Soccer continues to grow in popularity in the United States especially amongst the younger generation. But I have found that very few Americans really know much about the tactics that big time teams use during their games. We all know about shotguns, pistol, and spread formations but very few can identify a 4-2-3-1 formation and its plusses and minuses. The False 9 app, a universal free app that runs on iOS 6.0 or later, provides a breakdown of a number of key strategies utilized by the major teams today.
First a bit about the name. Traditionally soccer players who started the games were numbered from 1-11 starting with the goalkeeper at number 1. The number 9 player was traditionally the striker or chief goal scoring threat and when his team was attacking the opponents goal he was stationed closest to the scoring area in front of the net.
When Pep Guardiola became the coach of Barcelona, he used Lionel Messi, the most prolific goal scorer in recent years, in a different role. Messi, Barcelona's 9 went deeper, away from the goal and picked up the ball further down the field and then attacked. So he was no longer the "true" number 9 and became known at the "false" 9 and soccer has not been the same since.
Now lets look at what's available inside The False 9. You will find a focus on the top European club teams such as Arsenal, Manchester United and City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, etc. Under each club the app goes into detail, some written and some by using videos to explore certain tactics and strategies used by that club along with stories about what is happening with that club right now.
For example, with Real Madrid users will see a discussion with team manager Manual Pelligrini about his tactics along with a description of the rivalry between Real and Barcelona that dates back to the Spanish Civil War in the 30's.
One of the sections is labeled Football Tactics for Beginners and is full of articles and videos that breakdown a variety of formations, how some teams started using three primary defenders instead of the traditional four, and three segments on How to Watch Football and what spectators should be looking at during the game in addition to following the ball up and down the pitch.
I started following soccer much more closely when I worked in the UK in the late 90's and have followed the English Premier League and European competitions closely ever since. So my understanding of the game was fair to good compared to other Americans but I learned a great deal more from reading the articles and watching the videos on The False 9 app. I highly recommend it as a download if you want to learn more about the game your kids and grandkids are playing.