If you can’t bend it like Beckham, but still have your sights set on a soccer scholarship to one of the country’s top programs, you’d better be able to run like Ronaldo or Rooney.
OK, maybe comparing yourself to the game’s elite players is a bit of a stretch, but to earn a spot on a top-tier college roster, you need quick feet and an agile body.
Barry Kagan, S+C coach for the defending men’s champion Maryland Terrapins, believes that quickness trumps linear speed when it comes to soccer. “The game of soccer is built around a lot of short, intense bursts, followed by slow jogs and walks,” Kagan says. “The purpose of agility training is not to take big steps in a different direction. It’s about quick, powerful steps to help alter your direction and maintain your balance and in a small space.”
To work on quick footwork—and to warm up before a match—the Terrapins perform the Closed-Area Acceleration Drill.
Closed-Area Acceleration Drill
• Create rectangular area 10×14 yards, with 14 players in box
• Jog around for 15 seconds; then, at coach’s whistle, accelerate for 7 seconds without running into teammates; perform for 60 seconds
Coaching Points: Use explosive moves // Get hips low when making cuts // Incorporate tagging, shirt grabbing and more players to increase difficulty
Sets/Reps: 2×60 seconds