How to Close out a Soccer Victory

The seconds tick slowly when preserving a lead - (Photo: Ibtimes.com)

The game of soccer places a premier emphasis on winning, as does just about every other competitive game on the face of the Earth.  But as glorious as winning a soccer game can be, a defeat is equally painful and demoralizing.  Nobody likes to lose in soccer, and losses can result in anger, frustration, finger pointing, and all else negative.  Professional soccer teams that lose to often face relegation to lower soccer leagues, while players and coaches are often dismissed or banished to lesser clubs.  Such is the cutthroat world of competitive soccer.

What all this means is that teams will fight desperately to avoid a defeat, and a late surge of attacks and players thrown forward is to be expected near the end of a soccer victory.  How a team withstands such assaults will be a reflection upon both the maturity and qualities of that team.  Holding onto victories is key for any soccer team to really feel confident in themselves, while letting a potential win slip away due to a last-minute goal can often be as heartbreaking as a loss.  Here are some tips to ensure that you and your soccer team hold onto your next lead:

Possess the ball.  Soccer is often about momentum, and the best way to push the momentum pendulum in your favor is to gain an edge in possession.  While your opponent will spring into action the moment that they win the ball, desperately heaving it ahead for a goal-scoring chance, they will grow in panic in frustration as each minute ticks by in which they don’t hold the ball.

So if your team can pass the ball around and prevent the opposition from any possession, victory is clear in sight.  One key advice though is to not become complacent in your possession.  The other team will spring into action the moment that an opportunity presents itself, and any lazy back pass can easily result in a game-tying goal.

There are other ways of frustrating your opponent as well.  This can involve taking the ball into their corner and shielding it away from them as the clock ticks by.  Also, when a ball is sent out of bounds or if a foul is called, you can refrain from collecting the ball for an opponent.  Let them run to grab the ball.  Goalies are wise to take their time on goal kicks as your team isn’t the one hurrying to restart play.

These tactics will help your team in two ways.  First and foremost, precious seconds will tick off of the game clock.  But additionally, your antics will increase the stress of your opponents and force them into desperation.  When players attack desperately, they are more prone to panicked errors or leaving their defense exposed.  A quality team can pounce upon such situations and convert another goal or easily take back possession of the ball.

Closing out soccer games often is something that improves with players’ experience.  Every professional soccer player will have experienced a terrible lost victory at some point in their careers, and these events serve as reminders and offer guidance on how to control a game near its end.  Be sure to learn from your experiences too so that your team rarely gives up a late, game-changing goal.


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