Style of Play

Style of play: General 

The key elements for coaches and players that define the style of play 

GAME 

Offensive Style 

All teams will be encouraged to display an offensive style of play based on keeping possession and quick movement of the ball. 

Quick transitions and finishing 

Speed of play, avoiding over-dribbling, looking for an organized and quick movement of the ball and finishing is encouraged in all age groups. 

Position Specific 

A team must be organized defensively, keeping their positions in the formation. However, players will look for spaces and movements to support forward when attacking by moving away from their original positions. 

Formation 

The preferred formations are 4-3-3 (either in its 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-2-3 variations) and 4-4-2. Teams in advanced stage (U15+) can also use a 4-4-2 formation with a diamond system in the midfield. This system provides space in the wide areas of the field for the outside backs to move forward and join the attack. 

Style of Play: Specific 

Most relevant of each of the four key components 

TECHNICAL 

First Touch 

First touch is the most important fundamental technique that all players need for their development. The mechanics of how to receive the ball with various parts of the body is an important visual tool of teaching as well as repetition. 

Passing and Receiving 

Passing the ball on the ground with pace from different distances will be encouraged as well as receiving the ball while keeping it moving. 

Shooting 

Players will be encouraged to shoot from any distance during the game and be equipped to execute various shooting techniques. Power shot, curling shot, chipped shot etc. 

Ball control and turning 

Players will be encouraged to keep close control of the ball and use different turning techniques to move away from the defenders. 

TACTICAL 

Playing out from the back 

All teams must feel comfortable playing the ball from the keeper, defenders, through the midfield and from there to the final third of the field. 

Possession and transition 

All teams must try to keep possession of the ball playing a one-two touch game. Players will be encouraged to support and move, thus creating passing options. Once the possession game is established the team will learn how to transfer the ball form one area of the field to another in the most efficient way. 

Quick transition 

When possession is lost, players must react quickly and apply pressure to regain the ball. Once possession is regained , players will be positioned immediately to counter-attack. 

PHYSICAL 

Speed and Agility 

These qualities will be evident in the game from the early ages. Coaches and players will be encouraged to improve in this area. 

Endurance 

Individual players and teams will train to be resilient to high-intensity action. 

Strength and power 

Strong players develop their speed quicker, prevent injuries and are more competitive in games. 

PSYCHOSOCIAL 

Respect and discipline 

Players will adapt to a role on the team and respect teammates, parents, coaches, referees and opponents. 

Cooperation 

Each player will be part of a unit and will cooperate with teammates to achieve the objective for a given task, session or game, as well as for the entire season. 

Competitiveness 

Competitive players should be rewarded for their effort, commitment, focus and discipline. 

Principles of Play 

For the coach, the player and the team 

COACH 

1. Possession games are a means to improve both the technique and tactical understanding of the players. 

2. Opposition (Practice) will be encouraged to increase the competitiveness of the players. 

3. Focus on high-intensity games, speed of play, one-two touch mentality, short and intense work periods. 

PLAYER 

1. One-two touch/three touch maximum: Minimizing the number of touches improves the speed of play. 

2. Keep the game simple: Do not force situations, over-dribble or be careless with the ball. 

3. Keep the ball on the ground: A ball on the ground is easier to control and can be moved more efficiently by the team. 

4. Accuracy and quality of the pass: Passing must be a firm and accurate with the proper weight. 

5. First touch: Make a clean, controlled first touch. First touch improves speed of play and efficient ball movement. 

6. Perception and awareness: All players with or without the ball should constantly scan the field. 

7. 1v1 Situations: Encourage determination to regain control of the ball in defence and keep it simple in attack by taking a touch to the side, at speed, to beat the defender. Avoid 1v1 situations in defending and middle thirds of the field and rather encourage players to beat players passing, combination players and movement. 

8. Individual transition: Players must react quickly when possession changes from offence to defence and vice-versa. 

9. Shooting: Always keep and eye on the goal. All players are encouraged to shoot. 

10. Take risks: Players are encouraged to be creative in training sessions to increase the speed of play. 

TEAM 

1. All players attack and defend: All players must be involved in the game as a unit.
2.
Numerical advantage: Soccer is a game of a numbers where we try to create a numerical advantage in attack and avoid being in a numerical disadvantage on defence. 

3. Flow of the ball: Passes to the wings are safe options and passes to the middle are risky but increase options. 

4. Triangle principle and passing options: The player in possession of the ball must receive constant support and have at least two passing options. 

5. Speed f play: Quick movement of the ball creates numerical advantage and unbalances opponents on defensive shape. 

6. Movement of the ball: Find the best available space to create passing options for the player in possession of the ball. Encouraging the ball forward first, if not possible, then sideways and backwards as a last option to restart the attack or switch point of attack. 

7. Pressure as a unit: Organized pressure forces the opponents to making quicker decisions and eventually loss of possession. 

8. Transition: Improve transition by reducing the number of passes needed to arrive at the target area or the opponents’ goal. 

9. Direction of the game: The game flows in two directions. Keep the essence of the game in the majority of your practices. 

10. Take initiative during the game: Team breakdowns will occur. The team must be capable of adapting to new situations and imposing its own style of play during the game.