Creating space to receive a soccer pass

By creating space before receiving a pass, a player will avoid immediate pressure, giving himself time to make good decisions with the ball and a chance to execute them.

What players must think about:

  • Move away at an angle so the defender follows.
  • Cut back quickly into the space created, leaving the defender trailing.
  • Accelerate into space.
  • Move too soon or too late to receive the pass and the space might be closed down.
  • Communication – verbal, eye contact, movement.
  • Variation – attack the space behind the defender.


Set up a 20-yard square. Split your squad into teams of three, including one server, one forward/attacker and one defender.

How to play it

The forward takes up a position facing the server on the edge of the area, with a defender, who is passive to begin with, marking behind. The forward creates space before receiving a pass from the server. The practice ends with the forward in control of the ball.

Rotate the players so everyone practises being the forward.

How to develop it

Using the same area, put one server at each corner outside the playing area, with a ball each. The other players pair up inside the playing area with one being the attacker and the other the defender.

The forward must break free of the defender, receive a ball from any server and play it back without losing possession.

Progressions include the forward taking two or three touches before returning the ball to a different server.

Be sure to rotate players.

Put it in a game situation

Play 2v2 in the same area, with a target player camped on opposite touchlines. A team wins a point for moving the ball from one target player to the other without losing possession.

The opponents win possession by tackling or intercepting the ball or if it goes out of play. Target players can move along their line and must be swapped throughout.

This session is from Soccer Coaching Smart Sessions. The sessions come in Advanced and Core versions.

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