To win a soccer game, one of the two teams must score more goals than their opponent. In order to score, a team must play offense. Let's learn a bit about the more exciting, offensive aspects of a soccer game.
Let's review the field of play. There are three main parts of the field that relate to the offense:
The goal is the physical space defined by the goalposts, crossbar and netting where offensive players aim to score. A goal is also the act of scoring and the statistic that measures how many goals are tallied.
As they gain more experience, soccer players specialize in attacking, defending or goaltending. The three main types of attack-minded players on offense are called:
- Maintain possession of the ball
- Create scoring opportunities
- Convert scoring opportunities into goals
To achieve all of these objectives, the attacking players must be moving at all times, even when they do not have the ball at their feet. This movement is called making a run. Players will run into space, cut back towards a teammate with the ball, make a diagonal run to split the defense and other tactics to keep the defense guessing.
Shots at close range are much more accurate. However, it is difficult to find a way through a tight defense. Long range shots from outside the penalty box, while spectacular if they find the back of the net, often go astray.
While attempting to create a scoring opportunity, the offense must remember to avoid an offsides call. Offsides is when a member of the attacking team is behind the last defender (but not the goalkeeper) at the time the ball is played to them.
Like coaches and managers in other sports today, soccer coaches are adopting advanced statistics to see how well individual players and teams are performing. There are a few statistics that measure how well an offense is doing. Here is a list of just a few of these statistics:
- Percentage of Possession
- Points Scored (Goals + Assists)
- Shots on Target
- Passes Completed
- Goal Differential