Graham,

You’d be one to answer this conundrum: My HS varsity squad got knocked out of the State Tourney as the #1 seed earlier than expected. Over the past three years we’ve won once and lost early twice. Both times we lost the other team man-marked us so tight our boys were unable to get anything going. I’ve done some work with them such as playing 5v5 games were you could only tackle your mark, etc.
But to no avail we just can’t seem to get past eight players man marking our players. We often go right through a lot of teams, we were #1 for two years running until we lost this game and it’s a bit frustrating that this strategy works so well against us. Any past experience you have that I can draw on?

Christian

Christian,
There are a number of answers. One skillful whereas the other is effective rather than beautiful.
(1) Quick Passing. Keep the ball moving and wear down the opposition. Physical teams like to hit with tackles so let them chase the ball. Slow play and tackles feeds aggressive teams.
(2) Play the ball behind their backline and push up on them. give them their own medicine. Do this for the first 15 minutes and then play your game.
Good Luck,
Graham

Graham Ramsay: Director of Soccer Sphere, a soccer educational and marketing company based near Washington, DC, is also the former Director of Soccer Development for the Maryland State Soccer Association with nearly 20 years of service to the youth in that state . Graham was one of the first National Staff Coaches for US SOCCER and instructed my “C” licensing course in Maryland this past summer .Read some of his articles