Advantages of clearing the soccer ball straight ahead
6 reasons why it's better to clear it straight ahead instead of kicking it to the corner
Importance of soccer Forwards shifting from side to side with the ball and being in position to win cleared balls
How to get past Pushed Up soccer Fullbacks

Hi SoccerHelp,

If the other team is Pushing Up their FBs and the ball is in my Defensive Half, I am planning on having my players kick the ball toward a corner so we can buy time. If they are Defending Deep, my attackers will use the regular 1st attacker, 2nd attacker offense we run. The other team's FBs are so quick that if they are pushed up, I want to send the ball deep to a corner and let my girls fight for it.

What do you think?

Al, Premium Member


Hi Al,

If your Forward has the ball (or if one of your MFs has it and is in position to attack) and you're worried about getting past Pushed Up FBs, instead of sending the ball to the Corner, tell your F and MFs to just chip it toward the goal (if they can Chip), or pass it between the FBs and try to run onto it. This is called "Passing to Yourself".

You say: "The other teams FBs are so quick that if they are pushed up, I want to send the ball deep and let my girls fight for it. "

If the opposing FBs are Pushed Up, Yes, I suggest sending it Deep, BUT if your Forward will shift from side-to-side with the ball so she is in position to win cleared balls, I suggest telling your other players to kick the ball STRAIGHT ahead (not "toward goal"-- just straight ahead). That's easy to remember and that way your Forward will be in position to win the ball.

When I first started coaching I taught my players to "kick it to the corner" also, but there are 4 problems with that:

  1. If you kick it to the corner, you will NEVER get a breakaway -- whereas if it is kicked straight ahead you will get some. Now, sometimes the ball might go to the opposing Goalie, or sometimes the opponent might win it, BUT sometimes you will get fast breaks. The way to teach this is to tell your FB, Stopper and MF that their job is to Kick it STRAIGHT AHEAD --- NOT to try to "pass" it -- JUST KICK IT STRAIGHT AHEAD -- that way they only have to remember one thing -- it's very simple. Tell them that IF the Forward doesn't win the ball, it's OK -- their job is to KICK IT STRAIGHT AHEAD and the Forward's job is to always be shifting from side-to-side with the ball AND to stay a long kick away from the ball AND to WIN THE BALL. If the Forward doesn't win the ball, it ISN'T the fault of the player who KICKED IT STRAIGHT AHEAD (it might not be the Forward's fault either -- she will probably only win about 50%, BUT she should be able to get 3 or 4 good breakaways per game). Those breakaways will worry the other coach and he will stop Pushing Up his FB's so far.

  2. If your players try to kick it to the corner there is a greater chance they will kick it out of bounds or mis-kick it than there is if they JUST KICK IT STRAIGHT AHEAD.

  3. If you tell them to "kick it to the corner" it's harder for the FB and ST to remember where to kick it, it can sometimes be confusing (which corner?), and your Forward won't know where it's going. An example: Let's say the ball is in the Penalty Box Arc and your FB "sends it" -- which corner will she send it to? Say she is on the Left Side and mistakenly tries to "send it" to the right corner and mis-kicks -- what will happen is that she has kicked it where there aren't any defenders -- it's like "switching the play" and if an opponent wins it, there might not be anyone between the opponent and your goal.

  4. You will probably never win a ball kicked to the Corner, and even if you do, you will have given your opponents time to "recover" to defensive positions.

Here are 2 more reasons to clear it straight ahead:

  1. If you clear it straight ahead, the ST, MFs and Fs know what to expect and should have shifted with the ball so they are ALWAYS in position to win a cleared ball. If you kick it to the side, who will be there to win it? Like many coaching decisions, there is a trade off. At least if your MFs and Fs are in position to win the ball they have a chance and your MFs, Fs and FBs will be in position to stop the attack if your opponent wins the ball. Also, this teaches your MFs and Fs to shift with the ball and to be alert, in position and to fight to win the ball, which are important to good play.

  2. A BIG advantage of clearing the ball straight ahead is that even if an opponent wins it, you will have players between the ball and your goal, so you have Defenders in position to stop an attack.

I've done it both ways and kicking it straight ahead worked better. You will score more goals if your players KICK IT STRAIGHT AHEAD.

I hope this helps... please let me know.

David at SoccerHelp