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“Over The Top” has 2 meanings:
1. It is most commonly used to mean a long lofted soccer ball that is kicked deep by defenders toward the other team’s soccer goal. This is a “direct” attacking style of play (sometimes called a “long ball” style) where the objective is to get the soccer ball away from your goal onto the other soccer team’s half of the field in hopes of gaining “territory” by winning the soccer ball and creating a scoring opportunity. It is the opposite of a controlled, indirect, posssession type of play that relies on many short passes. (See “Long-Ball Game“, “Direct Attack“, “Attacking” & “Counterattack“).
2. (aka Over The Ball). This phrase also refers to a dangerous tackle where a tackler’s foot goes over the top of the soccer ball & often cleats the ballhandler in the shin. A variation is when the defender raises his foot above the soccer ball so that if the attacker kicks the soccer ball he will be cleated. This is called “going over the ball”.