3-1-4-2 vs. 3-2-3-2 Soccer Formation
Advantages of Strong Center Midfielder
Adjusting to Fit Soccer Player's Strengths
3-2-3-2 Soccer Formation Allowed the Team to Keep Possession Longer

(Following is a letter from a Premium Member and my response)

Dear Dave,

Just a quick note about the U14 Girls rec soccer team I coach. We started out our soccer season using a 3-1-4-2 soccer formation, and it worked ok but we were having difficulty keeping possession of the ball. Our center mids kept wanting to constantly track back and play as a second Stopper; so, in about the third game of the season I made it official and we switched to a straight 3-2-3-2 soccer formation.

The girls really liked this system quite a bit. It gave us better coverage in the midfield, we could keep possession longer, and it protected our back three. We Defend Deep and with the double stopper formation we rarely get caught in a numbers down situation. It also frees up our Center and wing midfielders to be free to join the attack, knowing that they always have help behind. I just want to say thanks again to SoccerHelp; your formation info for rec teams is spot on.

Thank You,

Coach Chuck
Lexington, KY.
U14G Wild Things Head Coach


Hi Chuck,

Thanks for taking the time to write -- I really appreciate you sharing your experiences and thoughts, I learn from letters like yours.

I agree with you about the 3-2-3-2, that's the formation I used when I coached U-14 to U-17 and found it very beneficial to have a strong Center MF - I would try to put a player there who had good passing skills and who could win the ball and was a threat to score. I would adjust how I played the 3-2-3-2 depending upon my player's abilities, bravery and speed, and the field length. At U-17 I had a very good team except for 2 slow but brave FBs, who I played at RFB and LFB, and told to not Push Up past the Penalty Box Line, because we were playing some very skilled, fast teams. I had a fast, skilled, brave Center FB and let him Push Up halfway to the Center Circle - his job was to slow the opponent's attack until my Stoppers could recover to help defend. I let my Stoppers (who were excellent players) Push Up to the inside of the Center Circle on the Attacking Half, and if one Stopper was onball or involved with the attack, he could go into the attack while the other Stopper shifted from side-to-side with the ball to stop cleared balls. That was an effective formation and gave a good balance between defense and supporting our attack. We only lost one game that season, and it was to an excellent team that we beat earlier in the season. That team hadn't lost in 2 years. We beat them the first time by 5-2 (they had some good players out) and we lost to them the second time by one goal - something like 4-3. They earned all 4 goals. They had played together for several years and we only played together for one season. They were very fast and liked to counterattack and score on crosses -- our formation and Style of Play kept them from getting any breakaways or easy goals.

Check out 2 things on Premium:

  1. The "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race" game to teach "Aggressive Receiving" (it explains how at the Game instructions)
  2. The "Win the 50/50 Ball or Be the First Defender, 1v1 Attacking and Defending Game" -- it's new and I would play it if I had a U-14 team.

Thanks again,

David at SoccerHelp