Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Intelligent Crossing
May 31st, 2007 4:17PM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls, youth boys

MOST COMMENTED

By Claudio Reyna

One reason so many crosses don't end up producing a scoring chance is because players too often send them in blindly. They figure that if they're on the wing, just whip the ball into the middle.

Even in the pros, you see this time after time. A player moves down the wing and launches a cross even if there are no teammates in front of the goal. If you haven't got a forward waiting for the cross, then you've got to look for other options, like turning back and looking for a midfielder.

In other instances, when teammates are moving in for a cross, the crosser hammers a ball without aiming. A cross is still a pass, and the most dangerous ones are those that fly into the path of a teammate.

A lot of coaches say, "Whip it in with pace! Whip it into the mixer." I had plenty tell me that growing up, and I could never understand it. A cross that's "whipped" usually flies at one height, it might even knuckle, and it's hard for the forward. The only chance of scoring on a cross like that is to deflect it in. That happens sometimes, but the crosses that forwards thrive on are the ones dropped into their paths.

Crossing is getting the ball to a teammate or finding a space the players are moving into. It's not hammering a ball across the field and hoping for the best.

Look at David Beckham. In England, TV commentators like to say he whips his crosses in. He might, every once in a while, whip one in, but if you watch him closely you'll notice that on the majority of his passes he looks for a teammate. Then he lofts the ball so it curves into the space his teammate is moving into.

When we did crossing drills at Glasgow Rangers with Coach Dick Advocaat, he always emphasized technique over speed. He wanted us to "measure" the crosses. He wanted the crossers to concentrate on getting their balls to arrive at just the right time to meet the forward.

When you whip a ball in, it might arrive a half-second earlier, but it's more difficult to deal with than with a measured ball that's curling away from the goal so the attackers can climb for it. Timing is crucial for the crosser and the players making their runs in the middle.

A good rule of thumb when you're running toward the goal in hopes of meeting a cross is better late than early. If you run by the ball, you've got no chance of going back and attacking the ball again. But it's possible to make up ground when you're running forward.

The best place to send your cross is the zone between the edge of the goal area - six yards from the goal line - and the penalty spot. That's far enough from the goalkeeper and close enough for a scoring chance. Of course, success depends on good technique, and that's just a matter of practicing the striking of the ball, which no player can do enough of.

(Excerpted from "More Than Goals: The Journey from Backyard Games to World Cup Competition" by Claudio Reyna with Mike Woitalla courtesy of Human Kinetics.)

New York Red Bulls captain Claudio Reyna played nearly 13 years in the top-tier leagues of Germany (Bayer Leverkusen, VfL Wolfsburg), Scotland (Glasgow Rangers) and England (Sunderland, Manchester City) before returning to his native New Jersey this year to play in Major League Soccer. He represented the USA in four World Cups, and captained the Americans to a quarterfinal run at the 2002 World Cup, where he became the first American selected to the FIFA World Cup all-star team.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Beware of referee fatigue    
Much has been written in the media about player fatigue, whether it's professional teams playing three ...
Galaxy coach Brian Kleiban has the American Messi's back    
Growing up in Southern California, the son of Argentine parents, Brian Kleiban admired Fernando Redondo, Ariel ...
Tab Ramos on 2017 Development Academy finals and Mexican-American tug of war    
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy concluded its 10th season last weekend, with the Texans SC Houston ...
Efrain Alvarez, age 15, helps shoot Galaxy into U-17/18 Development Academy final    
Efrain Alvarez, who turned 15 on June 19, sparked the Los Angeles Galaxy's comeback against the ...
Texans SC Houston are only non-MLS club at this weekend's Development Academy championships    
Texans SC Houston, which beat Real So Cal, 2-0, in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-17/18 ...
The Road to 10,000 Games (Part 2): How I'll commemorate the milestone game    
In my last article, I wrote about some highs and lows in officiating thousands of soccer ...
USA to face host India, Ghana and Colombia at U-17 World Cup     
The USA was drawn into Group A for the boys 2017 U-17 World Cup and will ...
The Road to 10,000 Games     
It has been said that a referee never has a home game. But this is negative ...
A coach's life: Phil Savitz, NSCAA High School Coach of the Year, South Carolina legend, big Bruce Arena fan    
Phil Savitz has coached boys high school soccer for 37 years and serves as the Girls ...
Development Academy: Only FC Dallas has a chance to return to final four    
Only one team that reached the semifinals of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy national championship in ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives