Soccer Stuff -
40+ Coed Indoor Soccer Schedules
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for "I Dunno" and "Who Cares" and "Us"
and "Them" soccer teams. All Games at Soccer First
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4 V 4 Sessions
Week 1 of the current session was June 26, 2000
Week 1 of the next session is August 21, 2000 During the summer,
we'll play 4v4 from 7 until 8:30
There are about forty-zillion styles a team can use to play
soccer, and every one of them is the "right way" for
a particular combination of players - providing everyone on the
team plays the same style of soccer. The exact style of soccer
a team plays does change, depending on the combination of players
on the field, each player's soccer skills, each player's athletic
ability and understanding of the game, the referee, and what
the other team's left back had for breakfast.
Generally, the longer a group of adult play together on a
soccer team, the more defined the team's style becomes. John
learns what Mary will do in a given situation, Louise and Fred
each know what is expected of them when Roger has the ball, and
everyone realizes that I'm likely to stay in the offensive third
Our Defensive Style
When the other team has the ball, we need to do four things
- every time.
1) Someone on our team has to immediately challenge the ball
carrier. Your two primary goals are to prevent the ball carrier
from playing the ball at our goal and to delay the ball carrier.
2) Everyone on our team needs to communicate - talk to each
other and help make sure only one person challenges the ball
and everyone else on the other team is marked.
3) All of us not challenging the ball need to find someone
to mark. Make sure you are goalside of them so they can't take
a one touch shot and score.
4) As play develops, we need to evaluate the situation and
More Detail about Our Defensive Style
1) When the other team has the ball, someone on our
team has to immediately challenge the ball carrier. You
don't necessarily have to win the ball, but you do have to prevent
the ball carrier from easily advancing the ball towards our goal.
It is very difficult for the other team to win a game if we consistently
prevent them from moving the ball towards our goal. Your primary
responsibility when you challenge the ball carrier is to prevent
a shot on goal. Your second responsibility is to prevent the
ball carrier from having an assist. Of course, winning the ball
insures you meet both of those responsibilities.
Carol, the closest green player, has the ball. The defender
in orange is doing a great job of very strongly challenging the
Leo has just dribbled the ball from midfield, and has yet
to be challenged by someone on the yellow team. This is not a
good thing - unless, of course, you're Leo.
2) Everyone on our team needs to communicate.
If you're going to be the person challenging he ball, you need
to LOUDLY yell something like "I'VE GOT THE BALL."
If Leo makes a run without the ball and you're going to leave
your player to mark him, you need to LOUDLY yell something like
"I'VE GOT LEO."
Please keep in mind that our goal here is to HELP each other...not
get in a situation where it seems like everyone is telling everyone
else what to do.
3) Everyone on our team has to mark someone. When you mark
someone, you position yourself between them and our goal (this is called
"getting goal side". Your primary task is not to prevent them
from getting the ball. It is to keep them from advancing the ball towards
our goal. You can easily tell whether or not your doing a good job of
marking by asking yourself, "if the ball came to the player I'm marking,
could he (or she) take a one touch shot which wouldn't be blocked by my
body?" If the answer is "yes," you need to adjust your
Carol, in green, has the ball. Ali is the other player in green.
Notice how the orange defender has positioned himself. He is goalside
(between Ali and the goal) and is able to see both Ali and the ball.
This is very good defensive positioning by the orange player.
As Leo dribbles down the field, take a look at the yellow player
closest to the goal - he's in excellent defensive position. He
is goalside and he can see both the player he is marking and the
Once again, this is very good defensive positioning.
This is a "good news, bad news" kind of picture
for the green team. The good news is that Paul is doing a great
job of marking. He's goal side of his man and he can see both
the player and the ball.
The bad news? There are two orange players who aren't marked
Here's a "good news, good news" kind of picture for
green (I can just hear folks yelling "Yahoo!!"). On
the left side of the picture, you can see an orange player. And
if you look real close, you can see Karen, in green.
Karen is goal side of her player and can see both her player
and the ball.
Beth is over to the right. Up until a moment ago, Beth was
marking her player (she was goal side and able to see the ball).
The other team passed the ball to Beths' player, and right now,
Beth is running to win the ball.
And, of course, Tom is running back to help on defense. Good
defensive stuff all the way around.
Oooops. This one isn't so good. Carol, in red on the right,
has the ball for the dark team. The yellow player challenging
the ball is not goal side - if Carol took a shot, the defender's
body wouldn't block it.
You can see two other players on the dark team who are not
marked. This is a golden opportunity for the dark team and a
disaster waiting to happen for the yellow team.
When the ball goes down to the other end, things don't get
a lot better.
Barb, the lady in blue closest to the ball, is doing a very
good job of challenging the ball. There's no way the ball carrier
can play the ball to the goal.
You can, however, see three yellow players who are not marked.
And two of them (Tom on the right and Cindy at the "D")
are showing to the ball. A pass to either one would likely result
in a goal.
As a general rule-of-thumb, one person immediately challenges
the ball and everyone else finds a player to mark and gets goal
side of them.
Cindy, the player closest to us in yellow, has the ball and is
dribbling towards the other team's goal. I count three yellow
players and four blue field players.
As the ball moves into the blue team's defensive third, the
ball should be challenged and the other two yellow players should
See the blue defender inside the "D?" She is ball
side of her player (she's between the guy in yellow and the ball).
You want to be ballside when your team is on offense.
If Cindy (the ball carrier) passes the ball into the penalty
box and split the two defenders, that yellow player on the right
side of the penalty box has a great one touch shot on goal.
When your team is on defense, as the yellow team is here,
you should be between your player and the goal, and if at all
possible, positioned so you can see both your player and the
Quick quiz for 5 points. Fill in the blank: The blue player
in the "D" is ballside of her player, which isn't the
best place to be. She should actually be ___________.
Paul, closest to us in green, has the ball. The lady marking
him is doing a good job of challenging the ball.
On the left side of the picture, Ali (in green) is showing
to the ball. The orange player marking him is doing a good job
- she's goalside and can see both Ali and the ball. That's good
soccer all the way around for those four players.
Take a look at the way the other two green players are being
marked. If you look past the ball carrier's right shoulder, you
can see Tom. The orange player marking Tom is totally out of
position. If Paul passes the ball into the box, Tom can turn
and take a one touch shot on goal. This is good for the green
team. Not so good for the orange team.
And way back there by the wall, you can see Karen. The player
marking her is ball side, and he can't see her. If Paul passes
the ball between the two defenders, Karen can run onto the ball
and take a one touch shot on goal.
Another quick quiz. The two orange players closest to their
goal are both ballside of the players they are marking. Instead
of being ballside, they should be __________
The answer to both quizzes is "goalside."
This is a "good news, bad news, bad news" picture for
the green team. The orange player with the ball is all the way
to the right. The good news for the green team is that someone
is challenging the ball. She's stepping up and is close enough
to prevent the ball carrier from taking a shot.
The "bad news, bad news" for the green team? That
would be those two unmarked orange players.
The yellow team has the ball, which is on the right side of
the field near the glass. I count four yellow players on offense
and only two blue players on defense.
I don't see that any of the yellow players are being marked.
This is not a good thing for the blue team.
Hey, we're getting close to an action shot. Providing, of course,
that you have QuickTime installed and are using a newer web browser.
In this picture, the green team has the ball and is moving
away from us. I count three orange defenders in the picture and
two green offensive players.
The green player on the right had the ball, and the orange
player challenging the ball kept her from advancing the ball
on goal. So the green player passed the ball.
On the left side of the picture you can see an orange defender
running towards the person she's supposed to be marking. The
orange defender is not goalside of her player. For the orange
team, this is not a good thing. Ali (the green player on the
left) is going to get the ball and have an unobstructed run at
Bad news for the orange team. Good news for the green team.
Green has the ball. Karen plays the ball to Carol - who is
not marked. Carol is able to easily turn and move a bit towards
An orange defender comes up to challenge the ball, and Carol
passes the ball to Marty - who is not marked.
The orange defender (who was kind of in no-man's land between
Marty and Ali) slides over to challenge Marty.
Marty passes the ball to Ali - who is not marked.
This all adds up to bad news for the orange team and very
good news for the green team.
A Tip: Our Windows computer is too slow to play this QuickTime
movie properly. It skips frames because it can't keep up with
the amount of data in the movie. If you have a similar problem,
try putting you pointer over the movie and clicking your mouse
key once to select the movie. Then press and hold the right-facing
arrow key on your keyboard. You should cycle through the movie
as fast as your computer's processor will allow (you can go backwards
by pressing the left-facing arrow key).
If you can't see the QuickTime movie, try downloading and installing
the newest version of the free QuickTime player. You'll find it
This is a 500k QuickTime movie. It will take
a while to download, and you'll need a QuickTime plug-in to see
it. Because I used a newer video compression, older browsers may
not be able to display it. If you want to download it to your
computer, do a right mouse-click with Windows or a ctrl-click
with Mac and select the "Save File As" option.
Click the play button to see the movie.
4) Everyone needs to constantly evaluate the
situation and adjust to it. We need to make sure that the
player who is the biggest threat to score is properly marked.
If you're doing a great job of marking the worst player on the
other team, and their best player isn't marked while he (or she)
makes a run on goal, it might make a lot of sense for you to
switch and start marking the other team's best player - even
if the player you were marking happens to have the ball.
Before we move on to our team style on offense, we should
probably mention that our team should win all free balls.
Any time the ball is up for grabs, we should be the ones to grab
it. If they don't have the ball, it is real hard for them to
Our Offensive Style
When we're on offense, there are several things everyone
on our team needs to do. Ideally, we'd like everyone on our team
to get open and show to the ball. That means that you
should position yourself so there is a clear and unobstructed
path between the ball and your belly button. No defensive players
in the way. No teammates in the way. And no referee in the way.
Next we'd like everyone to have space. If you're open
and showing to the ball, you need enough space around you so
that when the ball comes your way, you have enough time and room
to control the ball and do something constructive with it before
someone on the other team can reach you.
When we get the ball, you should also be in range.
There are two ways to be in range. The first is to be close enough
to the ball carrier that he or she can easily pass you the ball.
When I was coaching little kids, we ended up defining that as
being about 10 giant steps away from the ball carrier - close
enough to receive a pass, but far enough away to still have space.
If you are open, showing to the ball, have space, and are
in range, you become a target for the ball carrier. When
we're playing indoor soccer, the ball carrier should always have
two targets. When we're playing outdoor soccer (11 on a team),
the ball carrier should always have three targets.
The second way to be in range is to be in range of someone
who is a target.
|The guy in the dark blue shirt is open, showing to the ball,
has space, and is in range. This is a good thing for the blue
When we have the ball, we need to communicate very
well. This does not necessarily mean wandering around, yelling
"I'm open, pass me the ball!" The goal of offensive
communication is for us to end up putting the ball in the other
team's net. Communication on offense should help the ball carrier
and targets find the best options for getting the ball into the
other team's net.
To summarize so far, it all starts with defense. Every time
the other team has the ball, four things HAVE to happen:
- Someone on our team immediately challenges the ball
- We communicate with each other
- Everyone needs to mark someone
- We all need to constantly evaluate the situation and adjust
Anytime someone on our team has the ball, you have to do four
- Get open and show to the ball
- Have space
- Be in range
When we consistently do those eight things, we'll be playing
as a team. As you may have guessed, doing those things consistently
is not an easy thing - it isn't going to happen over night. I
think, though, if we work on them over the next few seasons,
we'll all have more fun and we'll end up winning more than our
"fair share" of soccer games.
Before I wrap this up, there are two other things I'd like
to touch base on.
Ball side / Goal side
The next time you watch a professional soccer game, spend
a few minutes watching some players who are nowhere near the
ball. You'll probably notice that those players tend to move
around a bit. When their team gets the ball, they move a few
steps so that they're closer to the ball than the player who
is marking them (this is called getting ballside).
When the other team has the ball, they move several steps
and position themselves between the person they're marking and
the goal. This is called getting goalside.
As the ball is moving around the field and changing possession,
players away from the ball are constantly adjusting to stay ballside
on offense and goalside on defense. We should do the same thing.
The Goalie's Job
The goalie's job and #1 goal is to keep the other team from
scoring. It has always seemed to me that the very best way to
keep the other team from scoring is to keep the other team from
taking a shot. We'll probably score an occasional own goal, but
in most games, if the other team never takes a shot, the worst
possible outcome is a 0-0 tie.
There are two ways the goalie can help keep the other team
from taking a shot. The first is to communicate and direct the
defense. Oh geeeezzzz....I haven't yet mentioned that when the
other team has the ball, everyone on our team is immediately
on defense. Just as when we have the ball, everyone on our team
is immediately on offense (which does not mean the goalie
should plan on dribbling down the field and scoring).
The goalie can normally see the entire field, which puts him
in the best position to direct the defense.
The second way we can keep the other team from taking a shot
is to keep control of the ball until we put it in their net.
Since the goalie can normally see the entire field, he is in
the best position to direct the offense - especially as it builds
from the back and up through the midfield.
There are many different styles of play. While the general principals
of good soccer remain constant, different teams play in different ways.
The key to good soccer, though, is to make sure everyone on the team is
playing the same style. For our team, that means doing nine things consistently
1) Win all loose balls
When the other team has the ball:
2) Someone immediately challenges the ball (no shots, and
delay, delay, delay)
4) Mark (get goalside!)
5) Evaluate and adjust
When we have the ball:
6) Get open and show to the ball
7) Have space
8) Be in range
If you have any questions about any of this, please let me
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