Soccer Formation for a U-10 Girls Team

Hello David,

I coach a Rec. League U-10 girl's team. I have what I call a mixed bag of player skill levels (from very good to brand new). I have been debating what formation to play. I've been leaning towards either a 2-3-2 or a 1-2-2-2 / 2-1-2-2 variation. What are your thoughts?

-U-10 Rec Coach

U-10 Rec Coach

I recommend a 2-1-2-2. The key is how to play it. Read "Defending Deep Basics" on Premium. Here are some important things to teach:

It is very important to give your players some simple, clear rules to guide their decisions (you must keep it simple or they will get confused):

  1. Have your FB's (Fullbacks) Defend Deep (don't come past the Penalty Box line) and teach them how to Clear the ball (see "Quick Team Improvement" # 7 and # 6).
  2. Teach Coaching Rule 19 (tell the left side FB & the RFB to not cross the center of the goal).
  3. Tell your Left FB (LFB) & RFB to not go past their goal post (so they don't get pulled out from the goal front); the greatest danger is in front of the goal, and tell them to just kick the ball as hard as they can.
  4. Tell your Defensive Mid (also called a "Stopper") that she must drop back to help on defense & to not go past the halfway line on your attack.
  5. Tell your 2 Offensive Mids ("OMF's") that they must not go closer to your goalie than the top of the Penalty Box Arc (they should stay a long pass away from the ball) and on the attack they should not go inside the other team's Penalty Box unless they are dribbling the ball. NOTE: When your goal is under attack, the best position for your OMF's and Forwards will depend on how far your Fullbacks can clear the ball and the length of the field. The best rule is that when your goal is under attack, your OMF's should stay a long pass out from the ball and your Forwards should stay a long kick out from the ball. They should be constantly shifting with the ball, from side to side and up and back. They should stay a medium pass apart (i.e., If you play 3 OMF's, the ROMF should stay about 10 steps to the right side of the COMF, and the LOMF should stay about 10 steps to the left side of the COMF, or if you play 2 OMF's, the LOMF and ROMF should stay about 10 steps apart. Apply the same rule to the Forwards). This way, your OMF's and Forwards will be in position to win the balls your Fullbacks clear. (Whereas, if they are too close or too far away from the ball, the opponents will always win the cleared balls). Teach your FB's to clear the ball straight ahead, so your OMF's and Forwards will know what to expect and can be in position to win the cleared balls. Your OMF's and Forwards must win at least 50% of these cleared balls or you will probably lose the game.
  6. Tell your 2 Forwards that they should not come closer to your Goalie than distance of a long kick.
  7. Teach Coaching Rule # 3, it is worth 1 or 2 goals.
  8. Later, read "Attacking Plan", "Formations" (Premium version) and "How To Teach Soccer Defense" and all the topics it links to.

There are many more topics about thison Premium.