When your team walk out on to the field, it is generally advisable to give everyone a rough position and location you would like them to stand. When the game kicks off this might all go out of the window, but at least they will look organized until that moment. Different coaches favor different “formations” – depending on the age and level of their teams, the skills and abilities of the players they have, and their own personal preference or understanding of the game. Below we list several popular and obscure formations that you could adapt to use with your team. We include details on the specific functions of players within the formation and a review of when it works well and doesn’t. Currently the formations are all for 11v11 teams but we will be adding formations for 8v8 teams also.

Basic Model:
Formation Used By Description Arrangement
3-3-1 8v8 teams 3 midfielders starting relatively flat with a target forward and 3 defenders.
3-5-2 U17 Girls Lower Level I played a 3-5-2 with my U17 girls which was very successful at the Division 3-4 level that we moved through. I play it with outside wing-backs who have to cover a lot of ground, three midfielders in a triangle with two having freer roles and one being more defensive.
3-5-2 U17 Boys Advanced The 3-5-2 formation I have usually placed my older girls and boys teams in is organized with a tight 3 at the back, hard working flank players, and forwards who know how to work well with each other. The objective of the 3-5-2 for my teams was to control the game and the tempo by dominating the midfield usually against a group of 4 midfielders in other teams.
3-5-2 High School A reverse triangle midfield, with two flat holding and one attacker player looking to get into the gap between the lines.
4-2-3-1 U13 Girls Lower Using the ultra-popular two-holding-players-in-midfield formation the professionals like, with your lower level young girls teams. Simon claims that the formation works particularly well for teams with a big range of ability.
4-3-3 Flipping Center U14 Girls A 4-3-3 formation that flips between 1-2 in the center in attack to 2-1 when defending. Forwards stay relatively high to give three options at all times.
4-3-3 One Holding U14 Girls Advanced Four "flat" defenders, three center midfielders in a 1-2 triangle, three forwards spread wide across the front. Ability to switch midfield depending on score.
4-3-3 to 3-4-3 U12 Boys Intermediate Level Using the 4-3-3 with two holding players as a base, but with the ability to push a central defender forward in attack to make a 3-4-3 with a midfield diamond.
4-3-3 Two Holding Players U11 Boys A 4-3-3 for U11 boys that gives strength in defense with two holding midfielders and a good approach to avoiding players being swallowed up by the big field
4-3-3 with Wingbacks U17 Girls A 4-3-3 that looks to use the standard defensive weakness of the formation as an attacking strength for the fullbacks to exploit.


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