Playing off the Line


Jeremy Proud is currently the Goalkeeper coach for New York Red Bulls II. Previously, he was an Assistant Coach at SIUE under Mario Sanchez and was also at Loyola for two seasons and Louisville for seven. Jeremy is a very humble coach and has a great passion for mentoring goalkeepers.  He is one of the most talented coaches in the country.

Each team will have a different tactical set-up, but regardless if the team presses high up the field or tends to sit, the goalkeeper must be good at reading the play off the line. This involves reading through balls and the possibility of the ball being shot on goal from distance. The ball beating the goalkeeper over the top is rare (maybe once a season), but training it is critical to show the goalkeeper the correct way to deal with it and the confidence to play high off their line because of the reality of how difficult it truly is to beat a goalkeeper (if they are prepared) from long distances. This will allow them to have a good connection with the back line, ultimately making many more positive contributions out in front of them without the unrealistic fear of being scored on from long-ranges on a regular basis.

View another session from Jeremy Proud – Behind the Back Line

Playing Off the Line



  1. After a few minutes of movement on own to loosen up and prepare mentally.
  2. 3v1- One or two touch. Size of space dependent on age & skill level.

Set up two fields with plenty of space between the two. Two small goals (roughly 2 to 3 steps in width) ten yards apart. No width restrictions.



Warm-up exercise 1: Play for 45 seconds intervals with one GK in for the duration, counting consecutive passes or GK interceptions. Can play different rounds with GK intercepting with feet and then progress to using hands & feet.

Warm-up exercise 2: GK rolls to opposite GK to control with feet. Attacking GK tries to dribble past or pass through the small goal for a point. If GK wins ball off of attacking GK, quick transition role reversal. Play 1min-1.5 duration rounds. Can be very tiring so the rounds should be short.

Coaching Points:

  • Ability to play with feet
  • GK reading when to angle & close, keep feet, block, smother.
  • Quick transition into attack or defending.



3 Working Areas (A,B,C): Each Set of Cones roughly 8-12 yards from center of goal (Age and Skill Level).  Server starts with balls, one at the feet and one in the hands.  Rotate every two reps/3x through at each angle.



  1. GK angles appropriately with S1. S1 plays though ball/1v1 for S2 and GK.
  2. After GK deals with through ball/1v1, quickly recovers for ball tossed from S1 back to the bar. The second serve should not put the GK at full stretch. Working on the proper footwork, body orientation, and timing of jump working back to the goal.When working Zone B, be sure to work both sides on the through ball/1v1 & recovery ball.

Coaching Points:

  • First step forward on through ball/1v1 (no back steps)
  • Get lower as you go. If going to smother low, lead with hands, head down. If closing to block, staying on feet, close gap between legs and make self big. Do not turn away!
  • Recovery footwork, likely crossover footwork, working back centrally until find the line of the ball
  • Timing of jump, preferably off leg closer to the goal
  • Choice of saving technique- Catch (trying to square shoulders to field), top-hand save or using bottom hand



Two Mannequins inside the D, one or two yards outside of penalty area. They are the offside line.
S1 roughly 25-30 yards out from goal. S2 & S3 facing S1 in front of the mannequins.

4-6 Rep Set Each GK/2 Sets Each



  1. S1 exchanges pass with S2.
  2. S1 plays through ball or to S3 feet for turn and 1v1 with GK.
  3. After GK deals with through ball/1v1, quickly recovers for S1 lofted shot.
  4. If S1 sees that GK is cheating off the line can shoot before or after first pass (1).
  5. Can progress the exercise to play through ball or 1v1 on 1st pass, and/or Attacking players interplay.
  6. Play all rebounds live.

Coaching Points:

  • Appropriate starting position in relation to S1 starting ball
  • Quick quick recognition of through ball or 1v1
  • Decision-making: attack ball and claim, angle & close, or hold line for shot
  • Quickest recover back to goal for 2nd ball from S1. Saving technique- catch, parry over the bar/wide. Working back centrally until finding the line of the ball.



Back 4 of Mannequins. Balls with S1 and S3. S1 and S2 will start a few yards away from mannequins. The mannequins are the offside line. S3 distance will be determined by age and skill level.

Each GK works on 5 Rep Rotation. 3 Sets- zones A, B, C.



  1. S1 backpass to GK.
  2. GK two-touch driven ball to S3. If GK misses S3 with driven ball, S3 has ball prepared to play immediately.
  3. S3 can shoot directly on goal, plays through ball beyond mannequins into penalty area for S1 & S2 attack, or directly to S1 or S2 for 1v1 with GK.

Coaching Points:

  • Technical ability with feet is important to make this exercise work
  • Realistic speed of play to help bridge the gap between GK training and team play
  • After driven ball, GK works centrally in line with S3
  • GK positioning in relation to server shot and possibility of ball behind backline
  • If S3 goes for goal, correct FW working back to goal
  • If ball in behind, reading who is in favor- GK or Attacker. GK to claim, hold line, or angle & close
  • If 1v1, GK looking for opportunities to close, prepared for shot at any point. Maintain good body shape.