7v7 Formations and Systems of Play

7v7 Formations and Systems

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3rd and 4th Grade Teams

Formation: 2:3:1

2 Center Defenders

3 Midfielders (Right, Center and Left)

1 Forward

Objectives: Players will learn the basic positional roles of Defenders, Midfielders and Forwards.

Position Role: Defenders – (A) Primary defensive objective is to protect the vital (central) area in front of the goal. The pair should remain “connected” with coordinated movements: forward, back and to sides. (B) When in possession, move forward to support the attack (provide the midfielders an option to pass backwards).


Position Role: Midfielders – Transition fully between attacking and defending. Experience the fitness required to play as a midfielder. Attack 1v1 opportunities aggressively. Dribble and pass the ball towards areas of the field with less pressure/more space.

Position Role: Forward – (A) Pressure the opponents defenders when they are in possession. (B) Provide an outlet for your midfielders and defenders when they win the ball back in defense. (C) Exhibit an aggressive mentality by attacking freely in 1v1 and 1v2 situations.




System Details: Attacking

No choreographed movements at this age. Help players develop a mentality where they attack: Safely in the Defensive Third (pass to middle third as quickly as possible, avoid potential turnovers in the middle of the field); Intelligence in the Middle Third (quickly passing or dribbling to areas of low defensive pressure); and Aggressiveness in the Attacking Third  (consistently engaging in 1v1 and 1v2 battles in order to attack the goal).

System Details: Defending

Central Defense – Midfielders and Defenders should move or “pinch” towards the middle of the field. The congestion of defenders will deny penetration down the middle of the field. The Forward can provide a double team from behind when the opportunity presents itself.

Flank Defense with Midfielder – When possible the first defender on the flank should be the outside midfielder. This allows for the remaining midfielders and defenders to take up supportive positions centrally. Note that the outside midfielder on the opposite side of the ball should retreat into a central defender position.

Flank Defense with Defender – When the outside midfielder is caught in transition, the closest defender should move to pressure the ball. The recovering outside midfielder can retreat to “double team” the attacker. Since the defenders will be pulled into more lateral positions it becomes vital that the other midfielders retreat to congest the middle of the field in front of goal.

System Details: Set Plays

Throw-Ins – Outside midfielders should take throw-ins. Forward, center midfielder and defender should provide 3 options for the throw-in (forward, middle and back). Outside midfielder on opposite side should make central run to receive pass from center midfielder or forward.

Goal Kick – On the same side as the Goal Kick, the Defender, Center Midfielder and Outside Midfielder should take up positions to form a large triangle. Then utilize any number of quick, medium range passes to work the ball upfield towards the forward.

Corner Kicks – Attacking – Two defenders should remain back to protect against a counter attack. One player takes the corner kick and aims for the middle of the penalty area. It is preferred that the corner kick be delivered to this space on the ground. Three attacking players start outside the penalty area and time their runs to meet the corner kick in the middle of the penalty area. The first player should make a run towards the near post. The second player should make a run towards the penalty spot. The third player should make a run towards the back post.


Corner Kicks – Defending – Defenders should mark all attackers man to man. This includes the corner kick taker (this defender must give the corner kick taker 10 yards of space). Defenders should be taught to stay “goal side” if the attacker they are marking.