Author page: Adam Heskett

A Goalie’s Guide to Winning the Lev Yashin Award

“What kind of a goalkeeper is the one who is not tormented by the goal he has allowed? He must be tormented! And if he is calm, that means the end. No matter what he had in the past, he has no future.” – Lev Yashin

So often while watching a game you take for granted the goalie’s importance on the field. He is usually overshadowed by flashier players running up and down the field. The only time he is recognized is when he makes a great save, or alternatively, when he lets one in. A goalie isn’t recognized for everything else he does while everyone else’s focus is on the ball. A great goalie is a general, a chess master, and an acrobatic all wrapped into one. Lev Yashin is arguably the greatest goalkeeper in soccer history. In his entire twenty-two years with Dynamo Moscow, The Black Spider (as he was known as) saved more than 150 penalties. That’s more than any other professional player. It is also the reason the award for best goalkeeper in a World Cup bears his name.

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It’s all in the Numbers: Soccer Formations

“Every disadvantage had got its advantage.”

– Johan Cruyff, legendary Dutch player

Ten Players. You have ten teammates (plus a goalkeeper). With those ten people, you can have countless formations when placing players in the attacking third, middle third, and defensive third. So many, in fact, that to list them all and each of their benefits and weaknesses would become an anthology onto itself.  Some are obviously poor choices reserved for unbridled children playing in an impromtu game like sending all ten players to the forward to attack the goal (note: never happens), or on the flip side, keeping all ten players in the backfield (also, never happens). This article will stick with the more common formations you’ll run into on a game-by-game basis.

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How to volley like Zizou

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” – Roy Keane

Pick any particular game on TV or online and you’re going to witness at least one form of volley: A full volley, a half volley, a side volley, or the rare but unparalleled flying volley. Most times they’ll fail. But no matter what the outcome, it’s the risk involved that usually gets the fans behind the player who’s willing to attempt such a difficult maneuver.

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Passing Fundamentals: Bend it Like Pirlo…and that guy named Beckham

Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and of making yourself available to receive a pass. It is terribly simple.

Bill Shankly

AC Milan’s Andrea Pirlo is currently the one of the most creative passers in the world. His highlights found all over the internet are a testament to this. One forgets that his teammate, a cultural soccer icon, David Beckham lifted the term “to bend the ball” into the everyday lexicon because of his great passing skills. There’s been movies written about it. Together, they represent the past and the future of passing.

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Fundamental Soccer Strategies of the Stars

“I don’t believe there is such a thing as a ‘born’ soccer player. Perhaps you are born with certain skills and talents, but quite frankly it seems impossible to me that one is actually born to be an ace soccer player.” – Pele

So you think you’ve got the dribbling skills to nutmeg the best? Your bicycle kick wows all of your friends? Think of yourself as the second coming of Lionel Messi? All these showboat moves mean nothing unless you know the basics fundamentals of soccer.

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Ronaldo’s Dribbling Secrets

“Every time I went away I was deceiving my mum. I’d tell her I was going to school but I’d be out on the street playing football. I always had a ball on my feet.” – Ronaldo

A skilled dribbler like Ronaldo can destroy even the best-organized defenses and embarrass opponents with slick footwork and improvisation. His perfected technique, combined with strength, control, speed, and awareness of other players on the field make him an masterful dribbler that leaves his fans in awe.

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