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Fundamental Soccer Blog


In his article “IT ULTIMATELY IMPROVED MY COACHING,” Bill Howe gave us Causing Attacking Factors to analyze when watching World Cup Games.    

Graham Ramsay suggests that it is essential for players to also analyze the Causing Defending Factors such as:   

  • How do they set up an interception?
  • When do they strike to intercept?

Their priorities are:


Make the pass look “on.” Tease the passer to believe the pass is “on.” Become devious like a thief and look to steal the ball. Often the passer gives you these clues  

(a) The passer’s vision-When their vision drops to the ball to pass; then the trap is set,

(b) The passer’s body language- the passer winds up to pass the ball.

Great defenders are SOCCER THIEVES. They live for interceptions to win possession and immediately pass the ball forward and create a fast break. They think of interception and pass in the same thought.


If you cannot intercept, or aren’t sure what to do, then contain. Create soccer’s version of “DOWN’S SYNDROME.” Get your opponent’s vision down and slow the move down. To do this effectively, you must get close enough to “threaten the ball.”

The magic distance is THREE FEET to make these “downs” a reality. The “R.P.’s” trap is now in place. Today’s game is about “MARKING THE BALL” and strangling/squeezing the space around the ball, which also kills the nearby passing angles/ lanes.


Contain, be patient and wait for the “BIG MOVE.” When the “MOVE” comes, strike to win the ball. Be determined and fight to win the ball. Expect to win it but don’t foul.

Fouling is about losing, a cheap way of giving the ball away, and a source of free kicks & penalties for our opponents. We never help our opponents to win.

  -How do they set up an interception?

-When do they strike to intercept?

What do they do with the ball after intercepting it?

  • If the interception is “off,” then what do they do?
  • What are their key “downs?”
  • What is the magic distance?
  • When do they strike to tackle?



“MAKE the PASS LOOK “ON,” “TEASE the PASS.”Become a Soccer Thief.

    “QUICKSTART, SLOW ARRIVAL,”“When the ball TRAVELS, we all TRAVEL.“


Graham Ramsay

Graham Ramsay is the Director of Soccer Sphere, a soccer educational cum marketing company based near Washington, DC. He is also the former Director of Soccer Development for the Maryland State Soccer Association with nearly 20 years of service to the youth in that state. Graham was one of the first National Staff Coaches for US SOCCER and has written several books and numerous articles. His latest book, SOCCER FOR GIRLS has sold nearly 60,000 copies worldwide. Graham has spent extensive time traveling with soccer teams in Brazil. As well as coaching in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and across Europe. While in the USA has coached in over 30 States doing clinics, workshops to helping college teams reach the NCAA's to taking Annandale Boys Club to winning the McGuire Cup (U19 National Championship) to developing high school programs to help creating one of the finest youth programs in the USA - MSI in Montgomery County, Maryland. Graham Ramsay also runs Soccer Clinics! Click here for more information.