Emergency Defending

Do your defenders make the right decisions under pressure when multiple attackers are running at them? Is clearing the ball out of play when defending a counter attack good enough? When do we encourage implementing a tactical foul? Here is simple emergency defending activity that will help provide your players unique scenarios they will deal with in matches. Add a recovery defender or bring the offside line higher up the field to challenge your players even more! For great results try Emergency Defending prior to our Defending The Counter activity!

Emergency Defending


Half field as shown, 3V2s to goal. Two small counter goals and plenty of balls. Offside line in red.

Emergency Defending | SoccerSpecific


The GK initiates the attacking sequence by striking an accurate goal kick to one of two red players at midfield. The red player controls the long service and penetrates the space while the other attacker does the same. The objective of the red team is to attack the goal at pace. The reds can combine with their #9 or simply find other ways to get behind the two yellow defenders and score. The yellow team can either clear the ball out of play or score on one of the two small counter goals. Once the sequence to goal is over, five new players enter the field for the next repetition. The two yellow defenders and red #9 cannot cross the offside line until the red player at midfield has touched the ball. Variations include adding a recovery defender making it a 3V3 or bring the offside line higher up the field.

Coaching Points:

Both defenders must organize their starting positions so the #9 does not have a clear path to the ball. They must decide whether to drop or hold as the red player penetrates toward goal. One of the defenders must go with the runner and one must decide when and where to confront the ball. In a numbers down situation can they delay the attack, absorb the pressure, concede a tactical foul, stay compact and force play away from goal.