Importance of Soccer Stopper

Hi SoccerHelp,

We had 1 win and 4 narrow losses until I put into place your tactics for playing a stopper, marking on throw-ins, goal kicks, punts and free kicks (Coaching Rule No. 3) and using patches as incentives to motivate players. The team we played today would have normally beaten us, but we beat them 3-0 !! The number of assists and striking in the goal box was amazing, lots of far post positioning by our team, I changed the Stopper half way thru first half. My first choice at stopper ended up having no real energy, the second choice was amazing - he went like a steam train. I told him the whole field was his, as long as he ran back to position each time the other team went on attack - he did this - and performed incredibly well. Our defenders did see some action but it was more clearing type work.

As you recommended, I played our best goalie in the field because hes a great athlete and our second choice goalie was in goal - I was nervous at commencement of game. But the other team hardly got near our penalty box!!!

Marking improved all thru game, I gave out patches at half time for marking and assists. This really got my team going. Me yelling out to player as he/she went by "you've got a patch for marking Logan".... or "Jack, you're patched for hard attack!" You should have seen the kids faces then watched them react on the field!!

The parents were screaming their heads off - they couldn't believe the change in our team. All the kids came off the field heads held high and smiling. They knew they'd achieved something great.

SoccerHelp - I am raising a glass to you guys this evening - I think the team is starting out on a great path. You've made the difference today mate!

All the best and have a great weekend. The start of ours has been awesome.

--Coach Chris, New Zealand