Defensive Soccer Skills: Anticipating & Intercepting the Pass

Perhaps one of the most challenging and rewarding defensive tasks is pass interception. Becky Sauerbrunn of the U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team gives tips on how to make the move.

Intercepting a pass takes the ability to anticipate, read the play and keep the receiving player guessing. All of that takes time and practice to learn, and takes careful thought to apply in a game situation.

BE ELUSIVE

Keep a slight distance between yourself and the attacker so that they don’t know exactly where you are. This way, when the ball gets played to the attacker, you can step in front of them from either direction.

When you advance, use your body to make sure the attacker can’t get the pass before you, allowing you to sweep in front of the player for the ball. You can even use a little arm movement to shield the opposing player behind you as well. This isn’t illegal. You’re not hitting the other player or grabbing onto them — just keeping them at arm’s length so they stay behind you.

Using these defending tips can help you master pass interception and help your team take the win on game day.