Posts Tagged ‘Support’

Recently our state has gone through a few milestones in growing the beautiful game, and we’ve taken a few setbacks.

In 2012 the South Dakota school activities association became the last state to to finally implement a sanctioned season for high school soccer.  It’s been an issue I’ve watched closely since I came to the state five years ago.  It was a big step for the state activities association to sanction the sport three years ago, however it has caused a momentary break in the progress of soccer in the state.  Only a third of the high school club programs switched over to school sponsored programs, leaving the state high school teams divided into two leagues, and three classifications.  The state is divided on which school districts are willing to finance the future of high school soccer.  At a time when more communities are sponsoring and supporting the sport of soccer the state is at risk of losing half of their high school teams once club sponsored teams are not allowed to compete in the fall season.

The development of collegiate soccer has been a roller coaster itself.  The state has seen a number of college programs started and closed over the years.  National American University discontinued men’s and women’s soccer after the 2001 season, and Huron University closed, taking the men’s and women’s soccer programs to Dakota Wesleyan University in 2005.  In 2012 the state of South Dakota saw SD Mines and Technology introduce men’s soccer bringing the total of men’s soccer programs back to five.

Then the sad turn of events at the University of Sioux Falls saw that number drop back down to four, while the number of women’s teams maintained at eight.  It’s been an up and down battle for soccer, and the trend for collegiate programs is simply keeping steady, never really gaining ground, but not losing ground either.

The state has also seen a Premier Development League franchise come and go.  The Spitfire had a good run for their first two seasons qualifying for the national final four, but were forced to close after seven years in the USL.

It’s hard to see growth in the youth game when there are such limited opportunities for players at the senior levels.  But a lot of it comes down to a lack of support from school administrations and the soccer community.


Every day we warm-up with a technical passing sequence as the guys show up to training.  Today they went through diamond passing in groups of 6/7 players per grid.   Everything is one or two touch and the players have fifteen minutes to warm themselves up and get through dynamics.

Specific Warm-Up:

Goal keepers went with keeper coach to work on footwork.  Field players got into a 44×36 yd grid and proceeded to do a 1 touch passing warm-up.  First with two balls and worked our way up to five soccer balls in the grid.  Only instructions to the players is to keep the ball moving, only allowed to use one touch, play the ball the ball the way you’re facing, and communicate and look so one player doesn’t end up with two soccer balls at his feet.  Worked up to a ratio of 3 players to one ball.

Transitioned into triangle passing, three players per group.  Two players play one-touch passes, third player stretches the field and reads when to check to.  One of the passers looks up, takes a touch towards the third player, plays the long pass and follows to play one-touch passes with the third player.  They repeat. 

Coaching points: third player is supposed to read the passer, not dictate the pass.  When they pick their head up and take a touch towards them that is when he is allowed to check to the ball.  Second coaching point is the passer always supports the long pass with a run.  Slowly introduce wall passes, overlaps, and takeover into the activity combining with the third player and then going into their one-touch passes.

Small Sided Game:

Transitioned into 3v3 inside a 44×36 yard area (two penalty areas) with a goal and each endline and keepers joined us at this time (had two games going on at once).  Midline was introduced between the two penalty areas.  Players set up to play 2v1 in each half.  The two defensive players play possession on their half and look to combine with the third player in the attacking half.  If they do one of the defenders can be played into the attacking half to go forward.  Played a round robin tournament, two teams with the best record at the end played a “championship” while other two teams cleaned up balls and cones.

Coaching points: same as above, the third player in the attacking half needs to time their runs and read the passers.  The passer needs to do a better job supporting the pass and combining to get the ball into the other half and create a 2v2 to goal scenario.  As soon as they are dispossessed then one player needs to drop to defending half.

Expanded Game:

Removed the rebound goal in the middle of the two smaller grids and opened up a 44×72 yard space (played penalty area to penalty area) with goals at each end.  Penalty areas were marked out.  Played 7v7 in this area and only restriction was a striker had to combine with a mid to bring another player into the final third.  Players can shoot from anywhere on the field, but the striker has to combine to bring someone into the final area. 

Coaching points: watch for third man combinations all over the field, especially combining with the striker to finish the attack.  Same reads, don’t check too until they see the passer pick their head up and take a forward touch.

Open Match Play:

Played straight up 7v7 with subs.  Two 8 minute halves, at the half let the two teams get together for 2 minutes to discuss and make adjustments.  Field clean up for the losers.

Coaching points: same as above, how can the passer support their pass and join the forward momentum.

Cool Down and Stretch

Comments About the Session:

The players struggled to transition from the 3v3 to the 7v7 using the principles.  Probably need to stop the play early in the 7v7 game a little more often and show them visual pictures of where they could have used the third man to support a pass.  I think they understood what  we were doing, but definitely need to work on this more to make sure we make it a natural part of our game.