Types of soccer formations, advantages and disadvantages, how to choose and teach them, and how to assign positions to youth soccer players are discussed below.

Soccer formations for 8v8, 11v11, 10v10, 9v9, 7v7, 6v6, 5v5 and 4v4.

Access to hundreds of pages of information about soccer formations and positions for Rec and select soccer.

The critical factors you should consider when choosing a formation and how to choose the formation that will give your team the best chance for success..

The soccer formation you choose, and how you assign positions, can greatly affect your team's success.

Soccer Formations - There are hundreds of pages and dozens of tips about soccer formations on SoccerHelp at Soccer formations for teams playing 8v8, 11v11, 9v9, 10v10 and 5v5. Diagrams for 11v11 and 8v8. Excerpts from SoccerHelp are below.

Some soccer formations are better suited for Rec teams than others. One of the easiest things you can do to make a BIG difference in your team's play is to choose a soccer formation and style of play that fits your team. The soccer formations that work for Select or Travel teams usually don't work well for Rec teams. Rec coaches usually don't have the time to teach complex systems of play, and complex formations and styles of play can cause players to become hesitant and frustrated. The easiest thing you can do to cause a fast improvement in your team's play is to change to a simplified, easy-to-teach formation and style of play that gives your team the best chance for success. How to choose the best soccer formation and how to teach that formation to your players is explained in detail on SoccerHelp.

The soccer formation you choose should be based on:

  1. Your player's skill and ability.
  2. Your player's speed and endurance.
  3. The number of substitutes you have.
  4. The length of the field you play on.
  5. The other team's strengths and weaknesses.
  6. How many skilled players you have.
  7. How many unskilled players you have.
  8. How many timid players you have who are scared of contact or of being hit by the ball. You can't put these players at fullback, and you can't put them in the Center positions such as Center Midfielder of Stopper - the best place for them is at Right Midfield or Left Midfield.

Keep in mind that in any soccer formation your players will need to shift with the ball on both offense and defense (to provide support), recover to defensive positions when the ball is lost, and push forward some on the attack. I find it helpful to give my players some clear rules to follow so they understand their responsibilities. For example, if a Rec team is playing a 2-1-3-1 soccer formation (NOTE- this applies to Rec teams and not necessarily to Travel teams):

  1. The most critical position is Center Midfielder and you will want to put your overall best player in that position.
  2. The second most Critical position is Stopper (the other "1" in front of the 2 Fullbacks). In Rec soccer, a great athlete can be a great Stopper even if he or she lacks skill, BUT he MUST be brave and can't be afraid of contact.
  3. Teach the Left Midfielder and the Right Midfielder that they should not cross the Center of the Field (i.e., an imaginary line between the 2 goals). This gives them a DEFINITE stopping point so you don't end up with all your Midfielders bunched up.
  4. Teach your Fullbacks to stay toward the goal and to not go wider than about 10 steps past the near post. The Far Fullback (i.e., the one farthest from the ball) should never go past the center of the goal. Fullbacks should stay outside the Goal Box so they aren't in the goalkeepers way and must do what the goalkeeper says. Keep in mind that most goals are scored in front of the goal, so that is the most important area to defend. In Rec soccer, your opponent probably can't score from the corners, so don't get pulled out of position to the corners.
  5. When attacking, the Far Midfielder should play off the Far Post (actually, about 5 steps outside the post) so he can stop balls from coming out the back. By staying in this position those players will get 3 to 5 good scoring chances per game.

Below is a diagram that of a 11 vs. 11 soccer formation. It shows a 3-2-3-2 formation with the team attacking and the ball inside the opposing team's Penalty Box. Notice that in this example the Center Fullback and 2 Stoppers have Pushed Up to support the attack, but that 2 Fullbacks have stayed deep. You can read the reasoning for this and the circumstances when this is a good approach by clicking the above link.

Soccer Formations Diagram of 11v11

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