What is a Soccer Overlap Run?

What is a Soccer Overlap Run?

A soccer overlap run is a technique used by teams to create scoring opportunities by moving without the ball.

An overlap is when a player runs around and beyond the player in possession, creating a 2v1 situation for the player in possession.

The goal of this is to pull opponents away from the player in possession and to gain crossing or shooting opportunities. 

These types of runs require a high level of coordination and communication between teammates.

It is important for players to understand when and where to make overlapping runs, as well as how to time their runs to avoid being caught offside. This article will address these topics!

The Basics

What is a soccer overlap run?

An overlap run is a technique used in soccer where a player runs around a teammate who is in possession of the ball.

This creates a numerical advantage for the attacking team as the player making the run becomes another attacking option.

Why are overlap runs effective?

First, they create space for the player in possession of the ball. The defender marking the player making the run is forced to make a decision between covering the player making the run or sticking with the player in possession of the ball.

Second, overlap runs create 2v1 situations, which can lead to more scoring opportunities for the attacking team.

Finally, an overlap can be used to pull defenders out of position, creating space for other attacking players to exploit.

How to Execute an Overlap Run


To execute an overlap run, the player without the ball needs to position themselves correctly. They should be slightly behind and to the side of the player with the ball.

This will allow them to run around the player and into space to receive the ball. The timing of the run is crucial, so the player without the ball needs to be patient and wait for the right moment.


The player without the ball needs to time their run so that they arrive in space just as the player with the ball is passing the ball.

This will create a 2v1 situation, which can be very difficult for the defending team to deal with.

The player without the ball should also be aware of the position of the opposing defenders and adjust their timing accordingly.


The player with the ball needs to signal to their teammate that they want them to make an overlapping run. This can be done with a simple hand gesture or a shout.

The player without the ball also needs to communicate with their teammate to let them know when they are ready to receive the ball. Signaling your hands down or yelling “yes” is a great way to grab their attention.

Good communication can make the difference between a successful overlap run and a missed opportunity.

Variations of the Overlap Run


While the overlap run is executed on the outside of the ball carrier, an underlapping run is executed on the inside of the ball carrier.

In this variation, the player making the run cuts inside and runs towards the ball carrier.

This can be an effective way to create space for the ball carrier to move into, or to create a passing lane for a through ball.

Underlapping runs are often used in central areas of the pitch, where there is less space to work with.

Double Overlap

In a double overlap, two players make overlapping runs on either side of the ball carrier. This can create confusion for the defending team, as they are forced to decide which player to mark.

It can also create a 2v1 situation, with the ball carrier having two passing options.

Double overlaps are often used in wide areas of the field, where there is more space to work with.


The overlapping run is a valuable tactic in soccer that involves a player running beyond a teammate with the ball to create space and opportunities for scoring.

This soccer technique is often used by wide players and fullbacks to create a 2v1 situation and pull defenders out of position.

Coaches can teach players how to execute an effective overlapping run by creating training sessions that simulate game situations.

The end goal is to manufacture two-on-one situations quickly and effectively.

Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created soccernovo.com to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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