What are build out lines? Lines that are 20-30 yards out on the field, where the opponent must retreat to when the ball is caught by the GK or a goal kick is awarded. 

Once the ball is played by the GK (thrown to a teammate or dropped and played with their feet) the opposing players can rush back in over the build out line. 

There lines were created to help players learn how to build the ball out of the back instead of kicking it long.

Assign one player to be the spy. He/she watches the GK and tries to anticipate where the Gk is going to play the ball.

Once the ball is played the teammates key off the spy and support the spy to try to steal the ball back. The teammates hang back until the spy makes his/her move.

The GK carries the ball with their hands to the corner of the penalty box and rolls the ball to a teammate who is supporting  near the side line.

The teammate gives support before the build out line with enough room to turn up field with the ball before being challenged by the opponent.

After the GK rolls the ball make sure they retreat back to the goal facing the play (running backwards).

Preferred option to use

After the offensive players retreat to the build out line and the GK plays the ball. The offensive players can rush towards the GK.

Force the GK to play the ball with their week foot (most likely the left foot). Over play the GK making them have to play the ball with their weak foot.

The teammates should be aware of where the rushing forward is going to force the GK.

Options for the build out lines

The GK carries the ball To the PK spot and rolls the ball in front of them towards the top of the penalty box.

The GK runs on to the ball and kicks it to the outside flanks to a teammate up field.

The minute the GK drops the ball to the ground they are a field player and the opponents can approach from the build out line.

Use this option with a good skilled GK.


Giving players options when playing with the build out lines is important but information overload can cause mass confusion for this age group. I have listed 3 simple options for the goal keeper, defenders & offensive players.

The defenders need to give support to the GK. Here are three different options when staying wide near the sideline.

1-One time clear by the defender when the ball is rolled to them. Their body needs to be turned in order to strike the ball up field.

2-First touch up field and continue dribbling up the flank if the space is open.

3-Pass to a teammate who is supporting in the middle of the field. Be careful with this pass as the receiving player should be near mid field in case the pass is not completed. You don't want this pass intercepted in your defensive third of the field.


Offensive Players

The GK carries the ball To the PK spot and rolls it to a teammate who is supporting them just inside the build out line.

The GK rolls the ball to the teammate who passes the ball back to the GK who kicks the moving ball up field to the flanks.

The moving ball could help get more distance on the kick. There are definite risks involved with this play for this age group: 

  • Receiving the ball cleanly 
  • Passing the ball back with the right pace
  • The one time kick by the GK

Use this option when your team is under constant pressure and cannot get the ball over midfield consistently

After the offensive players retreat to the build out line, let the GK play the ball to one of the outside defenders. As soon as the ball is played 2-3 offensive players rush to this defender trying to cut off any passing lanes and forcing them to panic.

This is a good lesson for this age group if you intend to play a high pressure game as they get older.

GK Roll