would not be "offside". This can be a tough call & can be very judgmental. For example, what if the "onball attacker" is to the right of the goal but a teammate is in an "offside position" to the left of the goal? You can argue that the teammate wasn't involved in the play, but you can also argue that he distracted the goalkeeper because the goalkeeper had to worry about the possibility of a crossing pass & therefore the attacking team "gained an advantage by being in an offside position", in which case the teammate was "offside". In this case, the Referee's decision might depend on whether he felt the Goalkeeper was influenced by the player in the offside position. Obviously, it is a very subjective decision.
I suggest this: don't argue with the referee over these calls. It's a very tough call and it's easy to miss these calls. (Even the best Linesmen in the world miss these calls). I suggest teaching your attackers to stay 2 steps behind the "Last Defender" and, if they don't have the ball but are running with a teammate who has the ball, to stay 3 steps behind the ball so they are less likely to be called offside. (The linesman's sight angle can sometimes make an attacker look like he's in an offside position when he's actually even with the Last Defender or with the ball).
Special Cases Where Offside Is Not Called: A player is not offside if he receives the ball directly from a goal kick, throw-in or corner kick, even if he is in an offside position; however, once touched, the offside rule starts and if it is then played to a player in an "offside position", offside may be called. (Note that the offside rule does apply on "free kicks"). A player is also not offside if he passes the ball backward, even if doing so leaves him in an "offside position". However, if he is in an offside position & the ball is played back to him (e.g., a wall pass), then he can be called offside.

Offside Trap
When defenders (often a "flat defense") intentionally move forward to try to "trap" an attacker who doesn't have the ball in an offside position. Don't try to teach this to youth teams; it is too complex. However, you can teach your team to stay 12-18 steps away from your goal when the other team has a Free Kick, which is a similar concept and will keep the attackers from scoring on headers or rebounds off the Free Kick. (Defenders must stay 10 yards from the ball on free kicks, so this will only work if the kick is from 20-30 yards out). Remember, the Offside Rule is in effect on Free Kicks. (See "Flat Defense" and "Offside Rule, Detailed").

Abbreviation for Offensive Midfielder. (See "Midfielders" & "Formations").

On his Line
Refers to the goalkeeper staying between the goal posts, as opposed to being "off his line". (See "Off His Line").

(aka "Onball Attacker" & "First Attacker"). Refers to the player with the ball, such as the "onball attacker". (See "First Attacker", "Second Attacker", "Third Attacker", "Off-The-Ball" & "Creating Space").

Onball Attacking
A style of play which relies on the ballhandler to create opportunities by dribbling to get open or dribbling to pull defenders away from receivers who the ballhandler then tries to pass the ball to. (See "Creating Space" & "Movement Off-The-Ball").

One Touch
(aka "First Touch" and "First-Time Ball"). When the ball is passed back without stopping it so it is touched only once it is called a one touch pass. If it is shot on the first touch, it is called a one touch shot. (See "Two Touch").

Open Space
(aka Space). Any part of the field where there isn't a defender, but especially in the area you are attacking (i.e., the area between the ball & the goal). Receivers should be watching for passes to "open space" & passes to open space should be made so the attacker has a better chance of winning the ball than the defender. (See "Pass To Space", "Creating Space", "Through Ball", "Leading Pass" & "Spread The Field").

Outside of Foot
The outside-of-the-foot can be used to pass, shoot, turn, reverse, dribble & control the ball. It is very important to encourage its use. (See "Flick Pass", "Hook Turn", & Outside- & Top-of-Foot Practice Games).

See "Banana Kick".

Overarm Throw
One of the ways a goalkeeper distributes the ball. The arm stays straight & power is from the shoulder. The throw is overarm (aka a "bowling" throw, as it is called in the game of Cricket) and not sidearm, to avoid sidespin. Not for very young players because their hand is too small to hold the ball & they often don't have shoulder strength. Even a "baseball throw" (aka "javelin throw") is difficult for young children.

Over the Top
"Over The Top" has 2 meanings:
1. It is most commonly used to mean a long lofted ball that is kicked deep by defenders toward the other team's goal. This is a "direct" attacking style of play (sometimes called a "long ball" style) where the objective is to get the ball away from your goal onto the other team's half of the field in hopes of gaining "territory" by winning the ball and creating a scoring opportunity. It is the opposite of a controlled, indirect, posssession type of play that relies on many short passes. (See "Long-Ball Game", "Direct Attack", "Attacking" & "Counterattack").
2. (aka Over The Ball). This phrase also refers to a dangerous tackle where a tackler's foot goes over the top of the ball & often cleats the ballhandler in the shin. A variation is when the defender raises his foot above the ball so that if the attacker kicks the ball he will be cleated. This is called "going over the ball".

Over Committing
Is when a defender rushes the ball or jumps into the air so that the ballhandler is able to get past him. It is better to stay on the ground, slow down the attack, wait for an opportunity & try to force the ballhandler to go toward the side line instead of to the middle.

Overlap and Overlapping Run
When one player moves out of position & past a teammate he "overlaps". Overlapping can be good or bad. For example, it could be good if a MF makes an "overlapping run" past a forward who has the ball (i.e., who is "onball") because the MF could either become a receiver or distract a defender. But it is usually bad if your defenders "overlap" very much because it means someone is out of position & you don't have coverage, depth or support.

Refers to having more players in a portion of the field than are normal. For example, you might overload the left side of the Penalty Box when you attack by shifting right side players over to the left side. This might yield a numerical advantage or if defenders are man-marking it might pull them out of position.

Own Goal
The term used for a goal accidentally scored by a team in its "own goal". Except in a few very unlikely cases, it counts as a goal for the other team, just as if they had scored it.

The speed on the ball, speed of a player or speed of the game. You want to have proper "pace" on a pass. (See "Weight"). The British also use this to refer to a player's closing speed (e.g., "he has great pace").

A pass is a kick, or a ball played with the head, chest or thigh, that is intended to be received by a teammate. Like in basketball, passing is preferable to dribbling because the ball can be moved more quickly & can better be kept away from the other team. By U-12, it is critical for a team to be able to attack by passing. (See "Pass To Feet", "Push Pass", "Hopped Pass", "Toe-Kick", "Flick Pass", "Pass To Space"

Pass to Feet
Passing to a teammate's feet is good if he is surrounded by defenders, but otherwise it is better to "pass to space". It is important to teach this to your players. An example of when you should "pass to feet" is if a forward is in scoring range but defenders are around him. Players U-12 & older should be taught to control a hard pass to their feet.

Pass to Space
Teach players to "pass to space" (i.e., to "open space") & teach receivers to anticipate passes to space, as opposed to "passing to feet". These passes are sometimes called "leading passes" (if they are made to space in front of a receiver) or "through passes" (if they are through the defense into the open space behind the defense). This is a very important concept to teach & one that I think should be introduced by U-8 & definitely by U-10. It becomes increasingly important, as players become older, & is very important by U-12. An advantage of this style of play (as opposed to "passing to feet") is that players learn they must be alert and must go to the ball and not wait for the ball to come to them. Passing to space also encourages "movement off the ball". (See "Creating Space", "Leading Pass", "Through Ball", "Wall Pass", "Formations", "Attacking Plan", "Styles of Play", "Pass To Yourself", "Open Space", "Pass To Feet".

Pass to Yourself
(aka "Pop It"). As players get older & better, it becomes very difficult for an attacker to dribble past a defender & passing becomes very important. By U-12, your attack won't work very well unless your team can "pass", "pass to space" & "pass to yourself". One way to beat a defender is to "pass the ball to yourself" by passing the ball to open space behind the defender & then beating him to it. The passer has the advantages of knowing where he is passing it & of forward momentum, while the defender must turn around and gain momentum. This is one way to get through the last line of defenders if they have "pushed up" & in that case is like passing a "through ball" to yourself. This works best if the attacker is faster than the defender. I tell attackers to "pop the ball" past the defender & ideally to chip it or kick an "airball" if they can, since an airball is hardest for a defender to block with his foot. Since they can run faster without dribbling than they can if they are dribbling, I tell them to pop it as far as they can while still beating the defender to it. For example, if they are on the right or left side, they can pop it farther than if they are in the center, because if they kick it too far down the center the goalkeeper will get it. If the defender is faster than the attacker, the attacker won't be able to pop it very far or the defender will beat him to the ball. Second Attackers and Third Attackers must move up with the ball to support the First Attacker. If a defender gets the ball, the attackers must pressure the defender to try to win back the ball. If they can cause a turnover, they may have a scoring opportunity. (See "Through Ball", "Hopped Pass", "Creating Space", "Verbal Signals", "First Attacker" & "Pass").

Passing On
When a defender turns over responsibility for marking an attacker to a teammate, usually because the attacker leaves one defender's zone & enters a different defender's zone.

See "Fouls" and "Penalty Box".

Penalty Area
(aka "Penalty Box", "Box" or "Eighteen"). See "Penalty Box".

Penalty Box
(aka Penalty Area, "Box" or "Eighteen"). The large box in front of the goal in which the goalkeeper can touch the ball with hands. The half circle at the top of this box is the Penalty Box Arc. Size will vary by age group & your club rules. On adult sized fields, the Penalty Box extends 18 yards from the Goal Line into the field. For dimensions go to "Laws of the Game" at

Penalty Box Arc
(aka The "D"). See "Penalty Box"

Penalty Kick
(aka "Spot Kick"). A "penalty kick" or "PK", is a special type of direct free kick. When a player commits any of the 10 "Direct Free Kick Fouls" within his own Penalty Box, the other team is given a Penalty Kick. On a PK, a player from the fouled team (the coach can choose who, but it is nice to choose the player who was fouled) gets a free shot at goal from the "Penalty Mark" (which is 12 yards out for U-12 & older; less for U-8 & U-10) with only the goalkeeper to stop the shot. All other players must stay outside the Penalty Box & the Penalty Box Arc until it is kicked. The kick must go forward & once "in play" (i.e., once the ball moves) any player other than the kicker may then touch the ball. The goalkeeper must stay on the goal line until the ball is kicked, but he can move laterally along the line. The goalkeeper cannot take actions (such as waving his arms or yelling) to try to intentionally distract the kicker because that would be "unsporting", nor can the kicker start his run & then stop for the purpose of faking the Goalkeeper, for the same reason.

(aka Training Vests or Bibs) A mesh or nylon practice vest used to identify teams during practice.

English term for any type of sports field.

(e.g., "at the instant the ball is played" or "after the ball has been played"). Refers to a pass or kick & not to dribbling & not to a player without the ball. The term "played" is critical to the definition of "offside". (See "Late Tackle" & "Offside").

The rules, which are called the "Laws of the Game," call for 11 players per side, although a team can play with as few as 7. However, most youth leagues play with fewer than 11 until age 12 or 14. Contact your soccer association to discuss their rules or go to "Laws of the Game" at

Playing Distance
Within 3 feet of the ball. (Several rules make reference to "Playing Distance" without defining it; "Obstruction" & "Shoulder Charge", for example).

Pop It
A verbal signal for "Pass To Yourself". See "Pass To Yourself" & "Verbal Signals".

See "Forwards" (F), "Fullbacks" (FB), "Midfielders" (MF), "Goalkeeper" (GK), and "Stopper" (S) & "Sweeper" (SW). LF is Left F, CF is Center F, RF is Right F, etc. In designating positions, as you face the other team's goal, Right (e.g., RMF) is to your right.

Possession Style
An "indirect" style of play that emphasizes ball control and many short passes, as opposed to long airballs. The argument in favor of this style is that it teaches players to control the ball. The argument against overemphasis on this style is that players can lose sight of the real objective, which is to score, and not to just see how many consecutive passes can be made (i.e, a team should possess the ball in order to score, but the objective is to score and not to just possess the ball). Most Recreational teams cannot be successful trying to play a possession style because they aren't capable of making 7-10 consecutive passes under pressure. Some people think "Possession Soccer" cannot be combined with "Attacking Soccer" (meaning a more direct style that uses long passes and long "over-the-top" airballs), but that is not true. In fact, the two styles can be effectively combined. For example, the Amsterdam professional team Ajax (pronounced "eye' ax") does so, often playing a series of short passes in the "middle third" (in order to lull the opponent and to give their Forwards time to go forward) and then suddenly sending a long airball into the Penalty Box. See "Styles of Play", "Formations" and "Attacking Plan" for more information and attacking styles more suitable for recreational teams.

Post Line
An imaginary line extending perpendicular from a goal post. This is a useful term when describing positioning.

Power Shot
(aka "Drive"). See "Drive".

When a team "Pushes Up", it is similar to a "press" in basketball & there are special tactics for "beating the press". (See "Push Up").

There must be pressure on the ball any time it is in scoring range or close enough to your goal that it could be centered (or crossed) to the front of the goal. Over 50% of goals scored occur when there is a lack of pressure on the ball. Pressure slows down the attack & makes it much more difficult to get a clear shot on goal or to deliver a good pass into the center. You should also teach your forwards & MF's to pressure the ball to try to win it back any time it is near the other team's goal. For example, they should aggressively double-team the ballhandler to try to win the ball back after a turnover near the other team's goal. This can be a great scoring opportunity if you can win the ball &, if you accidentally foul, a free kick is too far away from your goal to score. (See "Zone Defense", "Mark The Ball" & "First Defender").

Professional Foul
(aka "Tactical Foul"). An intentional foul for the purpose of stopping the attacker from breaking away to goal or to prevent a scoring opportunity. Punishable by a yellow card or red card. Also called a tactical foul.

See "Relegation".

See "Checking Off", "Hooking Run" and "Show".

(aka "Drag Back"). A pullback is executed by placing the bottom of the foot on the ball, rolling it (or flicking it) backward, and turning with it. It is a way to quickly reverse direction. Every player U-8 & older should know how to do a pullback. A "Stop/Turn" also uses the bottom of the foot to stop the ball but doesn't pull the ball back. (See "Stop/Turn"). Other primary methods of turning include the Outside-of-foot Hook and the Inside-of -foot Hook, which is also called a "Cutback".

The key to consistent punting is to face the target "square" & a consistent drop. Children's hands are small. Teach your young goalkeepers to hold the ball with 2 hands, fully extend the arms & drop the ball from waist height. This will result in a consistent drop. If punts are too low (not enough height) it means the ball is being contacted too low. If too much height & not enough distance, it is being contacted too high. The goalkeeper has six seconds after picking up the ball to punt it or release it. He is allowed to pick it up, run with it and then punt, throw it, or drop it and dribble or kick it. However, he cannot touch it with his hands outside the "Penalty Box" and once he drops it he can't touch it again with his hands until an opponent has touched it. (See "Fouls, Indirect", Distribute", "Goalkeeper" & "Penalty Box").

Push Pass
The most important and most frequently used pass. Made with the inside-of-foot & called a push pass because of the long follow-through which sometimes looks like pushing the ball. The ball is struck with the part of the foot under the anklebone. This is the most accurate pass but best for short passes that stay on the ground. This pass is accurate because it is easy for the passer to lock his ankle. Key teaching points are to have the player face the target and square up so he, the ball & the target are in a straight line, keep both knees slightly bent, pull up the toes so the kicking foot is parallel to the ground, lock the ankle on contact and follow through toward the target. An advantage of this pass is that when receiving the ball the leg will stop the ball if it takes an unexpected bounce. (See "Toe Kick", "Inside-of-Foot Pass")

Push Up
The term "push up" refers to fullbacks or midfielders moving forward toward the halfway line. In certain formations and if your team has speed and stamina, you should "push up" when you attack or any time the ball is near the other team's Penalty Box, even if the other team has the ball, so you can support your attack or put pressure on the ball. To build an attack (especially on a large field) it is an advantage to have everyone, including the defenders, shift with the ball. This allows your team to keep "shape" so there is "support". Moving the fullbacks up also has the advantage of keeping the other team away from your goal because they will be "offside" if they go past the last defender before the ball passes him. This keeps the attackers out of scoring range, but defenders must be quick to fall back if the ball gets past them. This is why some teams use a "Sweeper". A Sweeper is a very fast player with good endurance who is not afraid to make contact to stop the ball & clear it. The Sweeper will play slightly behind the fullbacks or as a Center Fullback with a "Stopper' in front of him. (The Stopper doesn't have to be as fast, but must be tough and able to stop the ball). The Sweeper will run down any through balls or breakaways and kick the ball out of bounds over the side line to slow down the other team's attack so your team will have time to recover. If your fullbacks are slow and you want to push them up when you attack, consider using a Sweeper. Another alternative is a 3-2-2-3 formation, as described in "Formations" and "Attacking Plan".
Once a team is "pushed up", the FB's won't automatically fall back when they lose the ball but may stay pushed up to apply pressure & try to steal the ball back. This is kind of like a defensive "press" in basketball & it is hard to dribble thru these FB's when they are pushed up. The way to break thru & beat the "press" is by playing "through balls", "give & go's" & "passing to yourself". If your opponent's FB's are pushed up, it creates the opportunity for a fastbreak counterattack. In recreational soccer it is best to not push up if you play on a long field and the other teams Forwards are faster than your Fullbacks. An alternative is to use a formation that creates more depth, such as a 3-2-2-3 and to "defend deep".

Right Defensive Midfielder. (See "Formations"). Right is as you face the other team's goal.

Ready Position
The goalkeeper's basic stance (knees bent & hands up) when the ball is within shooting distance of the goal.

When your team shoots, it is important for the F's & MF's to "go to goal" & get in position near the goal for a "rebound". A rebound will occur when a shot hits the goal or when the goalkeeper blocks a shot. However, your players should not go too close or the rebound will bounce behind them. When this happens, they not only don't have a shot, but they actually are in the way of their teammates who are trying to take a shot. (i.e., They are between the ball & the goal & blocking their teammate's ability to take a shot. It's almost like giving the other team a defender). Tell your players to not run into the Goal Box until they see where the rebound is going (remind them that they can run forward a lot faster than they can run backward). Also, teach them to aggressively try to win the ball back if an opponent other than the goalkeeper gets the ball near the other team's goal (e.g., from a rebound or a turnover). This can be a great scoring opportunity if you can steal the ball back &, if you accidentally foul, the free kick is too far away from your goal to score.

(aka "Recovering Run"). Refers to players running to get "goalside" when their team loses the ball so they can take up defensive positions. In recreational soccer, if the other team has a fast break, defenders will often kick the ball out of bounds so the defense has time to "recover". (See "Shift & Sag" and "Cover").

Recreational Soccer
(aka "Rec" soccer). There are 2 types of youth soccer, recreational and select (which is also called travel soccer). "Recreational" soccer is what most youth participate in. There are usually fall and spring seasons, the sponsoring organization lines up the coaches & recruits the players, during the season there is usually one game per week, fun & good sportsmanship are stressed & each player plays at least 50% of each game. Coaches are usually parent volunteers. Rec teams often practice only once per week. (See "Select Soccer").

Red Card
Means a player is ejected from the game & may not be replaced (i.e., his team must "play short"). A red card does not have to be preceded by a "Yellow Card". (See "Cards and "Rules").

To change the path of a moving ball by deflecting it (e.g., at the high school level, many goals are scored by a player using his head to redirect a chip pass).

Most youth games have one referee on the field, called a "Center Referee", who is the referee-in-charge and 2 Assistant Referees. (See "Assistant Referee").

Refers to allowing a FB or the Sweeper to come into the attack if they have the ball and can penetrate. This can be very effective and creates scoring opportunities by overloading the opponent's defense. For example, "They allow the Sweeper to release into the attack". (See "Attacking").

Many professional leagues such as the English Premier League and the Italian Serie A use a system of "relegation & promotion" where the teams finishing lowest in the standings are relegated to a lower, less prestigious division and the top teams in the lower division (e.g., Division I in England) are "promoted" and move up to play in the better league. Relegation is bad; promotion is good.

Re Start
Any time play is stopped & restarted (e.g., a corner kick, goal kick, free kick, or kickoff). (See "Set Play").

Reverse Pass
A lateral (sideways) pass to a player who is trailing to one side. This is not a backward or back heel pass. It is often played to space in front of the teammate who is coming up from behind & may go slightly backward. (See "Back Pass").

Right Forward. Right is as you face the other team's goal. (See "Positions" and "Forwards").

Right Fullback. (See "Positions" and "Fullbacks").

Right Midfielder. (See "Positions" and "Midfielders").

Right Offensive Midfielder. (See "Formations").

Run of Play
(aka "Flow of Play") Refers to goals scored during normal play, as opposed to PK's or shootouts. (e.g., "He scored 4 goals, all in the run of play".)

A foul occurring when 2 or more teammates "hold" an opponent by boxing him in. Penalized by a direct kick.

When the goalkeeper catches or blocks a shot and thereby prevents the other team from scoring a goal.

The term has 2 meanings. It is a type of Feint (See "How To Teach Feints & Fancy Footwork"), & Scissors Kick is also another name for "Bicycle Kick". (See "Bicycle Kick").

(aka "Danger Zone"). See "Danger Zone".

Second Attacker
An attacker who is within a short to medium passing distance from the First Attacker. (See "First Attacker" & "Third Attacker").

Second Defender
There should always be a Second Defender. (See "Support" & "Shift & Sag").

Second Sweeper
The concept of having the goalkeeper push up to the edge of the Penalty Box (or even farther) when your team is "pushed up" on the attack so he can kick away long through balls (or long cleared balls) that the other team might kick into the open space behind the FB's. This can work very well in youth soccer on a larger field (e.g., U-10 or U-12) because the kids can only kick the ball 25-35 yards in the air; thus, the goalkeeper doesn't have to worry as much about getting kicked over as a high school goalkeeper would. (See "Goalkeeper").

Select Soccer
(aka "Travel" soccer). There are 2 types of youth soccer, recreational and select (which is also called travel soccer). "Select" soccer is more competitive & teams often practice several times per week & play year-round. There are usually try-outs for these teams, players can be "cut" and playing time is not guaranteed. The focus of these teams is often on winning tournaments & that is how their success is judged. They are sometimes called "travel" teams because they travel to tournaments in other cities. These teams often have paid coaches or a paid trainer. They have been criticized for having too much focus on tournament play and not enough emphasis on training. (See "Recreational Soccer").

Send It
A verbal signal to send a "through ball". (See "Verbal Signals" & "Through Ball").

Send it Through
See "Pass To Space", "Pass To Yourself" & "Through Ball".

Send Off
A player must be "sent off" if he receives a "red card". This means he is made to leave the field and cannot return. In some leagues he may not be replaced & his team must play "one player short". (See "Cards").

Serious Foul Play
A player must be given a "red card" & "sent off" for serious foul play.

A pass.

Set Play
A planned play that usually occurs after a "re-start" (i.e., any time play is stopped & restarted, such as on a corner kick or free kick) but also on kick-offs & on some throw-ins, where players are assigned a specific task. If a Set Play occurs on a re-start it may be called a "Re-start Play".

To control the ball, for example when receiving a hard pass. ("He couldn't settle the ball".)

Shadow Marking
Assigning a defender to mark a dangerous attacker closely.

Shadow Play
A training technique in which players try to follow the movements of a coach or of a leader.

Refers to whether the players on your team are generally maintaining correct distances between each other so there is "support" & coverage when you are on offense or defense. If they are bunched up or players are too far apart ("stretched") or your FB's are overlapping MF's, etc., then you don't have good "shape". (See "Stretched Defense" and "Sag" & "Support").

(aka "Jockeying). See "Jockeying".

(aka Screen). When a player legally positions his body so the defender can't touch the ball without fouling. (e.g., The ballhandler shifts the ball to his foot that is farthest from the defender, stays low with his knees bent & feet apart so he can't get easily pushed off the ball & stiffens the arm nearest the defender; the arm can't be used to push the defender but it can point down & slightly out so he's ready to withstand a "Shoulder Charge"). See "Strength On the Ball" & "Shoulder Charge".

Attackers & defenders should constantly be shifting (as the ball moves) so they are in a position to provide "support" or "cover". (See "Support", "Cover", "Shift & Sag" & "Support Distance").

Shift and Sag
A convenient term for describing what you want your players to do on defense. It has 2 meanings:
First, as attackers move the ball around the field, defenders should be constantly shifting to maintain good defensive coverage and the players farthest from the ball should "sag" back so they are in position to stop an attack on goal (this provides additional "depth" & concentration of defenders between the ball & the goal). This creates "multiple layers" of defenders in a position to stop an attack on goal. For example, if the ball is on the left side & the LF is the First Defender, then the LMF should be a Second Defender, the CF should also be a Second Defender, & the LFB should be the Third Defender. The CF should shift so he is within 5 - 7 steps of the ball & "sag" back a little so if the onball attacker tries to go to the left of the LF the CF is there to stop the penetration. The CMF should also "shift & sag" so he is between the CF & the goal (i.e., 10 - 15 steps behind the CF), & the CFB should do the same behind the CMF. On the right side, the RF should sag behind the CF, but not go past the center of the field (i.e., the imaginary line between the goals), etc. These relationships are shown in the diagram below. If the ball were on the right side, it would be reversed. Note that all defenders don't try to stay precisely between the ball & the goal (if they did you would have no "width" & your field "coverage" would be poor); however, they are in position to "recover" in time to stop an attack on goal.
Second, when a team loses the ball, the players nearest the ball should stay & try to be "First or Second Defenders" & slow down the attack. But all others should quickly "sag" back toward their goal (i.e., "Recover") to create multiple layers of defenders. This doesn't mean that everyone runs back in front of the goal; if they do it just makes it easy for the attackers to reach your Danger Zone. A rule of thumb is that the Fullbacks should drop back far enough that a long chip pass won't go over their heads. Also, keep in mind that even when the FB's have sagged back near their goal, you must leave some MF's & F's outside the Penalty Box in a position to win cleared balls & to receive passes so you can counterattack. If all your players are in the Penalty Box you won't be able to get the ball off your end of the field. (See "Defense", "Depth", "Support", "Support Distance & Relative Position" "Formations", "Zone Defense", "First Defender", "Recover", "Funnel" "Mark", "Formations" & "Pressure").

See "Drive", "Pass", "Chip", "Flick Pass" & "Toe Kick".

Shoot Out
When a game is tied and time has run out, a "shoot-out" is one way to break the tie (another is to play overtime periods). A shoot-out is similar to a penalty kick, except the players must all stay in the middle of the field. Each team will receive a certain number of chances to score.

To play "short" means to play with fewer than the allowed number of players.

Short Corner
A corner kick where the ball is put into play with a short pass instead of a long kick. Once put into play, the "Offside Rule" applies. (See "Corner Kick" and "Long Corner").

Short Game
(aka Short-Ball Game, Controlled Game or Indirect Attack). Style of offensive play based on short passes (See "Long-Ball Game").

Shoulder Charge
(aka "Fair Charging"). A type of "tackle" which can be legally used to try to "win" (i.e., gain possession of) the ball. To be legal, it: (a) cannot take place from behind (b) is only permitted within playing distance (i.e., 3 feet) of the ball (c) cannot be violent or dangerous (d) must be intended to win the ball & not just to knock down the opponent (e) must be shoulder to shoulder (not to the opponents chest or back) with the arms (especially elbows) close to the body (f) the player must have at least one foot on the ground (i.e., he can't leap). (See "Tackle", "Fouls", "Shielding", "Strength On the Ball" & "Win The Ball").

When a receiver makes it obvious to the ballhandler that he is open for the pass or when the passer makes it obvious to the receiver that he wants to pass to him. The passer can do this by looking at the receiver or going toward him or by turning toward him. Three ways the receiver can to do this are to come back toward the ball, by "checking off", or by turning toward the ballhandler in a "ready" stance. (See "Checking Off" & "Target Player").

Sidearm Throw
A sidearm throw by the goalkeeper is to be avoided because the ball will curve. See "Overarm Throw".

Side Line
(aka "Touch Line"). The long sides of the field. Length will vary by age group & your club rules. (See "Field Diagram").

(aka "Goal Area" or "Goal Box"). The Goal Box extends 6 yards from the Goal and Goal Line (See "Goal Box").

Slide Tackle
When a defender slides on the ground and attempts to kick the ball away from the ballhandler. If the tackle is careless, reckless or uses excessive force or the tackler first contacts the ballhandler instead of the ball, a foul should be called. If the tackle is from behind (from an angle that doesn't allow the ballhandler to see it coming) a "Red Card" can be given. Some youth & adult leagues don't allow slide tackling because too many injuries result. I don't teach it & don't allow it. Beside the possibility of getting hurt or hurting someone else, you can't play if you are laying on the ground. (See "Tackle" and "Fouls").

The space between defenders. An attacker might pass the ball through the "slot", in which case it can be called a "slotted ball". (See "Channel").

Soft Pass
A ground pass with the proper "weight" (i.e., pace & spin) & so the receiver can take a good one-touch shot on it; especially a ball played to space within shooting range of the goal.

Space = Time
Attackers want to get away from defenders into open space so they have time & room to attack. Defenders don't want to give attackers space, especially if the attackers are in scoring range (i.e., in the "Danger Zone").

Spacial Defense
(aka "Zone Defense", "Mark the Ball" & Space Marking).

Spot Kick
A "Penalty Kick".

Speed Dribbling
Speed Dribbling is a way to move the ball fast when you are open. Instead of keeping it close to the feet, you kick it forward and run to it (being sure to get there before an opponent), then kick it forward again, etc. (See "Pass to Yourself" and "Control Dribbling").

Spread the Field
(aka "Stretch The Field"). When you are attacking, you want to "spread" or "stretch" the defenders to open up holes in the defense. By spreading the defenders, you force them to cover a larger area so the defenders are farther apart & can't do as good a job of supporting each other. (On the other hand, if you are defending, you want to be careful to not get too spread out or stretched). One way to spread out a defense is by using "width" on the attack. One example of this is if you spread your FB's wide on your goal kick in order to force the defenders to cover the entire width of the field. (The Goal Kick Set-Up diagram in the back of this book shows this). Another example of spreading the field is to be sure your forwards stay a pass apart. You can also stretch the length of the defense. An example of this is if the other team is "pushed up" and you put your fastest forward at the halfway line & then send "through balls" or long cleared kicks into the open space between the other team's FB's & their goalkeeper. If you do this a few times the other team won't be able to push up as far and you will have "stretched" their defense. (See "Width In Attack", "Width In Defense", "Stretched Defense", "Stretch The Field" & "Goal Kick").

Square Defense
(aka "Flat Defense"). See "Flat Defense".

Square Pass
(aka "Flat Pass"). A pass across the field (parallel to the end line) A "cross" can be a type of square pass. (See "Cross The Ball").

In youth soccer, it is useful to talk about distances in terms of "steps", instead of yards. When used in this book, the term "steps" refers to the size step a player in that age group might take, with U-12 being adult size. This term is useful because it adjusts the distances to fit the size of the player. For example, if it says the CF should be 5 - 7 steps from the LF, the distance is shorter for U-8 than for U-12.

Abbreviation for Stopper. (See "Stopper").

Stop / Turn
A method of turning where the player uses the bottom to his foot to stop the ball while on a fast run, lets his momentum carry him a step or two past the ball, but quickly turns and comes back to the ball. Similar to a "Pullback" except the ball is not pulled back and the player makes the turn away from the ball, whereas on a Pullback the player turns toward the ball.

Stoppage Time
Time added to international games to extend the game to make up for "stoppages" such as injuries, substitution, time wasting, lost ball, etc. This is added by the center referee & he is the only one who knows how much "stoppage time" is being added &, therefore, the only one who knows exactly when the game will end. This is also mistakenly called "Injury Time".

(abbreviation is "ST") A center fullback or a player who plays between the FB's & MF's who is good at stopping attacks up the center. Also can refer to a defender who marks the opponents' most dangerous striker. Often a strong, tough, brave player. Similar to defensive midfielders. See "Tips" for more about how & when to play a Stopper.

Straight Lines
Sideways, Forward or Backward, as opposed to diagonals. Encourage attacking players to play angles as well as straight lines, including diagonal passes onto open space.

See "Formations", "Creating Space", "Attacking" & "Defense".

Strength on the Ball
Refers to how hard it is to steal (i.e., "dispossess") the ball from the ballhandler. You will notice that it is easy to steal the ball from some players but difficult to steal the ball from others. The difference depends on footwork, shielding & "strength on the ball". To protect the ball, the ballhandler should shift it to the foot farthest from the opponent and, if the opponent is close by, prepare for a "Shoulder Charge" by bending his knees, bracing himself & stiffening the arm closest to the opponent. Players should always keep their knees bent, even if they don't have the ball. At advanced levels, the ballhandler will stay very low when defenders are close by & may drop his shoulder to keep from getting pushed off the ball. You want your players to have "strength on the ball" so they are not easily pushed off the ball. (See "Shielding", "Shoulder Charge" & "Drag The Ball").

See "Warming Up & Stretching".

Stretch the Field
(aka "Spread The Field"). See "Spread The Field", "Stretched Defense", "Width In Attack" & "Width In Defense").

Stretched Defense
When defenders are too far apart. A stretched defense has holes & is vulnerable to attack. (See "Stretch The Field", "Width In Attack" & "Width In Defense").

Strike the Ball
Kick the ball, head it, knee it, etc. A player can strike the ball with any part of the body except the hand, arm or shoulder.

A scoring forward, usually a center forward (as distinguished from a "wing" forward, whose job might be to cross the ball to a striker) who is very skilled at scoring. There could be one or two of these. The term implies a player who is great at shooting & "finishing". This player will sometimes stay "pushed up" when the rest of the team is back on defense. Many great strikers are poor defenders & if so they are called "pure strikers". You can argue that a great striker is born & that the instincts & quickness required can't be taught. (See "Forward", "Wing")

Strong Side
The side of the field (i.e., the side, not the end) that the ball is on. The other side is called the "weak side" or "back side".

Styles of Play
On offense, the two primary styles of play are a "direct attack" (which tries to quickly move the ball into scoring range, often using long passes, "through balls", or long air balls) and an "indirect attack" (also called a "Possession" style, which is slower and uses many short passes, often sideways or backwards, while looking for a weakness in the defense.) On defense, the two primary styles of play are a "zone defense" and a "marking defense" (i.e., a man-to-man defense). There are several different terms that describe other styles of play. For example, "passing to feet" vs. "passing to space" and "onball attacking" vs. "off-the-ball attacking". With most formations you can use different styles of play.
When comparing styles of play, you can look to other sports for analogies. In American football, for example, the dominant style of play used to be the running game, but today more teams emphasize the pass than the run. The best teams recognize that a balanced attack that uses both the run and the pass is best. In American football, if a team only runs, the defense will crowd the offense to stop the run. In soccer, if a team only attacks with short passes, the opposing defenders will push up to the halfway line or farther. The threat of through balls and long balls "stretches the defense" and is what forces defenders to stay honest. Another analogy to American football is that when you have the ball near your goal you definitely do not want to turn the ball over. In American football, even the best teams will protect the ball and punt. For this reason, it is best for most rec soccer teams to clear the ball away from their goal if there is any pressure, and hope they can win the cleared balls at least 50% of the time. (Although if there isn't pressure or you have skilled FB's you can "build play from the back").
If you watch a lot of professional soccer from different countries you will see that most good teams from around the world control the ball and build play in the midfield, but also incorporate through balls and long balls into their attack (i.e., they mix the indirect and direct styles of play). In fact, depending upon the league, between 15% and 30% of the goals scored are a result of through balls or long air balls.
The style of attack you teach your team should depend on the ability of your players, the amount of time you can practice, and your coaching ability. The style of attack that will work best also depends on the type of defense the other team plays (e.g., whether they are "pushed up" or "defending deep") and whether your Forwards are faster than the other teams FB's. For example, if the opposing FB's push up and your Forwards are faster, you should try through balls and quick counterattacks. A select team that practices 4 hours per week can play a better short passing game than a typical rec team. In any case, you will want to teach the concepts of "First Attacker", "Second Attacker", and "Third Attacker".
As for a defensive style of play, a "zone defense" and "First Defender/Second Defender" works best for most rec teams. This is because many rec FB's don't have the speed or stamina to play a man-to-man style of defense. How to teach a zone defense is explained at "Zone Defense" and at "Support". (See "Attacking", "Attacking Plan", "Boom Ball", "Counterattack", "Creating Space", "Direct Attack", "Possession Style", "Spread the Field", "Stretched Defense", "Through Ball", "Long-Ball Game", "Over the Top", "Zone Defense", "Support", "First Attacker", "Formations", and the section titled "Scoring More Goals").

(aka "Subbing"). Youth Leagues usually either allow "unlimited substitutions" (which usually means the coach can "sub" as many times as he wants during the game but only at certain times such as goal kicks) or only allow subbing between quarters. If "unlimited substitution" is allowed, you can usually sub at these times (check with your league to see if they follow these rules): after a goal kick is called for either team, after a goal by either team, after a throw-in is called for your team (not the other team), at halftime, and at an injury time-out if the other team replaces a player (but you can only sub as many players as they do). You usually cannot sub on corners, or free kicks. Substitutions may only occur with the Referees permission (you can get his attention by yelling "sub"). Players entering & leaving the field should only do so at the halfway line. The rules technically say that a player must leave the field first before his sub can enter the field. Many referees don't enforce this in youth games because there is so much substitution. However, if the Ref says "call them off first", this is what he means. Often, midfielders are subbed the most because they run the most. (See "Unlimited Substitutions").

You want to have "support" on both offense & defense. "Support" refers to having teammates who are properly positioned near the ball (i.e., within passing range on offense and within 5 - 10 steps of the First Defender on defense):
A. On Offense, there should always be 2 or more teammates within passing range (7-15 steps, depending on age) who are open for a pass. One of these can be following the ballhandler (a "trailer"). The key concepts are "First Atacker", "Second Attacker", and "Third Attacker". (See "First Attacker", "Push Up", "Support Distance & Relative Position", "Attacking", "Attacking Tips" in Chapter 1, & Chapter 2, "How To Teach Offense & Defense").
B. On Defense there are 3 key concepts:
"First Defender" - The player closest to the ball must challenge the ball & try to slow down the attack or block a shot, and
"Second Defenders" - The second closest player must be the Second Defender and back up the First Defender and stay between the ball and the goal. The Second Defender should stay about 5-7 steps behind the First Defender and should become the First Defender if the ballhandler gets by the initial First Defender. (In this case, the initial defender should drop back to help the defender who was backing him up).
"Shift & Sag" - As soon as the ball is lost, your team should quickly "transition" from offense to defense; the closest player should become the "First Defender" the next two closest should become the "Second Defenders" & all the rest should "shift & sag". What this means is to shift so they are generally between the ball & the goal & sag back to create multiple layers of defenders (which is called "Depth"). There are 2 rules that you can use to teach your players how to "shift & sag" on defense:
The left & right players (e.g., the LMF & RMF or LFB & RFB) should not go past the center of the field.
Don't go past a teammate unless it is an emergency & never go past two teammates. These rules apply to defense but not offense because more creativity is allowed on offense. (See "Shift & Sag", "Shape", "Depth", "Cover", "Width In Defense", "Support Distance & Relative Position", "Zone Defense", "Defense" & "Flat Defense").
C. All players should shift toward the ball whether on offense or defense. Ideally, there should be multiple layers of support on both offense & defense.

Support Distance & Relative Position
On offense, you want to "spread the field" & to add "width". This means the distance between players (especially F's & MF's) will be greater than when they are on defense. The players still "support" each other, but on offense, players will be more "square" than when on defense. For example, if your LF has the ball & is attacking, your CF may be even with him or in front of him & a long pass away. Whereas, on defense, if your LF is the First Defender, your CF will probably sag back & move within 5-7 steps so he can provide defensive "support" (meaning he is helping contain the attacker & is a Second Defender because if the ballhandler moves his way he must become the First Defender) & "cover" (meaning that he is covering space so there isn't a hole for the attacker's to easily penetrate; in other words, if he wasn't covering that space the attackers would go through it to penetrate the defense). (See "Support", "Cover", "Depth", "Zone Defense", "Sag" & "Creating Space").

Abbreviation for Sweeper. (See "Sweeper").

(abb. "SW"). A fast & tough player who usually plays just behind the fullbacks, although he is allowed to roam. His job is to cover the space between the fullbacks & the goalkeeper & to stop "breakaways" & "sweep up" the ball or kick long "through balls" out of bounds so the defense has time to recover. Using a sweeper increases your "depth" & field coverage and therefore allows your fullbacks to push up to support your attack. A Sweeper is like a free safety in American football. A good sweeper must be fast & willing to make contact to steal the ball. A Sweeper can be like a coach on the field and can help direct adjustments, since he is usually the deepest field player and in a good position to view the game. The trend with pro teams is to not use a Sweeper but instead to use a "flatback four", which is 4 Fullbacks playing a zone defense and using a lot of "offside traps". A Sweeper was originally used to back up man-to-man defenses. However, using a Sweeper can also be used with a "Zone Defense" (i.e., "Spatial Defense"). A great Sweeper who has speed and great coverage skills can allow your Fullbacks to push up to support your attack, even if they aren't fast, because he will slow down the attack and give your Fullbacks time to recover. However, if you don't have a great Sweeper, a better alternative for most recreational teams is to use a 3-2-2-3 formation where the FB's stay deep, as described in "Formations". (See "Push Up", "Formations", "Through Ball", "Breakaway", "Second Sweeper", "Support", "Cover", "Defending Deep" & "Zone Defense").

On offense, when 2 players swap position in an effort to get open. On defense, when 2 defenders are man-marking & swap the men they are marking. In both cases, one of the players might yell "switch" to the other.

Switch the Play or Switch Fields
(aka Change Fields, Switch Fields or Reverse The Field ). An attacking concept where the ball is quickly passed from one side to the other (i.e., to the "weak side") where the defense is weaker. This is usually done by a long pass (often a chip pass). This also has the effect of loosening or stretching the defense so it is less compact & easier to penetrate. (See "Strong Side", "Back Side", "Width In Attack" & "Width In Defense").

System of Play
(aka "Formation"). See "Formations".

To steal the ball. Mostly done while standing (see "Shoulder Charge" & "Block Tackle"), but also see "Slide Tackle". (Also see "Fouls").

Tactical Foul
(aka "Professional Foul"). See "Professional Foul".

See "Formations", "Creating Space", "Attacking" & "Defense".

When a ballhandler moves in one direction but leaves (i.e., "drops") the ball for a teammate behind him who moves in a different direction. Too complicated for youth teams.

Target Player
The player who is "targeted" to receive the ball when attacking. Also, a forward whose job is to get as close as possible to the opponent's goal without being offside. Teammates will try to get this player the ball by passing or "through balls". Also, a potential receiver who gets in scoring position.

Skills such as dribbling, shooting, passing, receiving, throw-ins, etc.

The Game is the best teacher
This is a frequently repeated statement & there is truth to it, but don't think it means that a coach isn't needed. I can't imagine a child who wouldn't benefit from being taught proper technique & basic soccer terms, concepts & rules. These aren't things a child will learn by themselves in the backyard. However, "over coaching" can be as bad as "under coaching", & that is what "The Game Is The Best Teacher" warns against. Thinking of yourself as a "teacher" & not as a "coach" may help you avoid the tendency to "over coach". Some coaches believe that the best way for players to learn to play is by playing or scrimmaging instead of practicing. This idea doesn't make any more sense for soccer than it does for basketball, hockey or any other sport. Scrimmaging is no substitute for practicing specific skills. Also, if you scrimmage a lot your players may be less excited about their real games. (See "Over Coaching" & "Small Sided").

Third Attacker
An attacker who is in scoring position or running with the attack but a long pass away from the First Attacker.(See "First Attacker", "Second Attacker", & "Third Man Running").

Third Man Running
(aka "Third Attacker). The concept that, when attacking, a teammate "off-the-play" (i.e., a third player other than the passer & receiver) should run to support the receiver. The "third man" can then become a receiver or an alternate receiver and the original passer can become the "third man" after he passes the ball. Good examples of this can be seen in professional games on TV where a "3 man line" will run toward goal on the attack; for example, the RF with the ball, the CF who is the likely receiver & running toward the near post and the LF who is running toward the far post. (See "Movement Off-The-Ball", "First Attacker", "Third Attacker", "Creating Space", & "Off The-Play").

Through Ball
(aka Through Pass). A pass between defenders into the open space between the fullbacks & the goalkeeper with the idea that a forward will beat the defenders to the ball. There are 2 types: a "Straight Through Ball" & a "Diagonal Through Ball"). (See "Pass To Space", "Leading Pass" & "Pass To Yourself"). This is a very important concept to teach & one that I think should be introduced by U-8 & definitely by U-10. By U-12 (& sometimes by U-10) defenders will be "pushing up" & it will become very difficult for attackers to dribble past the "Last Defender". "Through Balls", "Passing to Yourself", "Switching The Play" & "Wall Passes" become the keys to a successful offense. If the other team is having success with through balls, it may be because your defense if "flat" & doesn't have "depth". (See "Depth", "Zone Defense", "Push Up", "Last Defender", "Leading Pass", "Give & Go", "Pass To Space", "Diagonal Through Ball", "Styles of Play" & "Stretch The Field").

Throw In
Throw-ins are very important because each team will take 25 or more of them during a game. When the ball goes out of bounds over the side line ( i.e. the "touch line"), it is "out" on the team that last touched it before it crossed totally over the side line & the other team inbounds it by a "throw-in" For a throw-in to be legal: (a) the ball must be thrown from behind & over the head (b) it must be thrown using both hands (c) the thrower must face the field (d) at the instant the ball leaves the thrower's hands, some part of both feet must be on the ground, either on or outside the side line. If the thrown ball does not enter the field, the throw-in is retaken by the same team. The thrower may not touch the ball again until it has touched another player. The penalty for an illegal throw-in is that your team loses the ball & the other team gets to take a throw-in from the same spot. A goal may not be scored on a direct throw-in (i.e., it doesn't count if it is thrown into the goal without another player touching it first). A player is not offside if he receives the ball direct from a throw-in. An opponent is guilty of unsporting behavior and should be given a yellow card if he unfairly distracts or impedes the thrower. When a throw-in is awarded the Assistant Referee will point the flag in the direction in which the attackers will advane (i.e. toward the goal of the team it is out on).

Toe Kick
Generally to be avoided because it is easy to mis-kick the ball with the toe (the inside of foot or instep is much larger & more reliable). However, if near the goal or to steal the ball, a "toe-poke" (as opposed to a kick) is perfectly acceptable. (See "Drive" & "Pass").

Toe Poke
A type of "tackle" that is usually made by poking the ball with the toes of the front foot. Also refers to a toe-kick that has a short backswing. (See "Tackle" & "Toe-Kick").

Total Soccer
A style of play that allows all players to come into the attack or to play defense. This was used successfully by the Dutch in the 1970's. It requires outstanding speed, stamina, skill and decision making. This style is not suitable for most teams and is rarely used today. It can leave a team without depth, width and field coverage.

Touch Line
Side line.

When a defender stays with an attacker (i.e., marking him man-to-man) even though the attacker has run into another defender's zone. The alternative to this is to "pass on" the attacker to another defender. (See "Passing On").

On the attack, the player behind the ballhandler should move up & stay open for a backward pass. Having a trailer is also a big advantage if you lose the ball, because he is in a good position to defend. A "trailer" is also used in basketball. (See "First Attacker").

There are occasions when a player should literally trap the ball; for example, if an "air ball" is coming at his feet, he can use the bottom of his foot to trap the ball against the ground. However, when someone uses the term "trap" or "trapping", they usually mean "receive" or "receiving". The terms trap & trapping are falling out of use in favor of "receive" & "receiving". Years ago, the objective was to "trap" the ball using the feet, chest, thigh, etc. Today, play is more sophisticated & the objective is usually not to "trap" the ball, but to receive the ball so it goes in the direction & the distance that is advantageous for the receiver (e.g., left, right, or forward and toward open space away from defenders).

Travel Soccer
(aka "Select Soccer"). See "Select Soccer" & "Recreational Soccer".

Like basketball, triangles are an important part of attacking soccer. This means that at least 2 teammates should always be supporting the ballhandler & one of these should be a "trailer".

Turn the Defender
A misdirection play with the objective of causing a defender to turn by using a decoy run or a pass. Wall passes are a very good way to "turn the defender". (See "Commit The Defender" & "Channel" for the definition of turning the attacker).

The primary methods of turning are the "Pullback" (aka "Drag Back"), the "Hook" (aka the outside-of-foot hook), the "Cutback" (aka the inside-of-foot hook) and the "Stop/Turn". These are described herein and in "Techniques and Fancy Footwork", which is part of the Premium site.

Two Touch
When the ball is stopped & then passed so that it has been touched (Key Concept) 2 or more times it is called a two touch pass. (See "One Touch").

U (- or /)
U-6, U-8, U-10, U-12, etc. The U stands for "Under". At younger ages, leagues are often organized in 2-year increments.

Under the Ball
The ability of players to pass the ball in the air by playing "under the ball". Passes can be made by feet, head or chest.

Unlimited Substitution
(aka open substitutions). Means you can substitute as many times as you want at allowed times during the game. Pro leagues limit the number of substitutions; most youth leagues do not & many have an "unlimited substitution" rule. Some youth leagues only allow substituting between quarters, which is not really "unlimited substitution". Others allow the coach to "sub" any time a goal kick is called (by the other team) on his own throw-ins & other times. (See "Substitutions" for more details).

Verbal Signs
You should encourage your players to talk to each other on the field. There are some typical terms that are used in certain circumstances. Some of these are:
"Man On" (See "Man On")
"Time" - Means a defender is not nearby & the ballhandler has time to dribble or look for a pass. (i.e., don't rush a play).
"Keeper" - The goalkeeper might yell this to let teammates know they should move aside & let him have the ball (i.e., so he can pick it up or catch a shot)
"Back" or "Drop" - Would be yelled by a "trailer" to let a teammate with the ball know that he has support behind him & can play the ball backward if needed.
"Carry" - Continue to dribble the ball.
"Pop It" - "Pass To Yourself".
"Send it" - Send a Through Ball.
"Switch" - (See "Switch")
The most useful of the above is "Keeper". It's hard to teach these. Perhaps the best thing is to introduce them by U-10 or U-12 & encourage talking in general. Small-sided games encourage talking & are another reason they are so beneficial. (See "Show For The Ball").

A player's ability (especially on offense) to see where other players are & passing opportunities, especially through passes & "passes to space" that create scoring opportunities. (See "Create").

To kick the ball while it is still in the air. If kicked in front with the "laces", it is called a "volley" or "instep volley"; if the ball is to one side it is called a "side volley"; if the inside of the foot is used it is an "inside-of-foot volley" (this might be used close to goal or for a short pass). A player should lock his ankle when volleying so the foot is firm. On a front volley, proper technique is to bring the foot to the height of the ball by raising the knee (so the portion of the leg between the knee & the ankle is vertical); the technique is different from a regular kick. (See "Half-Volley).

At U-8 & older, when the other team has a "free kick", you may want to have your players stand side-by-side between the ball & their goal so they form a "wall" so the kicker doesn't have a straight shot on goal. They will have to stand the required distance back (usually 6 yards for U-8, 8 yards for U-10 & 10 yards for U-12 & older) & they can be given yellow cards if they are too close (although the Referee almost always gives a warning first).

Wall Pass
A "Wall Pass" is when a player passes the ball to a teammate who one-touches it right back. This can be very effective because the defender will turn with the first pass & can't recover to defend the second. If the initial passer passes & then breaks (makes a run) it is called a "give and go". (See "Give & Go").

Warming up and Stretching
The Importance Of Warming Up & Stretching Before Playing. At age 10 and older, children become susceptible to muscle pulls. When you move up to U-11, you should have your team stretch before playing. You should have them do 2 things:
a. Warm Up their muscles by light activities such as jogging or slowly dribbling a ball around the field. (Warming up with a ball is the ideal way if it is practical to do so).
b. Stretch the following muscles: front of thigh, back of thigh (hamstring), inside of thigh & calf. Most injuries are to the hamstring and inside of thigh muscles. Each stretch should be done slowly & held for 10-15 seconds & repeated 2 -3 times. Be sure they do not "over stretch". Stretching should not be painful.
Many coaches skip the "warm up" & go straight to stretching. This is a mistake. The light warm up is important because it "warms up" the muscles which makes them stretch easier & less likely to tear. If you think about it, this makes sense. (Have you ever noticed how all the horses are warmed up before a race?) Many experts also promote post game stretching because it will improve flexibility & reduce muscle soreness.

Often a referee will give a player an informal warning before he gives a yellow card. Players should take any warning very seriously because the next time the behavior is repeated a card will probably be given (See "Cards" & "Fouls").

Similar to "Pace", but also refers to how playable a ball is (i.e., how easily it can be controlled by the receiver). For example, a "through ball" might have "perfect weight", which means that it's distance, spin, pace & playability were perfect for the receiver. The ball must have enough pace to get past the defender, but must be controllable by the receiver. For example, on a hard, fast field, a "soft" through ball or a chip pass with back spin would be more playable than a hard pass.

When to Dribble When to Pass
a. Any time you have a pass, take it. Dribble only when you can't pass or if you can dribble & score.
b. Generally, do not dribble in the 1/3 of the field nearest your own goal (i.e., in your "defending Third") unless you must in order to get past a defender so you can make a pass or a clearing kick, because if you dribble near your goal the other team might steal the ball & score. Especially if the ball is in the Danger Zone, you should clear it, preferably to the side. If you must dribble, dribble toward the side line, not toward the center. (See "Coaching Rules" No. 7 & 8, "Attacking", "Creating Space" & "Attacking Third").

When to Shoot
My rule is: "If you have a shot, take it." This means you should shoot any time you are in scoring range & have a clean shot, but if it is a long shot (i.e., from outside the Penalty Box) chip it at the top of the goal. (A grounder from far out doesn't have much chance of scoring). Sometimes players will pass up a clean shot to try to pass. I tell them "If you have a shot, take it."

Where...From ?
Ask your players "Where will the other team score from?" The answer is, "In front of our goal". Repeat this often until they have it memorized. You must teach them to protect the area in front of your goal & have enough defenders in front of the goal to not let the attackers get clean shots, but you must also leave forwards out (a long pass away) so you have a way to outlet the ball. As players get older, attacks will be less direct & more scores will come from "crossed balls". But, still, most scores will occur "in front of the goal". This is even true for the pros.

Width in Attack
Attackers want to "spread the field" & get width in an effort to find open spaces to move the ball (e.g., down the side lines) & to "stretch" the defense so holes are created that the offense can attack & penetrate. Defenders, obviously, want to prevent this by maintaining cover, depth, support & shape. (See "Support, "Shape", "Depth", "Support Distance", "Spread The Field" & "Stretch The Field").

Width in Defense
Too much width in your defense is bad. The wider your defense is, the more spread out & the easier it is to penetrate. Your defenders should stay close enough together to support each other, but not too close (if they are too close, they lose effectiveness & can't cover enough space). Your defense should be just wide enough to slow down the attack (i.e., just wide enough that the attackers can't easily go around you) & should "shift & sag" so there are multiple layers of defenders between the ball & the goal. As your team gets older & plays better teams, the attackers will start to "switch fields" and use a wide attack as a way to get around your defense & to loosen it up. (See "Support", "Cover", "Support Distance & Relative Position", "Spread The Field", "Creating Space" & "Stretched Defense").

Win the Ball
The term "win the ball" means to gain possession of the ball, often when it is a loose ball or a ball which the other team also has a chance to win. Winning the ball is very important. The team that "wins the ball" the most usually wins the game. Like in basketball, positioning relative to opponents can increase the chance of being able to win the ball. Hustle, speed, a quick start and not being afraid of contact are also important, especially on "fifty-fifty balls" (i.e., loose balls which either team has an equal chance of winning). For example, if you are on defense, a good strategy is to stay behind the opponent. This will allow you to step in front and steal the ball or to defend the opponent even if he gets the ball. (Whereas if you play in front of the opponent and the ball gets past you, the other team might be able to fastbreak toward your goal). When on offense, good positioning on your team's goal kicks might be to stay beside the opponent so you have a chance to win both short and long balls. If your team controls the ball, you should try to get open for a pass so you don't have to fight to win the ball. Whether on offense or defense a player should always be aware of where the nearest opponent is and if an opponent is nearby the attacker will often run to meet a pass so the opponent can't beat him to it.

Right and left fullbacks (i.e., the FB's who play closest to the sideline, as distinguished from the center backs).

Wing Player
In general, any player whose assigned position is the left or right instead of the center. But more specifically, refers to players whose job is to come into the attack by bringing the ball up the side line (i.e., the "wings) & to send good crossing passes into the center. Pure "wingers" aren't used today as much as they used to be. "Wingers" used to be the wide forwards or midfielders (who were sometimes called "withdrawn wingers"). Wing midfielders are sometimes called "winghalfs" or "wingmids" & wing fullbacks are "wingbacks". Today, it is more common to use wingmids or wingbacks to come up to cross the ball than to have wing forwards. "Wingers" who bring the ball up the side are often very fast & excellent dribblers.

The area near the right and left sidelines. Some teams will attack down the "wings" because it is easier to move the ball down the "wings" than down the center of the field.

Work Rate
A term pro's use to describe "hustle" & the extent to which a player is always moving. I think "hustle" is a more suitable term for children.

Worrying the Goalkeeper
It is a foul to harass, interfere with, or obstruct the Goalkeeper by trying to keep him from putting the ball into play (e.g., if an opponent stands directly in front of the Goalkeeper when he is trying to punt the ball). Punishable by a Yellow Card and an indirect kick. (See "Cards" & "Fouls").

Yellow Card
A serious "caution". Two in one game & a player is shown a "Red Card" & ejected. (See "Cards" and "Rules").

Your End
"Your End" of the field is the end your goal is on (i.e., the goal your goalkeeper defends).

Zone Defense
There are 2 basic types of defense: a zone defense where defenders stay between the ball & the goal they are defending & are assigned a position relative to their teammates (e.g., right, center, or left); and man-to-man defense where players are assigned to guard specific opponents (this is called a "marking" defense). Many college & pro teams today use some type of zone defense, but mark attackers who come into their "zone". Zone defense works best for recreational teams because it doesn't require fast players or great stamina like man-to-man defense does (i.e., it is better suited to slower players who don't have great stamina). Two key concepts to teach regardless of which type of defense you use are "First Defender" and "Second Defender". Also, you must teach your players to mark attackers who are in scoring range (i.e., "Dangerous Attackers") regardless of whether you play a zone or man-to-man.

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