The Retreat Line Playing Out From The Back

Youth Session Plan – The Retreat Line Playing Out From The Back

Objective: To encourage players to use the retreat line law to play out from the back

The Set Up: Either use half a mini soccer pitch or mark out an equivalent area. The size will depend upon the age group, number of players and their ability.

4+GK v 2 –  The objective for the goal keeper and the 4 defenders is to get that ball across the retreat line (halfway line) under control on 8 out of 10 attempts. Each attempt starts with the goal keeper taking a goal kick on the floor from the edge of his penalty area. When the keeper passes the ball to one of the defenders the two attackers can run towards the ball from the retreat line, one pressuring the ball the other providing cover.

The four defenders need to react to the movement of the two attackers by exploiting the space, usually by passing the ball back and or across the pitch to exploit the width. The four defenders have to get the ball across the line by either dribbling it or passing to a team mate who has made a run.

Based on the numbers the objective looks quite easy for the defenders to achieve  but the two attackers can prevent the four defenders achieving the objective by either scoring a goal or getting the ball out of play. Making the objective much harder than it initially appears.

If you have extra players rotate them with the two attackers as it can be a tiring game for them.


Progression to the next exercise will depend on how successful the defenders are, If they achieve the objective you may want to increase the number of opponents in the following possession game, making the overload less favourable for the defenders.

5v2 Possession: This is a simple possession game that encourages the players to use the width of the pitch. The game is played in half a mini soccer pitch as before. The five defenders start with ball and try to keep possession by passing and dribbling. If one of the attackers intercepts the ball, they swap places with their opponent.


After playing this game for about 5-10 minutes go back to the 4+GK v 2 exercise, if the defenders achieved the objective first time around increase the number of attackers to make it more challenging for the defenders.

Normal Game: Focus on the skills learnt in the session, giving particular praise to players taking opportunities to play out from the back


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