From the inception of soccer, it has been known as a team sport and not a one-man sport like discus, javelin, shot put, long jump, and high jump, to name a few.
Soccer is a sport that involves many players and each player represents their team adequately on the soccer pitch.
In a team sport, one player rarely takes all the glory. That is why during a soccer game, stats on assists, tackles, possession, and so on are collated and displayed on the screen from time to time.
Playing as teammates entails passing the ball among themselves and moving it to the direction of their opponent’s goal post to score a goal. Giving an assist in soccer demands helping fellow teammates in scoring goals, and also working together to retrieve the soccer ball from opponents using numerous tackling and blocking techniques.
In association football and other types of soccer like street soccer, beach soccer, indoor soccer, and futsal, players in a team ought to work together to achieve the main purpose of the game which is scoring the highest number of goals.
Once in a while, we see soccer players take the ball from their half and dribble all the way to the opponent’s half and score a goal. However, that is both physically and mentally draining which is why most goal scorers position themselves strategically for their teammates to pass them the ball so they tap in.
Soccer players in a team ought to watch each other’s backs and always try to offer help when needed. Giving an assist to a fellow teammate to score a goal is one of the most crucial kinds of help you can offer in soccer.
Interestingly, when you give an assist, you are not only helping your teammate to increase their goal tally, you are also helping the entire team to secure crucial points.
Giving assists in soccer has birthed so many awesome goals in the history of soccer. Do you know how, where, and when assists are given in soccer?
We have discussed broadly in this article, what it means to give an assist in soccer, its benefits to a team, and also the different ways soccer players can give an assist.
How to give an assist in soccer?
The soccer player who touches the soccer ball last before their teammate scores a goal is usually awarded the role of the assist behind such goals. The touch from the assist can be in the form of a shot, a cross, or a pass.
In soccer, a pass or cross that leads to a goal is an assist. An assist is made by a soccer player when he or she passes the ball to another soccer player who instantaneously scores a goal.
Whether an assist is intentional or unintentional, it will all be counted. An assist is an easy way of getting recognized in soccer when you are unable to score a goal before the end of a match.
Soccer players who assist in matches are very important in every team because they are constantly after setting up goals from all parts of the field.
When a playing season is over, the number of assists made by each soccer player is usually calculated and at the end of the season, the soccer player that has the highest number of assists gets an award from the club.
When soccer players win awards for their assists, it naturally attracts other soccer players who might be looking for mentors to them. This gives them the needed motivation to perform better thereby increasing their team’s performance and also making the sport more entertaining.
Assist is a new tradition in the world of soccer, it was not taken note of in the past but its importance has grown today. Giving special recognition and awards in appreciation of soccer players with the highest number of assists not only motivates players but also fosters teamwork.
It is not all goals scored that have an assist, if there are no prior touches by a teammate before the ball is shot into the net, then there is no assist. For example, if a player intercepts the ball from the opposing team and goes ahead to score, no assist will be counted.
Although giving assists is not stated in the rules of the game, it is legal and permitted. The way assists are calculated may vary in different leagues based on their rules.
Below are the general instances that count as an assist
- When a soccer player is the last player who crosses or passes the ball to the goal scorer, provided the pass, or contributes to the goal directly
- A received long pass from a goalkeeper that immediately leads to a goal
- A deflected shot if the player that made it was the last player to touch the ball before the player who finally scored received it
- When a team scores a goal from free-kick or penalty, the player who was fouled gets the assist
- A player that draws a handball from the opponent through a cross, pass, or shot will get the assist if the next move (free kick or penalty) leads to a goal.
- The player whose shot was saved, blocked, or hit the woodwork can still get an assist if the ball falls to a teammate that scores or leads to an own goal
A soccer player cannot give an assist to the opponent team—for example, an intercepted bad back pass. A player cannot also be given credit for both assisting and goal scorer even if they dribble from a distance before scoring a goal.
Likewise, if a player is fouled and he or she decides to take the free-kick or penalty and eventually scores, he or she will not get an assist. Rather, they will be credited as the goal scorer.
Situations like that don’t count because assists can only be awarded to a teammate who touched the ball before another player scores a goal.
Assists are equally valid in futsal, indoor soccer, beach soccer, and street soccer. The same rules apply for defining assists in other forms of soccer.
For soccer players to be able to give brilliant assists properly in a game, they need to be grilled on how to do so during their training sections for better results.
Below are some methods that can be implored when training soccer players on how to give great assists in soccer:
An area of 20v20 grid may be used although the size may vary sometimes. The players should be 8 in number, 4 for each team with 2v2 in the middle and 2v2 at the corners of the grid.
The players in the middle play among themselves and also try to play to one of their team’s outlet players, immediately the ball is passed to the outlet player, the players make a switch so that the outlet player either passes or dribbles the ball to their teammate and takes the role of the switched teammate.
The same goes for passing the ball to a player, the player takes the spot of the outlet player and becomes the target player. The defensive team automatically becomes the attackers if they eventually win the ball.
Soccer players learn passing, dribbling, possession, and receiving skills from this method. The skills learned can be applied in soccer matches just like in the case of Lionel Messi being one of the best dribblers in soccer and was even awarded the world best player in the year 2019.
Messi once held a record for the highest number of assists in soccer which was made possible by his exceptional dribbling and passing skills.
This method increases soccer players’ speed, constant movements during training also helps soccer players to learn how to open up to receive balls when crossed. There are also constant passes amongst players, this makes soccer players accurate in rendering passes which is essential in rendering successful assists.
Partnered Passing Method
Partner passing is a drill where soccer players are grouped in twos and have to pass the ball around among themselves. Mastering these drills helps a team to give better passes as well as increases the chances of giving a teammate an assist.
During a partner passing drill session, the soccer team members will practice how to;
- Pass the ball to a teammate while moving around
- Make high passes
- Make one-touch passes into lead space
- Complete two short and two long passes
- Receive the ball and make 3 to 4 speed dribbles in any direction
- Perform a tactical move after receiving a pass
- Turn 180 degrees from the direction the pass was received
Giving assist does not only encompass passing balls, it also involves speed and accuracy applied in a pass or cross. Below are examples of passes soccer players can employ in soccer.
A long pass is used by a soccer player to pass the ball to a teammate that is at another end or part of the field. This pass is used by soccer players to change the direction of play from one part of the pitch to another and is very effective for starting a counterattack when the opposing team is pressing high.
A short pass is used when a soccer player wishes to pass the ball to the closest teammate, it is mostly performed using the inside foot and is the most common pass that is used for an assist in soccer.
Forward pass involves good timing. It is usually used when the player receiving the ball is close to the opponent’s goal post behind the last defender. When such passes are done successfully, it penetrates through the defenders and the receiving player might eventually score a goal.
For a soccer player to give an assist properly, the player must have great vision because performing a pass that can hardly be seen by opponents is an advantage.
Dribbling and Teammate Chemistry Method
Quality dribbling skills and having great team chemistry matters a lot in soccer, it gives soccer players the ability to maneuver through opponents without losing the ball in their possession and also knowing the next move to make to reach the nearest teammate.
This method entails that club teammates know themselves so well to the extent of knowing each teammate’s strengths and weaknesses. This helps them in predicting the possible location of their teammates for better chances of linking passes to them successfully.
Once a soccer player has the ball, especially when he or she is very close to the goalpost of the opponent’s team, the opponents usually surround such players in an attempt to retrieve the ball from them.
To retain the ball, the soccer player can dribble their way out with the ball before giving an assist although a great deal of skill and experience is required to execute this tactic perfectly.
In September 2006, in a Champions League match between Manchester United and Benfica, Christiano Ronaldo did 20 complete dribbles and one of such dribbles led to him giving an assist to his teammate Louis Saha who eventually scored a goal.
Having good dribbling skills creates chances for teammates as it helps them to get away from opponents, open up, and perform an accurate key pass to the closest teammate.
Soccer players should always practice and improve on their dribbling skills so they can have flexibility in giving assists when blocked by an opponent player.
Assists are essential in soccer as they make up a vital part of goal scoring in the sport. Assists when carried out carefully with precision often give more joy to soccer fans than the goal scored.
Carrying out assists shows a level of teamwork and selflessness, it makes soccer players know their different capabilities and also work together to uphold the glory to their team. Soccer players who constantly set up goal-scoring chances by giving smart assists are often given the credit for doing so.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!