Develop the Effectiveness of Defending with a Sweeper

The sweeper/stopper method of defending is a popular defensive system in youth soccer. The role of a sweeper is given to a player that plays behind the line of defenders. It is that player’s duty to cover the space behind the defense and in front of the keeper, and sweep across to remove the danger of the opponent’s attacks. As with all tactical plans, it is dependent on the strength of the players involved. Here are three drills to help develop the effectiveness of defending with a sweeper.

Organisation: 2 v 3 + GK

Servers feed strikers, defending team attempt to get the ball to target

Playing Area:  ½ pitch

Focus on:

  • Starting position of Sweeper 
  • Markers to mark outside
  • Communication
  • Decision making
Sweeper 1.png

Organisation: 10 v 6

Defending team attempt to win ball and pass to target striker (CF)

Playing Area:  ¾ pitch

Focus on :

  • Wing Backs to force the ball inside
  • MF Sweeper - to be between ball and goal / provide cover  to MF
  • MF to make play predictable
Sweeper 2.png

Organisation: 11 v 11

Playing Area: Full pitch

Focus on:

  • 1st Striker forcing play one side
  • 2nd Striker drop into MF
  • Attempt to force attacking team to play long
Sweeper 3.png