FUEL Soccer Conversations for Saturday, Dec. 22 — Trick Plays, Defensive Strategy and Fancy Footwork

Good morning, soccer fans! We have some really fun stories to share with you. Enjoy!

1. Wow — never seen a goal like this scored before! And by an U11 player no less! 😮 (Cristian Nyari)

If you’ve ever wondered why coaches ask players to practice juggling, this is why. Being able to control the ball in the air is a skill that leads to scoring opportunities. This is an amazing sequence for this U11 star! And now he has a YouTube clip to last a lifetime.

We love how he never let the ball hit the ground before getting off that shot. Unbelievable that he started facing his own goal, and ended up scoring with only two touches.

What drills do you do to help you improve your ball control skills when the ball is in the air?

2. 6 Soccer Tips to Create a World-Class Defense (Soccer Coaching Pro)

We all like to score goals, but the best teams play great defense as well. This article talks about how some of the best teams in the world — Barcelona, Leicester City and Bayern — set up their defensive strategy.

Here are the six tips:

1. Know Yourself and Your Teammates (Strengths and Weaknesses)
2. Keep Calm and Stay in the Zone
3. Communicate as a Team​
4. Timing Is Key – Be Patient
5. Know The Enemy​
6. Iron-Out Your Weaknesses

There’s also a really cool video showing the importance of Tip No. 3 — communicating as a team. You’ll have to open this video in YouTube (the link is available once you hit play). Check out the way Lionel Messi takes advantage of a defense that isn’t communicating. He uses the ref to set a pick!

How will you help your team make defense more of a priority?

3. Slow feet don’t eat. 🤑 U-20 ‘s Sergiño Dest showing ’em no mercy. (US Soccer Youth National Team)

Have you ever seen a game of keep-away quite like this? Sergiño Dest of the U-20 USMNT puts on a clinic of footwork skills in this video.

Imagine what you could do with those skills in a 1v1 situation. That’s why it’s so important to keep a ball on your feet as much as possible!

What drills do you do to make yourself a better player in 1v1 situations?

What types of stories do you want to read about? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan and get involved in the FUEL Soccer Conversation!