There are many youth soccer formations that you can use for your team, but deciding the best one for your team is not always a straight forward decision. A number of factors play a part in deciding which formation to use including:
- Number of players on the team.
- Types and styles of players on the team.
- The current state of a game.
eg. the current score, time left
- The importance of the game.
- The formation and quality of the opposition
- Number of players on the team
Note: Its interesting that when we talk about formations, we nearly always exclude the goalkeeper. For instance in an 11 a side team the formations are 4-4-2, 3-5-2, 4-4-3 etc. In the following formations I will continue with that standard. My humble apologies to those keepers that feel left out again, but I do have a Special Page for Goalkeepers
5-a-side soccer formations
In 5 a side competitions, including Futsal and indoor soccer, there are generally 2 formations that used, one for attack and one for defense.
If you ever need to play 5-a-side, then check the 5-a-side formations suggestions
11-a-side soccer formations
Eleven a side soccer is generally played from the ages of 10 and upwards, depending on the association that you belong to.
Eleven a side offers the greatest flexibility in formation used, and variations are often created to counter the creativity of other teams and the formations or tactics that they use.
I have listed the most common formations here as they are most suited to youth soccer, because they offer flexibility with simplicity.
The 4-4-2 Formation
The 4-4-2 formation is undoubtedly the most popular formation used by soccer teams, and one of the easist to understand.
The 4-4-2 formation offers great flexibility, and is relatively easy for youth soccer players to understand their roles.
The 4-4-2 formation also provides the basis of other formations by simply moving a player forwards or backwards. eg the 3-5-2 formation is achieved by simply moving one of the defenders into the midfield.
Of all the youth soccer formations, the 4-4-2 is by far the easiest to understand and learn by players.
4-4-2 is the #1 in youth soccer formations
The 3-5-2 Formation
The 3-5-2 formation is achieved by simply moving one of the defenders from a 4-4-2 formation into the midfield. However the roles and responsibilities of players changes to cope with the change in formation. The 3-5-2 formation is particularly useful if you have 3 very strong defenders and a number of good midfielders.
There are a few variations on how to use a 3-5-2 formation, and the style of play that you can use in a 3-5-2 formation, it can be either an attacking formation or a defensive formation, depending on how you decide to shape your midfield. The 3-5-2 formation is probably the #2 in youth soccer formations, and well worth learning and understanding
The 4-3-3 Formation
The 4-3-3 formation is a fairly attacking formation, but again the tactics used will vary on the players that you have available.
The 4 defenders would act the same as in a 4-4-2 formation, but the midfielders would likley hold a more central position.
The roles and reponsibilities of players in a 4-3-3 formation can vary somewhat depending on the style of play you wish to adopt.
The 4-5-1 Formation
The 4-5-1 formation is another simple variation of the 4-4-2 formation.
By simply moving a striker into the midfield will give you a 4-5-1 formation.
There are many situations when a 4-5-1 formation is needed, and there are a number of variations of roles and responsibilities of player of the 4-5-1 formation.