Learn Popular Formations in Soccer According to Age
There are many formations and it's probably impossible to list them all, but in this part, I will present some of the most common that have been used in soccer.
A formation describes how the players in a soccer team are positioned on the field. Different formations may be used depending on the skill of your opponents but also if your team wants to play more attacking or defensive soccer.
FORMATION 4V4: U8
For the Under 6, Under 7 and Under 8 age groups this formation works on a diamond shape which gives support in defense and attack. Play with a goalkeeper at 5v5 and without a goalkeeper at 4v4.
This formation provides balance between defense and attack, while also maintaining an outright striker and a player to stay at the back so good for all round learning to take players to the next stage.
Good support from behind for the attacker to get balls played through and balls from the wings.
The two midfield players are expected to support both the defense and the attack, which can help the team adapt the formation to what is needed most at any moment in time.
Plays the sweeper role covering right across the back but needs support from midfield.
7v7 Formations: U9 & U10
Within the 1-2-3-1 or 1-3-2-1, players should be aware of their positional roles on attack and defense, especially in counterattacking and defending. When the team is attacking from its defensive third or building out from a goal kick or keeper distribution, players should be aware of spacing between lines.
The principle of spreading out and body position should be recognized by the players. It brings out triangles in attack.
Defensive compactness, both vertically and horizontally, as well as the value of the first defender in pressing the ball throughout the field should be of importance to this age.
FORMATION 2-3-2 Plus Keeper 8v8
Creative formation for confident teams – beware counter-attacks
Good to coach young players how to support behind and wide during the attacking phase. A good formation to give your central defenders a lesson in defending under pressure at the back with little support.
Good strong attacking roles here, the pair can cause havoc in the penalty area by playing near and far post or playing as high and low attackers.
Strongest part of the formation but must cover the defence when under attack from counter-attacks or wing play. Wide midfielders must cross into the attackers and track back to cover the wings.
Difficult with just two defenders. They must communicate and can be pulled apart by wingers who will then exploit the space. Must cover across the backline to prevent long balls into the attack.
There are no right or wrong formations. We have included some of the more common ones used around the world. Systems and formations require patience and players need time to learn their roles. Good luck!
9v9 Formations: U11 U12
The 1-3-2-3 and 1-3-3-2 organizations are playing systems that should allow players to connect through lines. Players should be aware of the roles of the individuals in two connecting lines. The players should be fluid in mobility between lines on both attack and defense and recognize those roles in transition.
In attack, emphasis should be on spreading out, triangulating between lines, creating 2v1 and 1v1 situations and penetrating between lines.
Defensively continue to emphasize compactness, outnumbering of the opponent with the ball and providing cover to the pressing defender or defenders and consistently getting numbers behind the ball.
Formation 4 3 3 U14-U16
Hard work and discipline coupled with the right personnel can make any formation a success regardless of how you choose to line up.
Each formation has its own strengths that the team must make the most of while mitigating its weaknesses through tactical awareness and a good understanding of how the opposition may attempt to exploit their game plan.
With the 4-3-3 formation, you are guaranteed an attacking outlook right from the start.
By controlling the midfield and taking advantage of the flexibility that the line up gives the team’s forwards, the 4-3-3 can overwhelm, confuse, and force the opposition back towards their goal.
With the pace and movement of the attackers, the supporting fullbacks, and offensive midfielders, a flood of interchanging players can overload the opponent’s defense to great effect.
This formation can be a massive success if you have the right players to play to its strengths.
Tactically flexible, the formation allows for coaches to manage the game to great effect by tweaking it to deal with a number of situations.
You can sit back in an almost 4-5-1 formation and hit the opposition on the counter-attack or push the fullbacks forward and drop the holding midfielder between the center-backs to form a 3-4-3 formation.
Everything depends on the players you have available.
Designed to be offensive, the 4-3-3 will certainly have your players threatening the opposition and creating goal scoring opportunities.
Through the high intensity and off the ball movement that the formation requires, you can force the opposition back by making the most of this aggressive line up.