11v11 Soccer Formations
Comparison of 4-4-2, 3-1-2-1-3 and 3-2-3-2
Great Soccer Defense But Can't Score
Trade Offs in Width and Depth
Using Soccer Patches to Motivate Team Attacking

Hi SoccerHelp,

I am the coach of a U-11 Soccer Travel Girls team. Have been together since last August. Ended last season 4-5-1. Struggled the last six games of season. We have played one League game and six tournament games. Short one game that was against a much better team, we have held five oppenents to one goal or less but can not score. Last season we played a 3-4-3. Opted to concentrate on defense and mid and switch to 4-4-2. We have dominated all but one game with a lot of opportunities but can not finish. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Coach James, U11 Travel, NJ, Premium Member


Hi Coach James,

Below are some ideas that I have found can make a difference:

  1. Play the Dribble Around Cone and Pass Relay Race game a lot. Use it to teach one-touch play so you can play faster and Aggressive Receiving

  2. Play Win the 50/50 Ball or Be the First Defender 1v1 Attacking & Defending

  3. Play Shoulder Tackle & Strength on the Ball game

  4. Teach Passing to Space which will teach Movement off the Ball and allow a more creative attack
  5. Buy patches and use them to motivate "Team Attacking". How to use them to promote Team Attacking is discussed at www.soccerhelp.com/Patch_Award_System.shtml

  6. Read "How to Score More Goals" on Premium.

  7. Consider switching to a 3-1-2-1-3 formation ( the same formation Anson Dorrance uses) or a 3-2-3-2 formation so you can have more players come into your attack. I like the balance of the 3-2-3-2 formation ... 5 on defense, 5 in mid, 5 for attack).

I suspect a problem might be that you are leaving so many players in your Defensive Half that you aren't getting players into your attack and that you don't have support for your attack -- adding more "depth" will help that -- your players won't have to run so far. You will give up some "width" but gain depth, and your players won't have to run so far, so they will be fresher in the second half. The advantage of width is usually to spread the field on attack so you can score more goals, but that isn't working for you. Very few U11 teams can use the entire field width. ... it takes a really skillful team to be able to do that.

Let me know how it goes.

David at SoccerHelp