In soccer, the field is where all of the action takes place. The field can be divided into thirds called the attacking third, defensive third, and middle third. In this lesson, you're going to learn more about the defensive third and how to utilize it to your advantage.
In soccer, the defensive third refers to the area of the pitch containing a team's own goal. It's all based on the point of view and which team you are referring to; one team's defensive third is the other's attacking third.
The defensive third is the home base for a team's goalie and its defenders. Midfielders and attacking players may return to the defensive third if they are required to, but they generally stay in the middle and attacking thirds.
If the ball is in a team's defensive third, that means that it is closer to their goal and they need to be more careful about possession to avoid turnovers. When making passes, players take extra care to get the ball to their teammates and not make mistakes. A mistake in the defensive third is a lot more dangerous than one made in the middle of the field or in the offensive third.
If the attacking team has the ball in the other team's defensive third, the defending team's main goal is to defend the goal and get the ball back into their possession. If they can do this, they can then counter attack. Counter attacks often start in the defensive third, with players breaking through into the middle of the field and eventually the offensive third while the opposite team is still getting back from their last attacking play.