If you’re new to soccer, you may be wondering what is a forced turnover in soccer.
Now if you are familiar with American Football and Basketball.
You will know that the last thing you want to do.
Is turn the ball over.
And while the consequences aren’t always severe in soccer when turning it over.
As compared to the likes of American Football.
Where the other team could score a touchdown off the back of an error.
In soccer, it can still have a drastic impact on the outcome.
As a result, it’s important for anyone playing or watching to understand the concept.
So if you are wondering what exactly a Forced Turnover is?
How to identify them?
And if you are looking to be a player yourself, how to prevent them?
Well, you have come to the right place, as I will go through everything you need to know in this post.
Table of Contents
Definition of forced turnover in soccer
A forced turnover in soccer is all about regaining possession.
Essentially you are forcing the opposing team to give you the ball.
Now I am not talking about getting in their faces.
Or hacking them down.
I am talking about pulling of interceptions and tackles, that will retrieve the ball for your side.
So you can either pass backwards or forward to build an attack of your own.
In many ways, it’s similar to the NFL interception in which a team can be forced to turn the ball over.
Whenever a QB is forced into a hurried pass.
That results in an interception.
It’s normally because of good tactics, players pressing and communication.
That leads to them giving the ball to the other team.
Well in soccer, it’s very similar.
In that teams will use certain tactics, and give players specific instructions to close down player X.
All in order to make them either make a mistake themselves.
Or to tackle/intercept them to take the ball off them.
I guess the only difference between the two sports.
Is that unlike in NFL, a soccer game keeps going, with a team often looking to create a counterattack?
As opposed to the switching of sides and a TV timeout.
Factors leading to forced turnover
There are many factors that can lead to a forced turnover.
To give you one, if you put your goalkeeper or your coach in midfield.
Chances are they get forced into many turnovers due to not being comfortable in that position.
But with all jokes aside.
A turnover will come from defensive pressure and tactics.
Whenever a ball is overturned.
And it had nothing to do with the attacking player making a mistake.
It is because they have been closed down or been outnumbered (e.g 2:1).
In the world of soccer, some teams as well as players too.
Are really good at doing this.
Example 1: Applying Lots Of Pressure
For instance, Manchester City who are dubbed as one of the best teams in the world.
Will relentlessly pressure their opponents giving not a second on the ball.
Often doubling up too.
This explains why the side often averages around 11.6 per defensive action in the Premier League.
They will get at their opponents taking the ball off their feet.
Whether that be through a tackle or interception, and start to dominate the game.
Example 2: Surface Conditions
The surface you are playing on can also come into play.
Different surfaces and conditions make it harder to keep hold of the ball than others.
For instance, if you are playing in the snow.
(Hopefully, you never get put in that situation as its not pleasant!)
A player may struggle to get control of the ball.
Especially if the ball isn’t moving with consistency across the ground.
So as a result just the slightest pressure on a snowy pitch or day, can lead to forced turnovers.
As that margin for error is much smaller.
But on the other hand, if you play on a slick pitch which is huge.
Then the chances of turnovers may be far less.
Mainly because players will have more time on the ball.
Plus a team may not always be on your tail, due to the physical demands of running around a huge pitch.
This is something I experienced massively when I first went from 6 a side at 10 years old.
To 11 a side at 11 years old.
Having so much time on the ball, compared to before was a shock to the system.
Impact of forced turnover on the game
I think it goes without saying.
Ideally, you don’t want to turn over a ball in a soccer game.
Just like how Tom Brady wouldn’t want to put the ball straight into Jalen Ramsey’s hands.
The implications of a forced turnover can be huge.
In fact, I have seen occasions where it has decided games.
To give you an example here is a brutal one on Japan in the 2018 World Cup where a turnover from a corner.
Led to a winning goal in the dying seconds of a knockout game.
Now what that video above does a great job of displaying.
Is the flow and momentum of a forced turnover.
From a Japanese player having the ball at the corner, they were in control of the game.
However, as soon as he kicked this straight into the arms of Courtois.
It changed the momentum and sent Belgium on a devastating counterattack spearheaded by Kevin De-Bruyne.
Now this can happen anywhere on the pitch and result in the same result.
For instance, if a midfielder is hanging on to the ball too long near the halfway line.
Before being tackled by a defender.
Then that could spring a goalscoring attack.
It is worth saying though that not only does the ball turnover multiple times in Soccer.
Far more than in NFL.
Not every forced turnover results in a goal.
If that were the case, then you would be seeing some pretty huge scorelines.
Along with very tired players.
But when you do have a turnover.
It can change the momentum to be quicker than usual.
Due to everyone being out of position.
This sudden change causes urgency and excitement.
As both teams scramble for the ball and make chances to score.
If no team recovers from this, you can quickly have a case of two teams constantly going at each other.
Because the structure has gone.
This can be great for a spectator.
After all, it’s exciting but for managers and keepers, it can be a nightmare.
Techniques and skills to force turnovers
While some players and teams will be happy to sit back and wait for teams to make turnovers by themselves.
For example, teams like Mourinho who famously started the ‘Park The Bus’ wave played very defensively and with 5 at the back.
You will want to employ various strategies if you want to force turnovers.
How to do this?
- Intercepting passes
- Blocking passing lanes
- Anticipating player movements
- Being physical
These are all tactics that can help gain possession.
And force those unwanted turnovers by your opposition
Communication between teammates is also essential for a successful turnover.
As coordinating efforts to disrupt opponents’ play can give teams an edge.
Such as telling Player X to close from this angle.
And player Y to block off this pass.
Just as an example.
Examples of effectively forced turnovers in soccer
Now talking of examples let’s have a look at some of the most popular game-changing turnover techniques:
- Interception: The first way is by anticipating an opposing player’s pass, by intercepting it. This of course is easier said than done, but if you are aware and anticipate the timing of the player, you can steal the ball from them.
- Tackling: Players such as NGolo Kante make this look so easy! The art of tackling is a great way to take the ball off someone, in order to retain it for your own side. Now in order to do this fairly without fouling or injuring an opponent you will need proper technique, agility, and timing. Or you can just get Kante on your side to do it for you!
- Pressing: Pressing is a team effort to force turnovers in certain areas. A tactic that Guardiola will know all too well, will put pressure on your opponents to make them turn over the ball.
Now applying these strategies at certain times in the game can really shift the pendulum in your side’s favor.
In order to do each of the above you will need:
Skill, tactical awareness, and team coordination.
Let’s not forget that individual brilliance can also cause effective forced turnovers.
That’s why some teams are so good at forcing turnovers.
Not only are they well organized with the right tactics and great communication.
But they include players who are very good at tackling, pressing and intercepting.
Making the job of forced turnovers easier.
Strategies to prevent or minimize forced turnovers
While teams are working out how to force those turnovers.
Others are trying to find the best strategies in order to prevent them.
As after all the less you can give the team the ball.
The fewer opportunities they will have to score.
Here are some of the best ones:
- Positioning: Players must be aware of their environment and predict opponents’ movements. This helps avoid losing possession.
- Quick decision-making: Not spending too much time on the ball and choosing the best pass can accurately reduce the chance of losing the ball.
- Communication: Saying terms like ‘man on’ and communicating to teammates effectively can help them to make the right decisions.
- Skill development: Improving ball control, dribbling, and passing lessens forced turnovers. It also increases team performance.
These strategies are essential for success in the field. Teams need to practice them consistently.
Teamwork, discipline, and practice will aid in defence against turnovers.
Conclusion: The importance of forced turnovers in soccer and their impact on the game.
Forced turnovers can win a game.
But also makes a team lose a game.
This is why it’s so important that is addressed, for any team to thrive.
When a team takes the ball from their opponent, it gives them a chance to attack or stay in control.
Which depends on the team.
They may not need too many of these opportunities to punish you.
Just look at the likes of PSG, Bayern Munich and Man City.
Who are the masters of this.
So at the end of the day, it’s all about looking after the ball when in possession to help the team get a result in the game.
It’s not just winning the ball off a defender that is important.
As there is also the mental side of it too.
It can bolster the defending team’s confidence when they win the ball with also added momentum as a result.
While the attacking team loses both of them.
But this can also work conversely.
As in if a team stops forced turnovers they start to gain more confidence that they can get a result.
With the other side, thinking they’re in for a tough game.
So in conclusion, forced turnovers have a big impact on the tactical and psychological aspects of a football game.
Being able to understand and implement these dynamics can play a huge role in a team’s success.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a forced turnover in soccer?
A forced turnover in soccer occurs when a team loses possession of the ball due to a defensive play made by the opposing team. This could be a result of a tackle, interception, or a block that prevents the team from maintaining control of the ball.
2. How is a forced turnover different from an unforced turnover?
A forced turnover is a result of the opposing team’s defensive efforts, while an unforced turnover is when a team loses possession of the ball due to their own mistake or error. In a forced turnover, the opposing team actively disrupts the possession, whereas in an unforced turnover, the team loses the ball due to a mishap or misplay.
3. Can a forced turnover lead to a goal?
Yes, a forced turnover can potentially lead to a goal. When a team successfully forces a turnover, they often have a prime opportunity to launch a counter-attack and exploit the disorganized defence of the opposing team. This can create goal-scoring chances and increase the likelihood of scoring.
4. How can a team increase their forced turnovers?
Teams can increase their forced turnovers by employing effective defensive strategies and pressing tactics. This involves putting pressure on the opposing team’s ball carrier and forcing them into uncomfortable situations. It requires good positioning, anticipation, and aggressive play to win the ball back through forced turnovers.
5. Can individual players be credited for a forced turnover?
Yes, individual players can be credited for a forced turnover. Defenders who make successful tackles, intercept passes, or block shots contribute to forcing turnovers. These defensive actions often require skill, timing, and technique, and players who excel in these aspects are often recognized for their ability to force turnovers.
6. Is a forced turnover considered a positive outcome in soccer?
Yes, a forced turnover is generally considered a positive outcome in soccer. It allows the team to gain possession of the ball and regain control of the game. By disrupting the opponent’s attack and transitioning to offence quickly, teams can create scoring opportunities and gain a competitive advantage.