Is 3-5-2 Still On?


It’s not 1990 any more. Why does the 3-5-2 formation 3-5-2 Jeff Carrollkeep coming back into the game in 2014? One of our contributors ran though the way he runs it with older youth teams.

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.

As the diagram shows, the formation can need extremely fit, quick, and intelligent outside midfielders. Most important of those is probably their intelligence / ability to anticipate transition so that they are a few steps ahead. If they have this ability they have an advantage over players who are just quick and fit. If you don’t have players who fit the above description, then this formation may not be for your team.

Forwards in Attack

With possession, the forwards were asked to be target type forwards for our central midfielders to play off of. Check out or away to create space, then toward the ball to either hold and lay off. The second forward in this instance would look to get in and behind into dangerous areas. The idea is to create space, support (check run), or be dangerous in your runs as a forward.

Forwards in Defense

The forwards in this formation need to make sure play is predictable and that the ball does not continue to be switched across the back line. The forwards are expected to cut off passing lanes to the outside midfielders and at the same time the opposite forward is cutting off the switched ball. This puts the ball into the central Midfield area where our strength is. Example: the Right forward is channeling the ball inside (away from the Outside Midfielders) and the second forward is cutting off the lanes for any ball to be switched through the center back. If played back to a Central Defender, the objective of the forward is to bend the run and keep the ball on the side it came from.

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