This U14 soccer practice plan focuses on defending against the counter attack. We’ll introduce a variety of fun drills to help develop defense fundamentals and apply those skills to game situations.

PHASE 1 - 2 vs 1 (0:00-0:15)

Setup:  Set up a 30 x 20 box with cones.

How It Works:

1.  Have the defenders (circles) start with the ball and pass it to one of the 2 attackers (triangles) at the top of the box.

2.  The 2 attackers will do their best to try and beat the defender and dribble over the end line to score. The defender will try to create a 1 v 1 situation and force a player out of bounds or kick it out.

3.  Teach players that all they need to do in this situation is slow down the attacking players and try to force them away from the goal.

PHASE 2 - 3 vs 2 - 2 vs 1 (0:10-0:35)

Setup:  Set up two goals on a field 50 x 40 yd. Have goalies in each goal.

How It Works:

1.  Divide the team evenly and have them go to opposite ends. One end will form two lines the other will form three lines.

2. The one player from the line of two will send a ball to the team of three. The team of three will attack 3 vs 2 and try to score.

3.  Once a shot is taken or ball is kicked out then the person who shot or lost the ball becomes the defender and the two that were defending become the attackers and play 2 vs 1 and try to score at the other end.

4.  Play for 5 minutes and then switch sides so both teams have the chance to play in both scenarios.

5.  Teach players that to force the attacking team away from the goal and try to create 2 vs 2 or 2 vs 1 in your favor when defending a man down.

Water Break - 1 Minute

PHASE 3 - Counter Game (0:35-1:00)

Setup:   Set up a 50 x 40 yd. field with a distinct half line, two goals, and goalies.

How It Works:

1.  Divide into teams of 5 or 6 and play.

2.  In order to score your whole team as to be in your attacking half.

3.  Team with the most goals in 4 minutes wins.

4.  The hope for this drill is to commit a lot of players forward so there will be a natural opportunity for the opposing team to counter and this will allow you as the coach to teach necessary components of defending a counter attack.

Water Break - 2 Minutes

PHASE 4 - Play and Apply (1:00-1:30)

How It Works:

1.  Divide the team evenly.

2.  Play a half field scrimmage.

3.  Play two 15 minute halves.

4.  Look for opportunities to coach the counter attack situation and paint the picture of how it will look in a game.

Cool Down and Stretch

For more drills and practice plans like this, download our complete

Essential Soccer Defensive Drills eBook