Matt Stimson enters his fourth season as an assistant coach for the Stanford men’s soccer team. Stimson came to Stanford in 2001 with current head coach Bret Simon after spending the 1999 and 2000 seasons as Simon´s assistant at Creighton. Stimson has helped lead Stanford to unprecedented success in recent years, including back-to-back College Cup appearances in 2001 and 2002. In their first season on The Farm, Stimson helped Simon coach Stanford to a 19-2-1 record and the program´s first Pac-10 championship. They advanced to the NCAA Championship game for just the second time in program history in 2002, falling just short of a national title. Before joining the Creighton staff, Stimson spent the 1998 season as the first assistant coach at the University of Hartford. Prior to embarking on his coaching career he competed at the semi-pro level for the Gremio Lusitanos in Ludlow, Massachusetts. Stimson received his Bachelor´s of Science degree in physical education from Springfield College in December of 1993. In May of 1998, he earned a Master´s of Education from Plymouth State College. He currently holds a USSF “A” License and a NSCAA Premier Diploma.
Promoting Attacking Soccer
All players are organized inside a 25 x 25 yard area as shown in Diagram (a) below. Agility ladders, flags and mini hurdles are positioned inside the designated area.
Players perform a variety of dynamic movements combined with light jogging for the designated period of time. Players move in a counter-clockwise direction.
Total time – 7 minutes.
- Players are encouraged to perform quick dynamic movements through the equipment.
- Perform quick, active stretches upon completion.
- Technical Warm Up:
Players are organized inside a 30×30 yard grid as shown in Diagram (b) below. Half the players have a ball. Goalkeepers are included in the activity. Players perform the following quick, sharp movements:
- Wall-pass with anyone, then switch roles after 1 minute.
- Take-over with anyone, for one minute.
- Double-pass with anyone, for one minute.
- Drive balls to goalkeepers hands.GK must then distribute to an open teammate.
Total time – 10-12 minutes.
- Quick dynamic movement is essential.
- Sharp passes all done from slow to fast speed.
- All activities must be performed at game speed.
- Shorten the time if play gets sloppy.
A 2v2 is organized inside a 15×12 yard grid as shown in Diagram (c) below. Extra balls are placed next to each goal. Repeat setup to accommodate the entire squad.
One defender must always drop back onto the goal line to act as a goalkeeper. This creates a 2v1 in favor of the attackers. Attackers are encouraged to combine to break down the defensive team. If the defender wins possession he must pass back to his teammate on the goal line prior to attacking (ie. no counter attacking).
Games are 2 minutes in duration. Rotate and play a new opponent after each two minute game.
Total time – Approx. 10 minutes.
One defender must always drop back onto the goal line to act as a goalkeeper. This creates a 2v1 in favor of the attackers. Attackers are encouraged to combine to break down the defensive team. If the defender wins possession he must pass back to his teammate on the goal line prior to attacking (ie. no counter attacking). Games are 2 minutes in duration. Rotate and play a new opponent after each two minute game.
Total time – Approx. 10 minutes.
- Encourage attacking play.
- Go at defenders!
- Use combinations discussed in warm-up phase.
- Emphasis should be on building confidence for the attackers.
A 6v6 + 2 floaters is organized inside a 30×35 yard grid as shown in Diagram (d) below. Four mini goals are created using cones as shown. A supply of balls is placed next to the coach at the perimeter of the playing area.
Players compete for possession of the ball and attempt to maintain possession through positive attacking play. Three touch maximum for all players. If the ball leaves the playing area, play is restarted with a throw-in. After 5-6 minutes add:
If players successfully wall-pass a defender, the defender must sprint once around the perimeter of the field before rejoining the play. After 5-6 minutes add:
Score between the mini goals AND maintain possession on the other side = 1 goal. This should spread the game out and the added goal element should increase the competitiveness.
Total time – Approx. 15 minutes.
- Quick play, high tempo.
- Encourage possession and freedom of play in attack.
Two teams of 8 players are organized as follows: A 4v4 is organized inside a 20×18 yard playing area. Goalkeepers are in each goal. The remaining 4 players from each team are positioned around the perimeter of the playing area as shown in diagram (e) below. A supply of balls is placed in or next to each goal.
Finishing exercise – should result in plenty of goal-scoring opportunities that should build confidence prior to the final phase of practice. Both teams compete for possession of the ball and attempt to score in their opponents goal. Perimeter players are restricted to one touch at all times – yellow plays to yellow, red plays to red. Central players play with no touch restriction. Two minute games then switch central and perimeter players.
All out-of-bounds start with goalkeeper who may distribute to either a central or perimeter teammate.
Total time – 20 minutes.
- Players are encouraged to create chances through quick combinations with teammates.
- Tempo and pace must be high.
- Shoot at any opportunity.
- Look for quick combinations in tight spaces.
- Outside perimeter players must stay active and involved in the game – stay switched on!
Final Activity – Game Conditions:
Field size is penalty spot to penalty spot. An 8v8 +1 floater is organized inside the playing area as shown in Diagram (f) below. To create match-up problems one team plays a 3:4:1 formation, the other team a 3:3:2 formation.
Note: For less athletic or developed teams (below U16) the goals may be moved to the 18-yard line.
Both teams compete for possession of the ball and attempt to score in their opponents goal. Full match conditions apply (throw-ins, fouls, corners etc). Upon gaining possession a team only has 10 SECONDS to get a shot on target or score a goal. This promotes positive forward play, positive forward passing, early forward passing and getting in behind the defense.
- No negative passes – look forward quickly and be positive.
- Active hard runs by all attacking players to unbalance the defenders.
- Be proactive when your team gains possession – get forward.
- Expect to get the ball when going forward.
- Do not wait to see what develops before making a run.