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Defend the counter

This is an excerpt from Soccer Practice Games 3E by Joe Luxbacher.

Minutes: 25

Players: 19 (10-player team and 7-player team plus 2 goalkeepers)

Objectives: To develop effective transition play in attack and defense; to rehearse group and team attack and defense tactics

Setup: Play on a regulation field with a full-size goal on each end line. Place a line of markers the width of the field, approximately 35 yards from each end line, to divide the field into three zones. Organize a team of ten and a team of seven; use colored vests to differentiate teams. Place a goalkeeper in each goal. You’ll need at least one ball; an extra supply of balls is recommended.

Procedure: Begin with a kickoff from center field. Each team defends a goal and may score in the opponent’s goal. The 10-player team must use three or fewer touches to pass and receive the ball; otherwise, regular soccer rules are in effect. The 7-player team has no touch restriction. The coach or an assistant coach should serve as referee. Every few minutes, whistle a halt in play and award the 7-player team a direct free kick from their defending zone. When the kick is taken, all members of the 10-player (defending) team must be in the middle zone. The 7-player team must serve a long pass off the free kick into the space behind the 10-player (defending) team. Opposing players are not permitted to enter their defending zone, marked by a 35-yard line, until a player from the 7-player team enters the zone and touches the ball. At that point, players can immediately track back in an attempt to defend their goal.

Scoring: Award 1 point for a shot on goal saved by the goalkeeper and 2 points for a goal scored. The team scoring the most points wins.

Practice tips: Encourage teammates to move forward quickly as an organized unit when on the attack. Defending players should play as a compact unit and must make swift and direct recovery runs to protect the space behind the defense.


There are 174 more games in Soccer Practice Games 3E.

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