Soccer Tips: Defending the Breakaway; USMNT Matt Besler


Want to defend the break away like a pro soccer player? Check out Soccer Tips: Defending 1v1 with Matt Besler, a member of the United States Mens National Soccer Team that's about to head to Brazil for the World Cup and defender for Sporting Kansas City in the MLS.

To properly defend the breakaway and shut down an opponent's attack, it is crucial that a soccer player knows the basic fundamentals of defensive positioning. In order to do this successfully, a soccer defender must break the play down into steps, analyzing the opponent's every move and then dictating when it’s best to exploit the opposing player’s first mistake.  Here is Besler's signature soccer drill that breaks down the proper steps to defending the 1v1 breakaway:

  1. First try to force the opposing striker into an uncomfortable position, don’t over commit, and then threaten the offensive player’s possession.
  2. Take long strides as you approach the striker who has the ball, as you get close break down into small choppier steps.
  3. Once you get within arm’s length of the striker you must jockey him. You jockey the attacker by getting in a sideways position and staying in a low athletic position.
  4. Now that you’re in the jockey position, defend the attacker until they make a bad touch. Once you recognize the bad touch make your challenge on the ball.

Whether you're a pro soccer player about to play in the World Cup like Matt Besler or an amateur working your way up, you must have a solid all-around skill set on the pitch. Learning and practicing soccer drills helps excel your game. When it comes to both defending and scoring, soccer players should have an array of tools that they can offer to benefit the team. One vital part of soccer is inbounding the ball. It may be a late game corner or a throw in from out of bounds, but either of these plays if executed properly could change the outcome of a game. Want to train with a actual pro? There are many soccer coaches like Matt Besler with MLS playing experience who can prescribe you the necessary soccer drills and soccer tips to take your game to another level. 

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