Soccer Defense

There are many variations of defense, depending on the formation and style of play you use. Most U8 Rec teams should probably play a simple Zone Defense and "Push Up" their Fullbacks when they attack because their opponents aren't good enough to launch a fast counterattack. Most Rec teams U10 and older should also play a simple Zone Defense but are often better off "Defending Deep" (having the Fullbacks stop at the Penalty Box Line). Most Travel Teams will want to play a defense that combines Zone Defense and man-marking, "Push Up" their Fullbacks when they attack, and use a "Sweeper" or play a "Flat Back 3 or 4".

It is usually much easier to have a good soccer defense than a good soccer offense because defense is about destroying (or disrupting) and offense is about creating. (Think about how easy it is to break a china plate but how hard it is to make a plate). The reason is that you can have a decent defense by simply putting tough, aggressive players near the goal you are defending and having them kick the ball away. By doing so, the opponent must start the attack over each time and if your Midfielders or Forwards can win those cleared balls, then not only do you have the opportunity to attack and score, but you keep the ball away from the opponent so the opponent can't score. On the other hand, to score against a good defense usually requires a coordinated effort involving several players and skillful passing, dribbling, teamwork and doing the right thing at the right time. One mistake…one bad pass…and the attack ends with the ball either kicked away or with the opponent gaining possession of the ball. And even if the attackers are successful in getting close enough for a decent shot, the ball must still get past the Goalkeeper and go into the goal for a score to count.

Obviously, soccer offense and defense are related because they are both affected by where you play your best players, by your formation, by your Style of Play (to what extent you Push Up or Defend Deep), and by your player’s discipline. Every decision involves trade-offs.

See "Shift & Sag", "Support", "Zone Defense", "Formations", "Depth", "Cover", "Mark", "Pressure", "Defending Deep", "Width In Defense", "Shape", "Support Distance & Relative Position", "Defending Third", "Win The Ball", "Ball Watching", "Breakaway", "Clear", "Danger Zone", "Dangerous Attackers", "Goalkeeper", "Verbal Signals", "Where...From?" and Defensive Tips at SoccerHelp Premium.

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