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How to Build a Soccer Wall

By Steve Anderson

During a soccer match one of your teammates commits a foul outside your team's penalty box but within about 30 yards from your goal. The ref awards the other team a direct free kick--a direct shot at goal. Building a wall is your best defensive strategy. A line of your players standing shoulder to shoulder can block much of the goal from view and frustrate the free kick taker. The trick is getting it organized, and quick.

Your Goalkeeper Leads You in Setting Up the Wall

The goalkeeper shouts out the number of players needed for the wall. The number of players in the wall depends on the distance from goal; more players will form the wall if the free kick is taken closer to the goal.

Get players in a line fast, placing them between the dead ball and the goal--about ten yards or less from the ball. It's okay to line up closer to the ball--it's the ref's job to count out ten yards. Use midfielders in the wall so defenders are free for marking opposing players.

Move the wall left or right as the goalkeeper gauges his angles and shouts out your positioning. Let one player in the wall pass on the goalkeeper's commands to the others so that the info is clear. The players forming the wall should be tightly packed together, with shoulders touching.

Since your wall can be no closer than ten yards from the dead ball, the referee might make you step backward to allow for more space. Reset the wall left or right according to the goalkeeper. Remember to keep tight, shoulder to shoulder.

Opposing players may try and mix in with the wall to block the goalkeeper's view and confuse your defenders. Another reason to keep your shoulders tight is so that they can't squeeze in.

The ref will whistle when it's okay for the opposing attacker to take the free kick, but don't move until the attacker actually kicks the ball--and the shot passes or hits your wall. Rush the ball before the ball's kicked and the ref will start over. Jump at the shot and the ball might pass under your jumping feet and fool the goalkeeper. The idea is to cut off as much angle between the free kick taker and the goal until the very last second.

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