Enerex - U-17 defending - Juliano Campedelli

Team training ideas presented by Enerex: Defensive Organization (with Transition)

In preparation for your team's return to the pitch, our MLS Academy coaches are teaming up with Enerex to provide training drills to learn during your time at home.

Today we hear from MLS Academy U-17 head coach Rich Fagan.

Moment/Phase: Defensive Organization – Set Defense


Defensive Organization (with Transition) – 3v2 Dely.  

Player Numbers: 

12 to 16. This example uses a squad of 18 players (16 outfield +2 GKs). The is exercise is physically demanding, if you have less than 16 outfield players I suggest reducing the dimensions of the playing area & consider removing the goalkeepers (use pugg goals). 


Balls, bibs, cones, goals (large or pugg goals).


The size of the playing area will depend on the number of players. This example uses a 50x30m playing area split in half. Two balanced teams including goalkeepers separated as per the diagram. 


  • Player starts & re-starts with the attacking GK playing out to either attacking pair (blue) against one defender (red). The receiving attacker drives forward with ball supported by a teammate (2v1). 
  • Once attackers cross halfway a recovering defender is released to help (2v2). 
  • Attackers can score at any time in attacking half - play continues until goal is scored. 
  • If possession is lost or the defending GK makes a save holding onto the ball, once possession is secure a 3rd red can join the transition to attack (3v2). 
  • OR If a goal is scored OR the ball goes out of play, immediately a 3rd red player drives into the area with a ball to create a transition to attack (3v2). 
  • Blue must now react, recover & become defenders. 
  • Once both attacks have taken place players rotate around the area & the attacking Goalkeeper (blue) restarts the activity. After a set time switch the teams over to experience both scenarios.

Objectives/Tactical Expectations:

  • 1st defender must force while delaying opponent
  • Try to make the 2v1 a 1v1 in favour of the defender
  • Recovering defender MUST WORK HARD TO RECOVER
  • Never turn back to ball
  • Maintain a high level of controlled aggression/intensity
  • Key points: prevent forward passes, press when you can, block passing lanes, cover closest player.

For more Team Training Ideas presented by Enerex, visit whitecapsfc.com/trainingideas.