Academy Coach Course

Cover in the Game

What does Cover look like

In soccer, cover refers to the defensive strategy where a player positions themselves in a way to support a teammate who’s directly challenging an opponent for the ball. This helps to prevent the opposing team from breaking through the defensive lines and limits the space that can be exploited if the first defender gets beaten.

Here are some examples illustrating how the principle of cover operates:

Technical Skills

To effectively implement Cover, players must possess the following technical skills:

Tackling: Defenders must be able to execute tackles effectively without conceding fouls or leaving gaps in the defence.

Interception: The ability to anticipate and intercept opposition passes is crucial for disrupting their attacking flow.

Marking: Players must be able to mark their assigned opposition players effectively and prevent them from receiving or making passes.

Clearing: When necessary, defenders should be able to clear the ball effectively to relieve pressure on the defence.


Effective communication and teamwork are essential for successfully implementing Cover. Players should:

Use verbal cues: Players must communicate their intentions and positions to teammates to coordinate movements and maintain a solid defensive structure.

Employ non-verbal communication: Body language, such as pointing or signaling, can help convey information and synchronize movements on the field.

Be aware of teammates’ positions: Players should have a clear understanding of where their teammates are on the field to make effective decisions and maintain a solid defensive shape.

Develop chemistry: Building a strong rapport and understanding among defenders will improve the fluidity and effectiveness of Defensive Support implementation.

Tactical knowledge players need

To apply Cover effectively, players must develop a strong understanding of the following tactical concepts:

Team shape: Players should understand their assigned positions and responsibilities within the team’s defensive shape.

Pressure: Players should know when and how to apply pressure on the opposition to limit their attacking options.

Cover: Defenders must be able to provide cover and support for their teammates who are trying to win back possession of the ball.

Communication: Effective communication among defenders is essential for maintaining a solid defensive structure.

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