U14 Practice Plan - Building Out of the Back

Practice Date: Sunday, July 15th, 2018

This practice plan works on the shape of the backline and strategies for moving forward with possession. As a coach you can talk about why and how to move the ball backwards in order to keep posession. Players should start to understand when and how to move forward and know the options they have to play backwards. The drills for this practice include:

  • 4 vs 4 Scrimmage
  • 4 vs 4 +1 to 6 Goals
  • 7 vs 6 One Goal with Counters
  • 7 vs 7 Scrimmage

End of Practice Discussion

Bring players together to talk about the shape of the backline when we try to build out of the back. Use cones to help illustrate as needed.

  • Why do we need options to play backwards when playing out of back? (for safety and to keep possession).
  • Who is always behind us that we can pass to when in trouble? (our goalkeeper! Goalkeeper must be active as a last option to keep possession).
  • When should we look to go forward? (always! Our first look is always to go forward (ex: center mids).
  • When should we not try and force the ball into our #6 or #8? (When pressure is too tight on them).
  • What are the roles of the #2 and #3 when playing out of the back? (Get wide and advanced. Open body when receiving ball, and look for options to play forward)


31 x 20 4 vs. 4 Scrimmage

31 x 20 4 vs. 4 Scrimmage - Soccer small sided game


  • Remove the endzones in the previous game, and add two 3 yard goals on each end (field is now 31x20yds)
  • Let players play 4v4, coach decides how restarts happen, depending on local rules

Coaching Points:

  • None! Just let them play! However, get excited when you see a player try a try a dribbling move, or attempts to get a defender off balance.
  • Always highlight positives you see, but don’t stop play and don’t correct their decision making. This is their time to play how they want!

4 v 4 Plus One to 6 Goals

4 vs. 4 to Six Goals Plus 1 - Soccer Drill for Building out of the back


  • Make multiple fields as necessary. Players play 4v4 with a neutral player in the middle.
  • Neutral player is on the team with the ball, so game is always 5v4
  • Teams attack the three goals on one side of the field. Outside goals are worth 3pts, inside goal worth 1. Restart with throw-ins and goalkicks. No corners.
  • Both teams play in a 4-1. With 4 defenders (#2, #3, #4, #5), and one center midfielder (#8), who is the neutral


  • Eventually change the middle goal to being worth 3pts, and outside goal worth 1pt to make more game realistic

Coaching Points

  • Movement of ball along backline to switch point of attack. If field is too cramped on one side, look to drop ball back to center back (#4, #5) and play to other side.
  • Combination off center mid to create space.
  • Movement off ball. Once ball is won, outside defenders (#2, #3) need to get immediately wide and in a advanced position further up field. When receiving ball, outside defenders need to open their body and take positive touch going forward if there is no pressure.
  • Communication

7 vs 6 One Goal with Counters

7 vs 6 One Goal with Counters - U14 / U16 Soccer Drill


  • If half field unavailable, use as much space as you can. The team you are coaching is defending the big goal, and is trying to score on the two small goals (3yds wide)
  • Formation for black team: 1-4-2 (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #8). Formation for red team: 4-2 (#7, #8, #9, #10, #7, #11). Adjust as numbers allow.
  • Ball starts with coach on halfway line and played to either GK or one of the black players who try and score on small goals. If ball is lost, red team attacks large goal.
  • Normal rules (including corners, goalkicks, throw-ins). If goal is scored, game restarts with coach.

Coaching Points

  • Encourage the GK to play short to defenders instead of punting the ball.
  • Talk about shape of defenders when they have possession. We want options behind, wide and in front of the ball to play.
  • Communication
  • Anticipation from backline. Once a defender has the ball, can the other defenders recognize the movements they need to make to create space, and do it fast?
  • Movement of center mids. Can they provide an option to play forward?
  • What are the visual cues of playing into the center midfielders when building out of the back? Make sure the #6 or #8 have time and space to turn. If space is too tight in midfield, then play wide or look to bypass midfield line altogether.

7 vs. 7 Scrimmage

7 vs. 7 Soccer Scrimmage


  • Play 7v7. If your numbers are short, decrease size of field to 40x25 and play 6v6.
  • Cones for goals are 6yds wide and use goalkeepers.

Coaching Points

  • None! Just sit back and let them play. Play full rules for your age group: offside, thrown-ins, goalkicks and corners etc.
  • If you see deception, get excited, even if the move doesn’t work! Give them the thumbs-up and tell them you want them to try it again. The more you encourage the attempt, instead of the result, the more often your players will be willing to take risks in a game.