So… You’re a fullback, BUT… You want to be a MODERN fullback. Todays featured player is modern day fullback @rileythree. What a journey she has had! Played locally in LA, went to Stanford, played in the WPS before it folded (rookie of the year 2010), played in Sweden at FC Rosengård,(became fluent in Swedish), Chelsea, Bayern Munich and now back Stateside with Orlando Pride. Four World Cups with New Zealand and is on track to appear at her fourth Olympics as well. Not too shabby at all.
Let’s talk about what you need in your skill set:
THE BASE OF A GREAT FULL BACK MUST BE THAT THEY ARE A SOLID 1V1 DEFENDER, THIS IS THE ESSENTIAL FOUNDATION. THIS MEANS, STANDING PLAYERS UP WHEN THEY ARE DRIBBLING AT YOU, FRONT FOOT TACKLES, STRONG IN DUELS, GOOD BALL WINNER AND CAN TRACK RUNNERS IN BEHIND THEM. SO TO BE CONSIDERED A GOOD OUTSIDE BACK YOU NEED TO BE ROCK SOLID IN THE ABOVE QUALITIES.
YOU HAVE TO HAVE COMPOSURE ON THE BALL. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, KNOW WHAT SPACE YOU WANT TO EXPLOIT. TECHNICALLY, YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO SERVE THE BALL WITH BOTH FEET INTO PLAYERS FEET AND INTO THE BOX, AS ALWAYS, YOU NEED CONFIDENT FOOTWORK, AND A GREAT FIRST TOUCH (BOTH PROGRESSIVE AND STATIC). YOU NEED THE ABILITY TO NOT JUST CLEAR THE BALL, BUT TO BE ABLE TO STRIKE THE BALL WITH TEXTURE, 25+ YARDS.
COMBINING WITH YOUR OUTSIDE MIDFIELDER, OVERLAPS, EARLY CROSSES AND STRIKES ON GOAL ARE WHAT OUTSIDE BACKS PLAYING AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL PROVIDES FOR A TEAM ON ATTACK. DID YOU SEE KELLEY O’HARA WIN THE PENALTY FOR THE USWNT AGAINST SWEDEN?
YOU HAVE TO HAVE A DEEP UNDERSTAND OF BOTH THE DEFENSIVE AND OFFENSIVE SIDE OF THE GAME. THE MODERN DAY FULL BACK IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF BOTH ATTACK AND DEFENSE! IS YOUR WINGER OR CENTER BACK OUT OF POSITION? YOU NEED TO COVER FOR THEM, AND KNOW THEIR ROLES EXACTLY!
PLAYING ON THE FLANK IS LIKE BEING A 100 METER SPRINTER AT TIMES. UP AND DOWN WITH VARIOUS LINEAR SPRINTS OF ANYWHERE FROM 5 YARDS TO 100 ON ANY GIVEN PLAY. YOU CAN HAVE ALL THE SKILLS AND ATTRIBUTES OF A GREAT FULL BACK BUT IF YOU CAN'T KEEP YOUR CONDITIONING AT THE LEVEL NECESSARY FOR 90MINUTES, YOU WILL NOT MAKE THE IMPACT DESIRED