Soccer Definitions - M PDF Print E-mail

Mark
(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").

MF
Abbreviation for Midfielder. (See "Midfielders").

Middle
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").

Midfielders
(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").

 
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