Strategies for 5 on 5 Soccer

Dear SoccerHelp,

I am relatively new at this. This is my third season as a coach. I have 5 total on an 8 man roster returning from last fall. We are U-8 playing 5 on 5 - (goalie plus four).

On my roster, one has a club foot and is playing an almost exclusive goalie position. We tried defender but he keeps getting beat. He has turned into a fairly good goalie.

The others vary in speed and ability.

Next fall we move up to 7 on 7, but this spring we are 0-2 and facing 6 games in the next five weeks. Any help would be appreciated.

Coach John

Hi John,

My best advice to you is to Defend Deep, keep 2 Fullbacks tight in front of your goal and control the center of the field (force or encourage the opponent to go toward the sideline). See "Defending Deep Basics" on Premium for more tips.

Other tips:

  1. Read "Dribbling - How To Teach" and play the Dribble Across A Square game 3 times to start every practice.
  2. Teach Coaching Rule No. 3, it's worth 2 or 3 goals per game. Read all of our Coaching Rules.
  3. Play the Chips/Lofted Passes Game, or the Longest Kick game -- try to teach them how to make a long kick. Buy the "Just Kickin' It" DVD if you don't know how to teach proper form.
  4. Try a 2 - 2 formation or 2-1-1 (2 Fullbacks). If you have a great, dominant player, try a 2-1-1 and put the great player as the Midfielder to play both offense and defense.
  5. If your defense needs work, try the "Defend The Goal and Clear" game.
  6. Play 1v1 games such as "Double Dare Attack/Defend".
  7. Read the Testimonials from other Rec coaches. You will get ideas from them.

AT U-8, it's mainly about natural athletic ability. You can't expect too much. Focus on the basic skills and you will see improvement.

Good luck. Please let me know what helps.

Best wishes,