Controlling the Pitch With the Kansas City Wizards

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To manipulate the outcome of a soccer match, it's all about "how well you keep possession and take care of the ball during the game," says David Tenney, former assistant coach of the Kansas City Wizards. That's "the deciding factor for most teams."

Passing, dribbling and foot skills all play important roles in controlling the game. Tenney offers these tips to keep the ball away from opponents and bury it in the back of the old onion bag.

• Keep your head up and look for open passing lanes and gaps in the defense
• Lead your teammate into open space with a pass in order to get full acceleration on attacking opponents
• Accelerate out of foot-skill movements to get past your opponent and advance the play
• Pass the ball in all directions—even back to defenders—to regroup and keep possession

• Keep your back to the attack goal when controlling the ball; it will take away passing options
• Flash your fancy footwork when being covered by two opponents; pass the ball to the open teammate
• Make long passes on the ground; work on long crossing passes in the air

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