Principles of Play

The key elements that define our style and principles of play

1) We will display an offensive style of play based on keeping possession and quick movement of the ball. We look for manageable solutions and avoid cheap giveaways.

  • Possession
  • Create triangles around the ball at all times: The player in possession of the ball must receive constant support and have at least two passing options.
  • Play what you see, do not assume: Passing must be clean, firm and accurate, with the proper weight.
  • Continually scan the field, take pictures: Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Change the point of attack often: The ball should flow from inside (of the space) to outside and outside to inside, whereby the ball in the middle increases the options of play.
  • Continue the movement off the ball: Find the best available space to create passing options for the player in possession of the ball.

2) We pass the ball on the ground with pace and receive the ball while keeping it moving. Make a clean, controlled first touch without stopping the ball. Take the touch away from pressure and into free space.

3) We encourage playing the ball from the back through the midfield but without taking chances in doing so, and from there to the final quarter of the field.

4) We use combination play with as little contact on the ball as possible to get behind opponents.

5) We demand speed of play while constantly looking for a forward pass.

Speed of play

  • Tactical awareness (head’s up play): See options before receiving ball.
  • Positive touch (forward if possible): Pass the ball to the front foot of the receiving player.
  • Lay-offs, Give and goes, 3rd man play: Put pace on the opponent with one touch release ball.

6) We stay defensively organized while attacking (defensive triangle) and always look to conclude our attacking play.

7) When possession is lost, we react quickly and apply pressure to regain the ball. Once possession is regained, we move into positions immediately to attack.


After loss of possession:

  • Recover (get behind the ball) and tuck in immediately Establish a compact shape (two pressing lines) and keep it at all time (30 meter team block), shift in line
  • Read if there is pressure (squeeze) or not (hold/drop)
  • Constantly closing down the opposition’s space by moving in all directions as compact unit
  • (everybody – always – together)
  • Keep on moving and be determined to regain control of the ball

After ball winning:

  • Spread out and provide passing options
  • Look forward but make sure to keep the ball (first pass stays in possession)
  • Look for through ball in behind opponents (one touch penetration whenever possible)

8) We play the back four as defensive line (holding the line, staying tight, covering each other) and provide space for the outside backs to move forward when attacking.

9) Defensively, we apply aggressive midfield pressing where the midfield becomes a compact zone that will make it hard for the opposition to get past.

10) We keep the game simple. Do not force situations, over-dribble or be careless with the ball. In 1vs1 attack situations take a touch to the side (touch out of opponent’s reach), at speed, to beat the defender.

11) Players will adapt to a role on the team and respect teammates, coaches, referees and opponents.

Work rate

  • Outwork the opponent (outnumbering the opponent around the ball, offensively and defensively)
  • Take initiative and be proactive, lead by example (leadership in every position)
  • Instantly recover after a mistake, make up for someone else’s mistake

12) Each player is part of a unit, and will cooperate with teammates to achieve the given tasks for the game.

Team spirit

  • Contribute to the team, individual performance within team concept
  • Give information, communicate, coach each other
  • Show winning attitude, positive body language
  • Be disciplined in your position, offensively as well as defensively
  • Be mentally and physically tough (never let yourself down and never give up)
  • Enjoy each other, help each other, share the passion

We always expect team commitment, effort, focus, and competitiveness

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