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HSA Findlay Cheetahs

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Quote of the week: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." - Theoretical Physicist Albert Einstein

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Formation: We will use a 4-4-2 formation. The numbering of the formation is from the defensive end to the offensive end (the Goalie is not included in the numbering). See illustration below right.4-4-2 Alignment

Forward: Offensive players, responsible for stretching the opponent's defense. We will field 2 Forwards: a High Forward (F1) and a Low Forward (F2). F1 will play nearer the opponent's goal to stretch the defense as far as the opponent's defenders will allow without being Off Sides. F2 will play further from the opponents goal and offset from F1. The Forwards must immediately Transition to pressure upon losing possession of the ball.

Midfielder: Must play both ends of the field. Responsible for both defense and offense. We will field 4 Midfielders: a Near Side Midfielder (M1), 2 Center Midfielders (M2 and M3), and a Far Side Midfielder (M4). The four Midfielders will play in a line but can initiate and sustain an attack as needed but in Transition, they must immediately return to their designated position.

Defender: Defensive player, responsible for keeping the ball out of the Danger Zone and for initiating counter attacks. We will field 4 Defenders: a Near Side Defender (D1), 2 Center Defenders (D2 and D3) and a Far Side Defender (D4). A Defender can initiate and sustain an attack as needed. Only one Defender at a time may attack and in Transition, they must immediately return to their designated position.

Goal Keeper: Responsible for keeping the ball out of the goal and acting as a Sweeper when the Defenders are pushed up. Also responsible for “Distributing” the ball after a stop and may be responsible for Goal Kicks. We will field 1 Goal Keeper (GK).


The Field:

The Field will be broken down into Thirds. See Illustration below left.

Attacking Third: The Third of the field on the end we are attempting to score, including the penalty and goal boxes. It is important to keep the ball as long as possible in this “Third” for an opportunity to score.

Middle Third: The Third of the field overlapping the Half Way Line. This should be where the majority of the game is played.

Defending Third: The Third of the field on the end we are defending, including the penalty and goal boxes. It is very important to keep the ball out of this “Third” of the field and, especially, out of the Danger Zone.


Sides of the Field:

Near Side: The side of the field nearest our bench.

Center: The area in the center of the field from Goal Box to Goal Box.

Far Side: The side of the field farthest from our bench.

Other Field Terms:

Center Circle: Circle in the center of the field. On a kick off, defenders must stay outside this circle until the ball is moved by the kicker.

Danger Zone: The space in the Center of the field in the Defending Third where most of the opponents goals are scored. It is important to keep the ball out of the Danger Zone and to Clear the ball if it comes in. See Illustration below right.

Far Post: The post of the goal farthest from the ball.

Near Post: The post of the goal nearest the ball.

Goal Box: The small box in front of the goal within which the ball must be placed to take a goal kick.

Penalty Box:The large box in front of the goal in which the goalkeeper can touch the ball with hands.

Defensive Strategy:

We will play a Zonal Defense with the nearest player applying Pressure and the second nearest player supplying Cover. In Transition from Attacking to Defending, all players will move into a Goalside position. The Defense will move to a Compact shape.

Compact Defense: A condensed, defensive form of the 4-4-2 alignment which shifts On the Ball with the attack. See Illustration below left.

Pressure (Ball): The player nearest the ball must provide immediate pressure on the attacking opponent. The player applying Pressure must Close quickly to Contain and slow the attack until Cover can arrive, then Challenge for the ball. The player providing Pressure will yell "Ball".

Cover: The player providing Cover will Close to 10 yards Goalside in front of the attacker . The player providing Cover will yell "Cover". If the opponent gets around the initial Pressure, the Cover player must apply Pressure, and a new Cover player must get into position. This is repeated all the way down field as necessary.


Other Defensive Terms:

Ballside: Getting between an opponent & the ball.

Challenge: To attempt to “Tackle” or steal the ball from the opponent. This is done only after Closing, Containing, and Cover is provided.

Clear: To kick the ball out of the Danger Zone, usually an Air Ball long down field or to the side lines.

Close: To quickly fill the gap between the defender and attacker. Leave 3 to 5 yards to Contain attacker until Cover can arrive.

Contain: Any tactic or technique that is used to restrict an attacker's movement with the ball.

Distribute: The Goalie Distributes the ball by kicking, punting or throwing it. Once they pick up the ball, they have six seconds to punt it or release it. They can pick it up, run with it and punt, throw it, or drop it and dribble. The Goalie will Distribute the ball angled towards the sidelines and out of the Danger Zone.

Jockey: A defensive move to steer the First Attacker in the desired direction away from the goal and toward the sideline.

Goalside: Getting between an attacker & the goal he is trying to score.

Mark or Mark Up: To match up defensively one on one with an opponent. We Mark Up on all throw ins, corner kicks, and goal kicks.

Over Committing:Rushing the ball or jumping into the air so that the attacker is able to get past them. It is better to Close, Contain, wait for Cover, then Challenge to jockey the attacker to go toward the side line instead of to the center.

Transition:When the ball changes hands, we will immediately switch from a Compact Defense to a Spread Offense, or vice-versa.

Tackle: To steal the ball from the opponent.

Trap: A defensive move that surrounds (traps) the First Attacker, preferably along a sideline.

Wall: Before Free Kicks within scoring distance for the opponent, several players will group together in a “Wall” 10 yards from the ball, between the ball and the goal, with the outer edge of the wall aligned with the Near Post. This “Wall” will help block the majority of the goal from the kicker and force him to kick to the open Far Post where our goalkeeper will be positioned. See Illustration below right.

Win the Ball: To gain possession of the ball, often when it is a loose ball or a ball which the other team also has a chance to win. Winning the ball is very important as it puts your team in control of the ball.

Offensive Strategy:

We will play a Possession Offense with Support players on all sides of the Attack. A Possession Offense uses mostly Diagonal Passes, Back Passes, Passes to Space, Through Passes, and Cross Passes to maintain possession and move the ball towards the opponents goal. In the Defending Third of the field, the attack must always be moved away from the Danger Zone and towards the side lines. The Offense will employ a Spread shape.

Spread Offense: While attacking, the offense must spread both in width and depth to create passing lanes, open up space, and create a better opportunity to score. See Illustration below left.

Attacker: The player with the ball. Responsible for moving the ball up the field by dribbling, passing, or crossing. After a successful pass, the Attacker will continue on the attack as Support.

Support: While Attacking, we will need to Support the Attack. Support refers to having players within passing distance of the Attacker on all sides of the ball. The Support players should stay spread, attempt to create open space and open up passing lanes and scoring opportunies by making "Off the Ball" runs.

Other Terms:


Air Ball: Kicking the ball into the air over the opponent's heads, such as a Goal Kick, Corner Kick, or Clear. Passes should usually be Ground Balls for better control at the receiving end.

Back Pass: Passing the ball away from the attacking goal. We may use this concept on Kick Offs. Also, can be used when the Attacker has no shot or open forward or cross pass.

Cross: A pass by the Attacker, often to Space, in front of the opponents goal, to the Support who are heading to the posts. This is the most effective pass to score with.

Ground Ball: Kicking the ball to roll on the ground to a receiver. Most passes, including Back Passes, Crosses, Passes to Space, Pop Passes, Through Balls, and Wall Passes should be Ground Balls.

Non-prefered Foot: The foot opposite of the Prefered Foot, usually the left foot for a right hander.

One Touch: Passing or shooting with a single touch of the ball. Used with Wall Passes or to help shake off Over Committing defenders.

Pass to Net: Not really a pass but a scoring shot that is kicked with the precision of a pass to the corner of the goal net and away from the goalkeeper.

Pass to Space: A pass to an open space on the field in front of your Support. This allows the attacker to run up to the ball to maintain possession and momentum, and stay On Side.

Playing Out From the Back:  Starting the attack from the Defending Third using the Defenders to mount the attack by moving the ball across the field looking for an open passing lane forward.

Pop Pass: A pass to yourself. A technique used when confronted by a single defender. Pick a side of the defender to make a Pass to Space to, “pop” the ball past the defender and beat your opponent to the ball.

Prefered Foot: The foot you prefer to use to kick or dribble with.  Usually the right for a right hander.

Off the Ball Run: Attempt to create open space, open up passing lanes, and scoring opportunies on through balls, by making diagonal runs, over-lapping runs, and post runs while "off the ball".

One Touch: Passing or shooting with a single touch of the ball. Used with Wall Passes or to help shake off Over Committing defenders.

Receive: A player can "receive" the ball on a pass or a loose ball. The ball is usually received with the foot (inside, outside, top or bottom), but it can also be received with the chest, head, thigh, or any part of the body except the arms

Through Ball: A pass between defenders into the space between the Defenders and the goalie. This pass is intended for the forward to outrun the Defender and goalie to the ball, and score. This may also be a Pass to Space or a Pop Pass.

Two Touch: Passing or shooting after stopping the ball with a second touch of the ball.

Wall Pass: A pass to the Support who acts like a wall, and rebounds the pass back to the Attacker with a One Touch pass. This is a good way to shake off a defender and get open.


Hook Turn: A technique for reversing direction by using the inside or outside of the foot to "cut", "chop" or "hook" the ball. This is done by turning the foot and pulling the toes up so the laces can hook or chop the ball & cause it reverse direction.

Pull Back Turn: A pullback is executed by placing the bottom of the foot on the ball, rolling it (or flicking it) backward, and turning with it. It is a way to quickly reverse direction.

Stop Turn: A method of turning where the player uses the bottom to his foot to stop the ball while on a fast run, lets his momentum carry him a step or two past the ball, but quickly turns and comes back to the ball. Similar to a "Pullback" except the ball is not pulled back.

Off Sides:

Off Sides (Rule Simplified): You are not Off Sides if you are doing any of the following:

  1. Are in your own defensive half of the field. Or,

  2. Are even with or behind the ball. Or,

  3. Don't go behind the "Last Defender" without the ball. Or,

  4. Receive a pass behind the “Last Defender” if you where not in an off side position when the pass was made. Or,

  5. Receive the ball direct from a goal kick, corner kick or throw-in. Or, Are the ball handler (the ball handler can be closer to the goal than the ball if he has his back to the goal).

  6. Don't worry about the rest of the technical rule, this is really all you need to know.

Off Side Trap: A defensive technique to trap an offensive opponent in an Off Side position. If an offensive player (or players) are hanging around our deepest defender, most likely the Sweeper, move forward to put them in an Off Side position.


Terms highlighted in Red are key concepts that must be learned and understood. Please study these terms, we will be using these terms and concepts repeatedly throughout the season and will not stop to explain them repeatedly!