Assist

Sport: Soccer

An assist is given to the player who passes the ball to the scorer of a goal. The final pass can be either intentional or unintentional; it is still declared an assist.

Assists can be just as important as a goal and are recorded to show how creative certain players are. A player with many assists is known as a ‘playmaker’ as they create goal-scoring opportunities for their teammates. 

What if the ball touches a defender?

When a player passes to the goal scorer and the ball strikes a defender before the goal is scored, this is still given as an assist as long as possession of the ball isn’t lost. The most important thing is whoever played the last pass before a goal is given the assist.

Is winning a penalty given as an assist?

‘Winning a penalty kick’ means that the player who was fouled was the last to touch the ball before a goal was scored. This is not always given as an assist but can be, depending on the league or football association.

Why are assists recorded?

Assists are not part of the rules in soccer but have become an important statistic in the sport. Originally an assist wasn’t regarded as an official stat in a soccer match but was soon recognized and recorded by FIFA and is now used for many reasons.

Nowadays in soccer, there is a league table for players with assists and an award or trophy can be given to the player who registers the most assist throughout a league campaign. Assists are also useful for teams wanting to buy a creative player during the transfer window. Buying teams often look at how many goals and assists a player has before they complete the transfer.

Can a player assist themselves?

A player can’t score a goal and claim an assist themselves. The assist will always be awarded to the player who last passed or touched the ball. This is also the same for free kicks and penalty kicks, for example, the if goal scorer wins the foul for these direct kicks and scores the resulting kick, the assist is still given to the player who made the last pass.

What position provides the most assists?

Every position in soccer can provide and assist, including defensive players, attacking wingbacks, and goalkeepers. However certain positions provide assists more often throughout a match or league campaign. Usually, these are the attacking players such as wingers and forwards. In recent years players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have led the way in assists as well as goals.

What skills are needed when providing an assist? 

In soccer, assists don’t always need skill and technique as they can come from all positions on the pitch. However, there are some skills and attributes needed when players provide an assist in difficult situations. For a player to successfully assist a teammate they need to be aware of where their teammates and opponents are.

  • Firstly, a player must have good vision when in control of the ball. This requires the ability to see a pass that the opposition team might not see or be ready for. This also means understanding their teammate’s movement and position on the pitch.
  • Secondly, and maybe the most important skill is that a player must be a good passer of the ball. The last pass to a goal-scoring teammate is what is recorded as an assist so the ball must be perfectly played into the goal scorer’s feet or body. This means getting the speed, accuracy, and distance right.
  • Finally, creativity allows a player to unlock a defense and find their teammate in a tight area or difficult part of the pitch. Sometimes players need to try and make space before providing an assist so they must create this space by using different creative skills.

 

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