The RYSA Coaching Philosphy is based on total player development. We believe total player development should consist of educated coaches, a player-centered approach, stages of development, playing environment, style of play and understanding winning and losing.
To help better understand the game of soccer, it is important to understand the terms that are commonly used in the soccer environment. These terms are divided into five different categories that will allow players to help each other, coaches to better communicate with players and parents to understand what is being said on the pitch, or field!
Positions and Systems of Play
The following describes the positions on the field of play:
- Goalkeeper – The only player who can use hands on the field and who is in a pre-determined area.
- Defenders – Described as left back, right back and center backs. The term ‘stopper’ and ‘sweeper’ are outdated terms, as there is no defensive stopper or sweeper in the modern game.
- Midfielders – Described as right midfield, left midfield, and central midfield. In 11v11, the term central midfield can be split into two – attacking central midfield and defensive central midfield.
- Forward / Striker – These players are not necessarily given a specific area of the field, for example, left forward or right forward. They are generally more ‘free’ players and can play without a lot of restrictions based on area within the final third of the field.
Systems of Play
This term refers to how the team sets up and where the positions generally operate.
There are many different systems of play, but the most common is 4-4-2. The 4-4-2 formation starts with defenders (4), moves to midfield (4) and finishes with forwards (2).
These terms can help you as players improve your communication skills on the field.
- Man on – Refers to an opponent that is close enough to steal the ball.
- Time – Communicating that another player has “time” to make a decision with the ball. Turn – Player has time to “turn” with the ball to face forward toward the opponents goal.
- Support – Player is in a clear position to receive the ball from a teammate. This position could be in front of a teammate, to the side of a teammate, or behind a teammate.
- Pressure – Denying the opposition player with the ball opportunities to play the ball forward (pass, dribble or shot).
- I go ball – Player communicating he or she is making the decision to pressure the player with the ball.
- Switch – Players plays the ball from one side of the field to the other.
- Nutmeg (Megs) – Purposefully putting the ball between an opponent’s legs.
These useful terms will get the tactical message out to players quickly and succinctly.
- Possess – To keep the ball.
- Mark Up – Defensive term, meaning that a specific player is responsible for a single player from the opposing team.
- Track Back – To run back into a pre-determined defensive position.
- Lock it in – Defensive term, meaning to commit players into a part of the field to make it difficult for the opposing team to maintain possession.
- Stay Connected – Can be a defending or an attacking term that means to keep the appropriate distances and spacing between teammates.
- Transition – To move from attack to defense, or defense to attack.
- Get wide – Refers to the attacking team shape (typically right and left midfield players) to create as much width as possible.
- Show – Refers to players without the ball to become a passing option to the player with the ball.
Use This, Not That
- Use goalkeeper not goaltender.
- Use first touch or control not trapping.
- Use games and activities not drills.
- Use pass it not boot it or kick it.
- Use defenders not sweeper and stopper.
- Please do not use GO, GO, GO!!!
Please also note that soccer does not have plays or timeouts. The game belongs to the players and is free flowing. Try and let the players play, the coaches coach and the parents cheer.
Laws of the Game
Below are examples of commonly used terms by soccer officials during the game. Use the link at the bottom of the page to define the terms.
- Penalty vs Foul
- Throw in
- Goal Kick
- Indirect Free Kick
- Direct Free kick
- Yellow Card
- Red Card
For FIFA laws of the game, click here.