It takes a great squad to win a World Cup,along the way the U.S. Women’s National Team left blood, sweat and tears on the field. Morgan Brian’s clash of heads in the semi final win against world number 1 ranked Germany embodied the steeliness of the team. Abby Wambach’s and Christie Rampone’s selflessness by putting the squad first and not allowing their demotion to the bench detract from the formidable spirit this group of players had shown as they progressed through the earlier rounds of play.
However the heart beat of this team was Carli Lloyd. To witness her performance in the World Cup final against Japan was a beautiful sight. The culmination of 33 years of sacrifice, dedication and practice came to fruition in an absolutely stunning execution of midfield play.
Below are some tips for those of us hoping to raise the next great midfielder like Carli Lloyd:
- A midfielder must be fit. They are the engine of the team so while there are nuances to the position such as attacking vs. defensive the one constant is that a midfielder must have the fitness to cover the full length of the field continuously over the course of a match. Swimming, tennis, basketball and track are all great sports which complement soccer at an early age.
- A midfielder must have a great touch.Midfielders link the play between defense and attack.This means offering themselves as an outlet for a pass at all times thus the ability to control the ball with either their left or right foot under pressure is crucial. Players should always work on exercises which strengthen their non dominant foot.
- The skill of passing is a fundamental part of soccer. If a pass is misplaced then your team is instantly under pressure. Short passes can help build up tempo allowing you to disorientate the opposition by disrupting their defensive set up when attacking. Space is the freed up for a decisive forward pass which should allow a shot on goal. Of course maintaining possession by passing means the opposition cannot do anything other then chase the play.
- Shooting from distance should be in every midfielders’ tool box as they have the opportunity to catch the goal keeper off guard particularly if there are other players crowding their line of sight. Players should practice shooting from outside the 18 yard box with both their right and left feet.
We’ll leave tackling for another post.
See Carli Lloyd’s hat trick here: