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Dealing With Crosses #3

by  Don Williams

Small Sided games.

The crossing game I like best is taking 2 goals putting one on the goal line and the other at the top of the 18 yard box. We then have two neutral wingers who play wide outside the 18. These two wingers are free players that may not be challenged inside a neutral channel.

Inside the box we play from 4 v 4 up to 8 v 8. The teams can only score off of a cross and the play always begins with the keepers. The keepers should be encouraged to make their distribution wide to the wingers.

This game gets fast and furious, the keepers get to see loads of crosses from varying positions.

Option : Limit the number of touches the wingers have. This will make it so that the crosses are forced to come in from different points in and around the 18 yard box.

Coaching position: One note of importance that has not been discussed yet in this series is the position of the keeper coach when working with the keeper. It is important that the coach position themselves in or behind the net. This way the coach sees exactly what the keeper sees. Otherwise the coach sees a perspective completely different and may give poor advise to the keeper.

Scrimmage: When we are focusing on crosses we often give the players a free scrimmage with no restrictions, but off them a “bonus incentive” if they can finish from a cross. For example, we might tell them that a regular goal is worth 1 point, but a goal scored from cross is worth 5 points.

I have found that by doing it this way Ensure that we don’t kill the creativity of our players, but instead allow them to make their own decisions about how they want to try and win the game.

During this point of the session, I find it’s best to leave the keepers alone and allow them to “sink or swim” on their own. Over coaching is one sure way to destroy a keeper’s ability to think for themselves.

Good Luck in training!


Don Williams

Don Williams is a veteran college coach whose coaching career spans 30 years. He coached at virtually every level in the United States, including a pro stint in the USL, the NCAA, NAIA, and at the Junior College level. Most recently, he coached the men and women at Feather River Junior College in California, where he was able to transfer 92 players for $4,375,000 in scholarships having his players recruited by many distinguished schools such as Penn State, UMass, Florida State, UCLA, Lipscomb, New Mexico State, North Carolina, University of Washington and many more. Before coaching at Feather River, Don spent 12 years coaching at California State University at East Bay. Don has also been the men’s head coach at Ohlone College and the goalkeeper coach for the Bay Area Seals of the USL. There he coached such notables as Jon Conway, who went on to play for the NY Red Bulls, Chicago Fire, and Toronto FC of the MLS. Don also served as the inaugural Director of Coaching for the Northern Nevada State Olympic Development program, where he helped 67 players get invited to the US Regional Event. Don is Head of Operations with Sports Recruiting USA for The Americas, the most successful and connected college placement agency in the world. He has earned his "A" License from the United States Soccer Federation.