Best Girls Soccer Cleats

Nike addias soccer cleats


Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • The Nike Mercurials Are One Of The Best Girls’ Soccer Cleats Available.
  • Adidas F50 Soccer Cleats Are Also A Good Quality Choice.
  • Girls Selecting Soccer Cleats Can Make The Right Choice For Them By Following A Few Tips Before Purchasing Cleats.

Whether girls are new or experienced in soccer, picking the best new soccer cleats is always important.

Currently, more girls in the US play soccer, which is one of the most popular among US citizens.

In addition, the US National Women’s Team (USWNT) is the world’s number one in the official FIFA international rankings following their consecutive World Cup wins in 2015 and 2019. 

From my research, I like this soccer cleat:

With more girls playing and enjoying soccer, the demand for cleats increases.

However, deciding which soccer cleats are the best makes the difference between enjoying the game and not. 

I’ve had my own negative experiences when picking the wrong cleats.

As a younger player, I suffered through small, ill-fitting cleats when I went through a GROWTH SPURT. As a result, I suffered from agonizing blisters and friction. 

Then, I made the same mistake as an adult player when I opted for cheap, poor-fitting cleats.

Both times this happened, during my playing days, I missed out on many matches and training while I recovered, and it was a tough time. 

But, it’s not just the amateurs who make mistakes when choosing the right cleats.

In 2018, Brazilian star Neymar injured his foot while playing for Paris St Germain, which his cleats may have caused.

Therefore, for girls, picking the right soccer cleats is essential.

Not only will making the right choice help your play and development, but you also won’t miss out by watching from the sideline from blisters and pain!

This article shares some of the best girls’ soccer cleats available. Also, we provide some of the pros and cons of these. 

How to Pick the Right Soccer Cleats?

Before selecting your soccer cleats, consider the following guide to help your decision. 

As a coach and a player, I have often seen many soccer players get the wrong pair of cleats and suffer physically.

Sometimes, these injuries are minor, but blisters and foot and heel damage can be long-lasting. 

To prevent this, preparation and research are key.

1) Material 

Firstly, a good starting point is to consider what material you want your cleats to be. Generally, there are three material types: leather, synthetic, and knit. 

One of the best ways to get a feel for the material you want is to head to a store and pick up some of the cleats. Immediately, you can feel what is heavy, light, breathable and what could be well fitting.

I usually do this when considering new cleats, and it is a good starting place. 

2) Lightweight or Sturdy

Similarly to the material, think about whether you want your cleats to be lighter or heavier. 

Ultimately, this depends on different factors.

First, it will depend on your playing conditions. Any player in a hot, humid, or dry environment would benefit from more lightweight cleats that are more breathable.

In contrast, picking heavier leather cleats may suit players in wetter, colder climates.

Second, players can think about their playing position.

For example, players who pass, shoot, and control the ball more may prefer lightweight cleats for a better feel and control.

However, players who kick further and tackle more may benefit from heavier leather cleats. 

3) Size and Fit

Finally, after completing the research above, the fun part comes.

Before getting out onto the pitch, always try on your preferred cleats before committing.

Pop them on as they arrive and try walking, jogging and running in them and see how they feel. If there’s any discomfort, it’s best to try a different size.

At university, I was asked to play in a tournament at the last minute.

But having left my cleats in my hometown, I had to grab some cleats from the local sports store. I rushed in, grabbed the cheapest cleats my size, and headed to the tournament.

Within ten minutes, my feet were throbbing in pain. I continued to play for the entire tournament and had several blisters, sprained my ankle, and swollen feet. 

It is essential to take the time to try out cleats, send them back or try a new pair. Without this trial period, you are vulnerable to serious injury. 

What are the Best Girls Soccer Cleats?

So, it’s time to commit to your favorite brand after completing research and trying out your preferred girl’s soccer cleats!

For me, Adidas Predators were my go-to growing up. Icons like David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane were the face of the Adidas Predators, and everyone wanted to play like them.

Once I tried a pair in the mid-2000s, I was hooked, and they provided style and comfort for many years. Also, as I played in multiple positions for different teams, these cleats suited my needs as an all-rounder.

However, today the best soccer cleats for boys and girls have changed.

But Nike and Adidas still lead the way in quality and consistency even with constantly new releases. We outline some of the best currently available below. 

1) Nike Mercurial 

In terms of well-fitting and good-quality cleats, the 2022 edition of the Nike Mercurials is one of the best options available. 

These cleats suit both beginner and experienced players as they are lightweight and smooth. Also, Nike has these cleats available with different studs and under-soles so they can be used on different playing surfaces. 

2) Nike Tiempo Legend 9

Another impressive cleat from Nike is the Tiempo Legend 9 brand.

This brand is worn by leading soccer stars, including Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker, and Thibaut Courtois. 

This is surprising as the cleats are meant to be for more offensive players.

However, their sturdy design and relatively wide fit show that the Nike Tiempo Legend 9 cleats suit a range of soccer players for different positions. 

3) Adidas F50 

The Adidas F50 cleats have been available since the European Championships in 2004 when they were first released.

Over time, Adidas has tweaked and improved its appearance and feel to make them suitable for modern use.

Today, the F50s are suited for players who prefer speed and pace over something more heavy-duty.

The likes of Lionel Messi have worn this brand in previous seasons, showing that they are well made for offensive players who like to control the ball and dribble.

Best Dribblers in Soccer

messi dribbling ball


Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • The Best Dribblers In Soccer Make The Game Look Easy And They Produce Hair-raising Moments.
  • Three Current Players Are Seen As The Best Modern-day Dribblers In Soccer.
  • Diego Maradona Is The All-time Best Dribbler In Soccer History.

Dribbling in soccer is like art. The best of the best MAKE IT LOOK EASY..

..Almost as if the ball is GLUED TO THEIR FEET while tackles fly in around them.

There is no better feeling when you play soccer than producing a trick and evading an opposition player.

As a kid, I used to try and copy the likes of Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, and Jay Jay Okocha when playing drop-down games with friends, on the street, or in the back garden. 

Often, I would borrow my Dad’s coaching equipment to set up real-game situations and TRY TO COPY professional players.

Then, when it came to matchday, I would try and do the tricks and dribbling skills in a real-life soccer game.

Admittedly, this was trial and error, and I regularly experienced anger from teammates and coaches to pass rather than dribble past every player.

But, these memories remind me that young players get the best joy and freedom from copying their heroes on the pitch, particularly when dribbling.

Usually, everyone wants to be Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe.

Not because they are the best defender, goalkeeper, or solid holding midfielder, but because they entertain and get the crowd on their feet.

This article looks at some of the best dribblers in professional soccer today and gives a rundown of the best all-time dribblers. 

Top 3 Best Dribblers in World Soccer Today

In soccer today, many players can dribble past opposition without breaking a sweat. The skill is admirable, and it takes plenty of hard work and practice to pull off at speed.

However, some players make it look easy like the ball is glued to their feet. Some current players are good at dribbling in soccer, but others are world-class. 

Lionel Messi

messi dribbling ball

One of the best-ever players in soccer, Lionel Messi, is a supreme dribbler with the ball.

The PACE, POWER, and SKILL he produced for Barcelona were ELECTRIC and led to some of soccer’s greatest moments. 

For instance, my most clear, iconic Messi dribble was against Real Madrid in the Champions League when he received the ball near the halfway line and, within seconds, took on Los Blancos’ world-class defense and coolly struck the ball into the net. 

This moment showcased the Argentinian’s PURE DRIBBLING CLASS.

But it was just one of many iconic solo runs he produced. In La Liga and the Champions League, Messi tormented the best defenders in world soccer with his unstoppable dribbling skills. 

Neymar

Neymar dribbling ball

Regarding skills and trickery, Neymar is among the world’s best.

The Brazilian has been turning defenders inside out for a decade after bursting onto the scene as a youngster playing for Santos in Brazil. 

When Neymar joined Barcelona in 2013, my concern, like many of my soccer-mad friends, was whether he could continue to produce spectacular dribbling skills in Europe.

Neymar has since excelled for Barcelona and Paris St Germain to prove his initial doubters, like me, completely wrong. 

The Brazilian continues to produce hair-raising skills and tricks for PSG, and he is a central player for the national team.

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe regularly showcases how to pace, and his expert dribbling ability is a deadly combination in professional soccer.

The French international was ranked as the fastest player in Europe in 2019/20, reaching a top speed of 28 kilometers per hour. 

The ability to control the ball at this speed without tumbling over is impressive and takes a lot of rehearsal.

When I played regularly, I would slow down in control of the ball to remain composed. I would never dream of running a full sprint while remaining in control of the ball for fear I would end up kicking it out of play.

Mbappe has frequently shown how he can utilize his deadly blend of speed and control by scoring some vital goals for his club, Paris St Germain, in recent seasons.

One of his most iconic was a 70-yard solo run and finish against Lyon 2020. 

https://www.eurosport.co.uk/football/coupe-de-france/2019-2020/football-video-watch-kylian-mbappe-score-incredible-solo-goal-against-lyon_vid1303478/video.shtml

Best Dribbler in Soccer History

However, before these recent stars, a select few of soccer’s best demonstrated their mind-bending dribbling skills. 

Regularly, football fans debate the best dribblers in soccer history.

Many argue that previous players, like Diego Maradona and George Best, were the greatest because they produced skill and control on wet and muddy pitches where the ball would barely roll. 

In addition, opposition players could tackle harder with less punishment in older soccer matches, again leading to debates about which players were the best. 

Diego Maradona 

Diego Maradona is often regarded as the best dribbler in soccer history.

The Argentinian used his generational talent to lead Argentina to win the 1986 World Cup. He also led an average Napoli side to two Italian League titles and an Italian Cup victory.

Very few of the worlds best have produced such influential periods at football clubs or for their national team.

Maradona achieved this through all-around soccer ability, but mostly because of his world-class dribbling skills. 

Comparisons have been made between Maradona and Messi.

Both are Argentinian, both small, both from humble, lower-class backgrounds, and both learned their skills on Argentina’s Potrero.

However, due to the context of his achievements, often in underdog teams, Maradona is generally regarded as the greatest of all time. 

Ultimately, Maradona’s brilliance made the difference countless times, and he was adored for his incredible soccer ability. So much so that Argentina had three days of mourning following his death in 2021. 

22-Week Marathon Training Plan

22-Week Marathon Training Plan
  • 22-Week Marathon Training Plan Is Designed With Beginners in Mind to Prepare Them for Their First Marathon (Who Can Run at Least 3 Miles with relative ease).
  • Use Your Breathing as Your Guide and Slow Your Pace Accordingly Through Walking or Light Jogging.
  • Have Fun With Cross-Training You Also Enjoy, Which Could Be Swimming, Biking, or Shooting Hoops Twice a Week on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Whist Saturday is almost always the race day – the following 22-week marathon training plan is designed to prepare you for your race day in a particular structure.

Your work schedule and family commitment may not allow you to work on the training plan to the T.

However, please follow the guided program as much as possible to help prepare yourself and give yourself the BEST CHANCE to complete your first marathon with pride and injury-free.

Swimming and biking are the best for your cross-training because they put LESS STRESS on your knees and joints while you get a good cardio. Please train at a moderate intensity anytime from 30-45 mins.

If you are a hooper or like hitting mitts, it is a good idea to use it as your cross training, or your cross training could include simple walking.

WeekMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
1Rest3 miRest3 miRest3 mi2 mi
2Rest3 miCross-training (CT) or Rest3 miRest4 mi3 mi
3Rest3 miCT4 miCT or Rest5 mi3 mi
4Rest3 miCT4 miCT or Rest6 mi3 mi
5Rest4 miCT4 miRest7 mi3 mi
6Rest5 miCT4 miCT or Rest8 mi3 mi
7Rest5 miCT4 miRest9 mi3 mi
8Rest5 miCT4 miCT or Rest10 mi3 mi
9Rest5 mi3 mi4 miRest6 mi4 mi
10Rest5 miCT4 miRest12 mi4 mi
11Rest5 miCT4 miCT or rest13 mi4 mi
12Rest5 miCT5 mi (1 Miles at Estimated Marathon Pace {EMP})Rest14 mi4 mi
13Rest5 miCT5 mi (2 Miles at EMP)CT or Rest10 mi5 mi
14Rest6 miCT5 mi (3 Miles at EMP)CT or Rest16 mi4 mi
15Rest6 miCT5 mi (3 Miles at EMP)CT or Rest10 mi4 mi
16Rest5 miCT5 mi (4 Miles at EMP)CT or Rest18 mi4 mi
17Rest5 miCT5 mi (4 Miles at EMP)CT or Rest10 mi5 mi
18Rest6 miCT6 mi (5 Miles at EMP)Rest19 mi4 mi
19Rest5 miCT6 mi (5 Miles at EMP)CT or Rest14 mi4 mi
20Rest4 miCT4 miCT or Rest20 mi3 mi
21Rest4 miCT3 miCT or Rest8 mi3 mi
22Rest2 miCTRest Day – All your hard work is done. Get a good full rest day.20 minutes light runIt’s Show Time!Rest Day!

Can I Run a Marathon in 22 Weeks?

As a general guide – If you can run 3 miles at relative ease – with the 22-week training plan, you can run a marathon in 22 weeks.

There are tons of videos on youtube of people running without training, but it could POTENTIALLY DAMAGE your joints or, in some cases, permanent injury.

Please follow the 22-week training plan and give yourself a good chance to complete a marathon without injury.

Is 20 Weeks Enough Time to Train for a Marathon?

Yes, if you are relatively fit and can run 3 miles at relative ease now – 20 weeks is enough time to train for a marathon.

Using the above 22-week marathon training plan, you could start from week three if 20 weeks are remaining for your marathon.

You can see from the marathon training plan above that you are gradually increasing the intensity and number of miles a couple of weeks before the race day.

How Long Does It Take To Go From Couch to Marathon?

This depends on how disciplined you will be in your training and diet ahead of the marathon and, your current health condition & your motivation level.

As a rough guideline, six months of preparation for a marathon give you a good chance to go from couch to marathon.

How Long Does It Take to Train for a Marathon if You Are Out of Shape?

A good nine months.

There is a saying, “Fence that builds fast – falls fast.”

If you are over-ambitious or you get inspired by the Forest Gump movie and decide you will run a marathon the next day without training.

I sure did get inspired by this movie, but if you are out of shape and decide to run a full marathon the next day – It could be the decision you may regret for the rest of your life.

Because you may well have caused permanent damage to your joints and your body.

Not only will you not be able to run or walk for the next few days, but it could also be detrimental to your health.

For your first 1 to 3 months, take baby steps to increase your fitness level. For example, it could be as simple as walking around the block or your garden.

At around five months, follow the 22-week marathon training plan to prepare for your marathon.

Ideally, your fitness level would be to be able to run 3 miles at relative ease before following the 22-week marathon training plan above.

If this is your first marathon, please don’t beat yourself up for not completing a marathon under 4 hours, among others.

If you are out of shape now and in the next nine months, go from out of shape to completing a marathon – 26 miles!

That is a HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT, and I applaud you for your effort.

When Should Your Last Long Run Be Before a Marathon?

You can see on the 22-week marathon training – a couple of weeks before the marathon should be your last long run.

This allows your mind and body to give you plenty of recoveries and rest before your race day. Good Luck!

Who is the All-Time Best African Soccer Team?

Best African Soccer Team

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • Cameroon, Egypt and Nigeria Are the All-Time Best African Soccer Teams Based on Titles and Achievements.
  • Senegal Is the Top-Ranked African Nation in Fifa World Rankings. 
  • African Nations Have Become More Competitive and Successful on the International Stage in the Last 30 Years.

There are many contenders for the best African soccer team in history.

Several nations have performed above AND BEYOND expectations in international tournaments to highlight Africa’s soccer talents. 

Like many passionate soccer fans, I watch the African nations at World Cups and the Africa Cup of Nations with interest and intrigue.

One of my clearest memories of historic performances that drew my attention to African soccer nations was Cameroon’s memorable quarter-final run at the FIFA 1990 World Cup.

Although I was born just after Italia 1990, my soccer-mad family owned a VHS highlight tape of the competition.

Often, after a day playing kickabouts over the local park or after a weekend morning full of training or matches in the mid-1990s, my brother and I would put the tape on to fulfill our further soccer fix. 

Other than the outrageous kits, watching England’s semi-final torment and enjoying the exploits of a sensational Diego Maradona…

…one of the GRIPPING ELEMENTS of this highlight reel was the performance of the Roger Milla-inspired Cameroon.

The image of Milla dancing around the corner flag in celebration and the scenes when the nine-man Indomitable Lions downed Argentina are images that spark pure imagination and shock in my soccer memory.

What this early experience showed me was that soccer is a global sport.

It is loved and adored by millions on almost every continent. But it also highlighted the flair, competitiveness and beauty of African soccer.

We take a look at some of the all-time greatest African soccer teams to come from Africa.

Also, we look back at some of the memorable moments that put the African nations on the soccer map. 

All-Time Greatest Soccer Teams from Africa

Ultimately, there is no one all-time greatest African soccer team.

Ultimately, there have been several top-quality sides that have competed in regional and international tournaments.

However, in recent decades, the competitiveness of African nations has increased hugely.

Between the eight World Cups from 1930 and 1966, Egypt was the only nation to feature in this competition.

The Egyptian side that played in Italy in 1934 was eliminated in the first round following a 4-2 defeat against Hungary.

Then, a 36-year barren spell set in before Morocco reached the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, 

But, an African nation has appeared at every World Cup since 1970.

In the last seven World Cups, four or more African teams have reached the finals, with varying levels of success. 

Although, in this spell of competitiveness for African nations, several teams from different eras have shone on the world stage.

In addition, many have achieved great continental success in the Africa Cup of Nations. 

Cameroon 

Besides their memorable performance at Italia 90, Cameroon has been one of the most consistent African nations in international soccer.

The Indomitable Lions have made the most appearances of any African nation at the World Cup finals (7). 

Also, they will be back for an eighth time in Qatar in 2022.

Cameroon sensationally beat Algeria in a knockout qualification match in March, where Karl Toko Ekambi scored a late, late goal, 

But, it is not just the World Cup where Cameroon has excelled.

The nation is also one of the most successful in Africa Cup of Nations history, winning the competition five times.

In 2017, the most recent of those AFCON victories came with what was described as the ‘worst Cameroon team in living memory’ pre-tournament.

However, the Indomitable Lions’ impressive record in major competitions shows that they are a true force to be reckoned with at the international level. 

Egypt

Perhaps as the first African nation to feature at a World Cup finals, Egypt may have an ESTEEMED REPUTATION to uphold.

This reputation has certainly translated into AFCON tournaments and the Pharaohs have dominated the competition several times.

Egypt is the all-time record-holder for AFCON victories, winning the tournament on seven occasions and they won the tournament three consecutive times between 2006 and 2010.

Yet, while the Pharaohs have achieved unrivaled continental success in the AFCON, they have not replicated this form at the World Cup.

Other than their historic appearance as the first African nation at a World Cup finals, Egypt has only made two more competitions since. In 1990 and 2018. 

Nigeria

As an avid fan of English soccer in the 1990s and 2000s, I grew up watching some of Nigeria’s generational talents compete in the Premier League and English Football League. 

Nwankwo Kanu was an exceptional player and became a cult hero under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, while Jay Jay Okocha took the Premier League by storm at Bolton, producing sensational, mind-boggling tricks and flicks to deceive defenders.

Then, players like Yakubu, Joseph Yobo, John Obi Mikel and Obafemi Martins also became regulars in the Premier League and achieved great success. 

Check out this link video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-9LIzW5T_A

Nigeria had experienced international success before this period, winning the AFCON in 1980.

But from the 1990s onwards has been a bright spell for the Super Eagles.

They lifted the AFCON again in 1994 and 2013 and they reached six of the last seven World Cup finals following their debut in 1994.

Best African Soccer Team 2022

Some African nations have experienced long-term success in international soccer.

However, the achievements of Cameroon, Egypt and Nigeria show us that winning titles is periodical. 

In my lifetime as a soccer fan, some of the best African soccer teams have changed year by year.

When I was very young, in the early 1990s, the talk was all about Cameroon, especially after they won the hearts of soccer fans at Italia ‘90. 

Then, in the late 90s to mid-00s, Nigeria was considered the best African nation.

Also, during the 2010 World Cup, Ghana had a spell of success, reaching the quarter-finals, only to be eliminated in controversial circumstances by Uruguay. 

Like all soccer teams, African nations experience ups and downs in international soccer.

But, judging by recent triumphs combined with the official FIFA World rankings, one team is the leader currently. Senegal is considered the best African soccer team in 2022. 

Much like 1990s Cameroon and 2000s Nigeria, 2020s present-day Senegal has a wealth of talent, which has produced great recent success. 

Led by record goalscorer Sadio Mane, the Lions of Teranga won their first-ever AFCON in 2022, after finishing as runners-up in 2019.

The side also qualified for their first-ever consecutive World Cups after reaching the finals in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

Today, they are placed 18th in the world rankings, their highest-ever position. 

If Senegal can build on their AFCON-winning momentum at the 2022 World Cup finals, they could write themselves into African soccer folklore.

An impressive performance at the competition will also stake their claim to be one of the best-ever African soccer teams.

Helping Players to Succeed: The Best 9v9 Soccer Formations

The Best 9v9 Soccer Formations

Your Guide

Alex Waite Alex Waite

  • Coaches Choose the Best 9v9 Soccer Formations to Get the Best Out of the Players in Their Squad.
  • Hundreds of Formations Are Available and Each Has Its Pros and Cons.
  • Formations Are Not Rigid, Coaches and Players Can Train and Utilize Various Formations in Matches.

Picking the best 9v9 soccer formations can be a challenge for coaches and soccer players.

In reality, having fewer players on a team should give a coach fewer headaches regarding formation. But it is actually MORE DIFFICULT in some respects.

For example, in one season I coached 9v9 youth soccer and had 15 excellent players in my squad.

Ultimately, as per the English FA’s guidance for youth players in small-sided football, my role was to GET THE BEST out of these players…

…by putting them in positions where THEY WOULD EXCEL, whilst keeping the balance of the team. 

However, getting the best out of each player, whilst remaining competitive in matches was initially a challenge.

We experimented with various 9v9 formations until we eventually found a settled tactical setup that suited our needs. 

Although we did not win any leagues or trophies in that season, the players enjoyed their soccer.

Also, I learned a lot as a coach that the formation in this form of soccer is essential to a well-balanced and happy team. 

To help 9v9 coaches and players make the best choices when it comes to picking the right formation, we provide some analysis of some of the most common tactics.

Also, we will outline some of the pros and cons of the available formation. 

What is the Best Formation in 9v9 Soccer?

Unfortunately, there is no ultimate, best 9v9 soccer formation that will produce miracles.

Players and coaches have a huge number of options available when it comes to setup and tactics.

However, the main considerations are always these:

How do I get the best out of my players available?

How can I create development opportunities for players?

How can we remain competitive?

Again, there is no quick way of getting the formation and tactics right straight away.

In fact, rotating players, especially developing youth soccer players has benefits and coaches can implement ‘shifts’ and a ‘three-game rotation’ model to support soccer role familiarity.

In my experience, after playing or coaching matches, I often left after a defeat and tried to figure out WHAT WENT WRONG.

Sometimes, I’d be at work the following week and ideas on formation changes would spring into mind that we could try in the upcoming matches.

This trial and error is a good way, especially at the youth level, to find what suits your players best and to find what builds confidence. 

Alternatively, coaches may find that some formations stick straight away.

Occasionally, players just get their instructions and the tactics and the whole team clicks.

But, training different formations for competitive soccer does not harm either.

Through this, players get exposure to DIFFERENT STYLES OF PLAY and they develop their knowledge and understanding of soccer.

Below, we share some of the most common 9v9 formations used in soccer.

However, these are a starter guides, each with pros and cons.

Essentially, there are hundreds of different ways to set up a team and picking the best formation will depend on the strengths and weaknesses of the players available. 

3-3-2 

When I take on a coaching position with any new team, this is my go-to formation.

I regularly use it during pre-season training sessions or as a starting point.

This is because one of the most balanced formations and I can see what positions players are best suited for.

In addition, research shows that playing young players in certain positions in training should be done before giving them REAL MATCH EXPOSURE in an unfamiliar role. 

Tactically, there are also benefits to the 3-3-2.

For instance, it makes your team hard to break down with two lines of three defenders and three midfielders.

But, the setup also helps the team to get forward and attack in numbers, with the midfield three, or even the defenders, moving up the pitch when in possession. 

Yet, the downsides are the lack of flexibility and it requires players to be quite rigid in their approach.

For example, when I first used this formation with one youth team, I put one of my players on the right in the midfield three.

He wasn’t used to defending and he became a weakness in the formation when the other team had the ball.

The same applies to the attacking players, who sometimes stay too far up the pitch in and out of possession. 

4-3-1

Any team that is loaded with good defenders may prefer the 4-3-1 formation.

This setup has four defenders, similar to how many 11v11 sides would pick their formation, with two central defenders, and two fullbacks. 

Some of the benefits of this formation are that all defensive areas should be well-covered when the opposition is in possession.

For instance, the two full-backs should snub out any danger from wide areas and the central defenders can control the more narrow sections.

It also has the option for players to be flexible, with the full-backs joining in with attacks and the midfielders contributing more offensively when necessary.

But, one of the biggest cons of the 4-3-1 is the lone striker’s isolation.

Often, playing as a lone striker effectively requires excellent awareness and tactical positioning.

When the ball is released to the striker in this formation, it is often their role to keep possession and pass to teammates when they support.

Alternatively, they CAN GO IT ALONE to cause a goalscoring threat on the counterattack. However, for many, developing players, these demands are quite challenging. 

2-3-3

In contrast, the 2-3-3 formation is a more attacking-minded approach to 9v9 soccer.

Three attackers and midfielders mean the team tries to control the match in the opposition’s half.

However, the midfielders and attackers may play more fluid roles when defending, running back to support the two-player defense.

This setup helps the team to keep pressure on the opposition by pressing them high up the pitch.

Also, attacking options are plentiful with lots of players supporting attacks when a team is in possession.

\But the clear downsides are from a defensive viewpoint.

Playing two defenders is a RISKY MOVE and leaves a team vulnerable to counter-attacks.

Also, the midfield players may have to work hard, running up and down the pitch to support defense and attack.

Ultimately, using this formation will depend on whether you have effective attacking players.

Coaches may also need their defensive pair to be very organized and structured to all the attackers to keep pressure on the opposition. 

2-1-2-1 

The 2-1-2-1 formation has some quite complex tactical roles that often resemble similar positions on a 11v11 setup.

In this formation, a midfielder plays just in front of the defensive pair.

Then, two other midfielders occupy spaces higher up the pitch to support a lone striker.

With this formation, the players are distributed well across the central areas of the pitch, which forces the opposition into wide, unthreatening areas when they attack. 

One of the key roles in this formation is the player in front of the defense, also known as the holding midfielder.

This player often tries to break up opposition attacks and then distributes the ball to DICTATE THE TEMPO of the game.

This requires positional awareness, good vision and communication with teammates.

Although this formation provides a good balance between defense and attack, essentially with a three-player defense and three-player attack, there are some cons.

The narrow setup leaves teams vulnerable to overloads in the wide areas.

For instance, the two defenders can easily get drawn from central positions into wide positions, leaving vulnerable areas exposed. 

Why is the Formation Important?

Soccer formations are important because they give the team structure and a common goal when approaching a match.

The formation could be based on attacking or DEFENDING EFFECTIVELY.

Additionally, it can be used and adapted to counter opposition threats or play to your team’s strengths.

However, as child soccer players develop and they move up to 7v7 and 9v9 formats, they can develop a deeper understanding of the sport by playing in formations.

Exposing young players to formations can help development and awareness. 

Although, doing this too early and being too rigid with player positions and roles can backfire.

Ultimately, as coaches and passionate soccer fans, we want young players to enjoy soccer and play with youthful freedom first and foremost.

Choosing the right formation can achieve both of these aims, but understanding your players and how to utilize their strengths is the key to achieving the balance between player development and enjoyment. 

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top