Youth Soccer Positions – Soccer Formations for Different Age Groups 

Whether you’re a budding player or a curious fan, discovering the various positions in youth soccer can enhance your appreciation of the sport. Being a starter, you may not know about them. So, what are the different youth soccer positions? 

In youth soccer, positions are divided into four primary categories: forwards, midfielders, defenders, and goalkeepers. Each position comes with its unique set of roles and responsibilities, contributing to the team’s overall performance. Whether you’re aspiring to score goals, control the midfield, defend with determination, or safeguard the net, there’s a position tailored to your skills and preferences.

In this guide, we’ll explore the rules and regulations governing youth soccer positions and provide valuable insights to help you choose the perfect role for your soccer journey. So, let’s lace up those cleats and embark on a soccer adventure together!

Youth Soccer Positions- Types and Variations

Soccer formations and positions are the backbone of any successful team. Understanding the roles, formations, and strategies for each format, whether it’s 6v6, 7v7, 8v8, 9v9, or 11v11, is crucial for players, coaches, and fans alike. Let’s explore these position types in detail.

Key Takeaways

  • Youth soccer involves various positions, including forwards, midfielders, defenders, wingers, sweepers, and goalkeepers, each with distinct roles.
  • Position types and formations can vary based on the number of players on the field, such as 6v6, 7v7, 8v8, 9v9, and 11v11, each requiring specific strategies.
  • Youth players progress through age groups, learning different position types as they develop fundamental skills.
  • The soccer number system traditionally associates jersey numbers with specific positions, aiding player identification.
  • Visualizing positions on the field through maps and understanding how they change with formations is crucial for tactical awareness.

For 6v6 Soccer Formations

In a 6v6 soccer formation, simplicity reigns. Each player has a clear role:

  • Defenders (2): These players guard the goal and prevent the opposing team from scoring. Their primary responsibility is to maintain a solid defensive line and minimize scoring opportunities for the opponent.
  • Midfielders (2): Midfielders control the center of the field. They act as playmakers, distributing passes, and transitioning the ball from defense to offense. Their role is pivotal in maintaining possession.
  • Forward (1): The forward focuses on scoring goals. This player needs to be agile, quick, and have a good eye for goal. They are the team’s primary attacking force.

Optimal Formations

The most common and balanced formation for 6v6 soccer is the 2-2-1 formation:

  • 2 Defenders
  • 2 Midfielders
  • 1 Forward

However, the optimal formation may vary depending on your team’s strengths and playing style. Other formations like 1-3-1 or 2-1-2 can also be effective.

Strategies for Success

In 6v6 soccer, teamwork and communication are key. Here are some strategies for success:

  • Pass and Move: Encourage players to pass the ball and constantly move off the ball to create passing lanes and opportunities.
  • Defensive Compactness: Maintain a compact defense to deny the opponent space to exploit.
  • Quick Transitions: Transition quickly from defense to offense when possession is regained.

For 7v7 Soccer Positions

The 2-3-1 formation is widely regarded as one of the best formations for 7v7 soccer. It consists of:

  • 2 Defenders
  • 3 Midfielders
  • 1 Forward

This 7 player soccer formation offers a balanced approach with a solid defense, midfield control, and an attacking presence.

7v7 Soccer Position Numbers and Their Roles

Understanding the significance of each position number in 7v7 soccer formation is vital:

  • Central Midfielder (4): This player controls the center of the pitch, linking defense and attack. They distribute passes, maintain possession, and often dictate the game’s tempo.
  • Wing Attacker (7): The wing attacker operates on the flanks, using speed and dribbling skills to advance the ball and create scoring opportunities.
  • Defensive Midfielder (5): Positioned just in front of the defense, this player shields the backline and disrupts the opponent’s attacks.

Youth Soccer 7 on 7 Soccer Formations

Youth soccer in the 7v7 format introduces players to specialized roles like youth midfielder, youth defender, and youth striker. These roles help young players develop specific skills and understanding of their positions.

For 8v8 Soccer Formations

In 8v8 soccer, a common formation is the 3-3-1 arrangement:

  • 3 Defenders
  • 3 Midfielders
  • 1 Forward

This formation requires players who can play multiple roles, transitioning between defense and attack effectively.

Formations for 8v8 Soccer

Teams may experiment with formations based on their style and strengths. Formations like 2-3-2 or 1-2-3-1 can provide different tactical advantages.

Tactical Considerations

Tactical considerations in 8v8 soccer involve strategies like:

  • Building from the Back: Starting the attack from the defense, involving defenders in playmaking.
  • Pressing High: Putting pressure on the opponent in their half to regain possession.
  • Effective Ball Distribution: Utilizing midfielders for precise passing and ball control.

For 9 v 9 Soccer Positions

With nine players on each side, the 9 v 9 format introduces new dynamics. Players adapt to formations like 3-3-2, focusing on maintaining a solid defense while pushing forward.

Positional Strategies

Positional strategies may include:

  • Holding Midfielder: This player balances between defense and attack, supporting both aspects effectively.
  • Wingback: Wingbacks contribute to both defensive and offensive phases, often covering the flanks.
  • Second Striker: Positioned between midfield and the forward line, the second striker supports the attack.

For 11v11 Soccer Positions

In 11v11 soccer, traditional positions include:

  • Fullback: Defensive players on the flanks, responsible for both defense and supporting the attack.
  • Defensive Midfielder: Shields the defense and initiates attacks.
  • Center Forward: The primary goal scorer who often plays close to the opponent’s goal.

Specialized Roles

As players progress, they may take on specialized roles like playmaker (Number 10), striker (Number 9), or goalkeeper (Number 1), depending on their skills and team strategies.

Strategies for the Larger Field

With a larger field, strategic play becomes crucial. Strategies like quick transitions, exploiting wide areas, and maintaining possession adapt to the larger playing surface.

Soccer Positions by Age

Soccer Positions by Age

Soccer is a sport that encourages players of all ages to participate and grow. Understanding soccer positions by age is crucial in nurturing young talents and helping them develop their skills while enjoying the game. Let’s explore the different position types for U12, U10, U9, and U8 soccer players.

U12 Soccer Positions

At the U12 level, players are introduced to more defined positions, allowing them to specialize in roles that suit their skills and interests. Here are some common positions:

  • Attacking Midfielder: Positioned in the midfield, these players focus on creating scoring opportunities. They have good passing, dribbling, and vision.
  • Central Defender: Responsible for maintaining a solid defense. They should be good at tackling, positioning, and distributing the ball.
  • Goalkeeper: The last line of defense, goalkeepers need excellent reflexes, positioning, and communication skills.

U10 Soccer Positions

As players progress to the U10 level, they continue to build on the fundamentals while exploring slightly more specialized positions. U10 soccer positions in the 7v7 format may include:

  • Attacking Forward: These players are eager to score goals and have good dribbling skills. They often play as the primary striker.
  • Wingback: Positioned on the flanks, wingbacks need speed and the ability to contribute to both defense and attack.
  • Central Midfielder: Central midfielders control the game’s flow, passing the ball, and supporting both defense and offense.

U9 Soccer Positions

U9 soccer introduces young players to more structured positions while keeping it simple and fun. In the 7v7 format, positions like sweeper defender, wing midfielder, and forward striker can be observed:

  • Sweeper Defender: Positioned just in front of the defensive line, sweepers ensure the backline is secure and ready to clear the ball.
  • Wing Midfielder: These players operate on the wings, using their speed to advance the ball and create opportunities for their team.
  • Forward Striker: Focused on scoring goals, strikers aim to find the back of the net and often lead the attack.

U8 Soccer Positions

U8 soccer is all about introducing young players to the sport while keeping it enjoyable. Positions at this age might not be as rigid, but they help players get a feel for different roles. Positions in the 7v7 format could include:

  • Creative Playmaker: These players often have a natural flair for the game and enjoy dribbling and making creative plays.
  • Center Back: Positioned in defense, center-backs learn the basics of defending and team positioning.
  • Forward: Forwards in U8 soccer enjoy the thrill of scoring goals and are encouraged to develop their shooting skills.

Soccer Position Map

Understanding the soccer positions map and how positions adapt to different formations is essential for coaches and players alike.  Here is a representation of different position within the soccer; 

PositionResponsibilitiesTypical Jersey Number
Goalkeeper (GK)Prevent goals by blocking shots1
Distribute the ball to initiate attacks
Right Back (RB)Defend against opposition wingers2
Support attacks by overlapping right midfielders
Left Back (LB)Defend against opposition wingers3
Support attacks by overlapping left midfielders
Right Center BackDefend against central and right-sided attacks4
(RCB)Initiate build-up play from the back
Left Center Back (LCB)Defend against central and left-sided attacks5
Distribute the ball to start attacks
Defensive MidfielderShield the defense from opposition attacks6
(DM)Distribute passes to start attacks
Right Midfielder/WingerProvide width in attacks on the right flank7
(RM)Deliver crosses and through balls
Central Midfielder (CM)Control the midfield and dictate play8
Link defense to attack
Striker/Center ForwardScore goals and lead the attacking line9
(S/CF)Create goal-scoring opportunities
Attacking Midfielder/Playmake, create scoring chances10
Playmaker (AM)Provide assists and dictate the tempo of the game
Left Midfielder/WingerProvide width in attacks on the left flank11
(LM)Deliver crosses and through balls

Soccer Number System

In soccer, numbers aren’t just digits on a jersey; they’re a code that reveals a player’s position and role on the field. To the uninitiated, these numbers may seem arbitrary, but they carry significant meaning in the soccer world. Let’s delve into the soccer number system to decipher the secrets behind these numbers and understand their role in team organization.

The Basics of Soccer Numbers:

  • Number 1 (Goalkeeper): The number 1 jersey is exclusively reserved for the goalkeeper. This player is the last line of defense, tasked with preventing the opposing team from scoring goals. They wear gloves and often have a distinct kit color to stand out.

Outfield Player Numbers:

  • Number 2 and 3 (Right Back and Left Back): These full-backs typically operate on the defensive flanks. Number 2 usually plays on the right, while number 3 takes the left side. They provide defensive cover and support wide attacks.
  • Number 4 and 5 (Center Backs): Central defenders, often called center-backs, wear numbers 4 and 5. They form the backbone of the defense, aiming to stop opposing forwards and initiate attacks from the back.
  • Number 6 (Defensive Midfielder): The number 6 is usually assigned to the defensive midfielder, a pivotal position that shields the defense, intercepts passes, and distributes the ball to initiate attacks.
  • Number 7 and 11 (Wingers): Wingers, operating on the right (number 7) and left (number 11) flanks, are known for their speed and ability to deliver crosses into the opponent’s box. They add width to the attack.
  • Number 8 (Central Midfielder): The number 8 often represents the central midfielder. This player controls the game’s tempo, links defense to attack, and orchestrates plays from the center of the pitch.
  • Number 9 (Striker/Center Forward): Strikers, including center-forwards, don the number 9 jersey. Their primary goal is to score goals and lead the attacking line. They are often the focal point of the attack.
  • Number 10 (Playmaker): The number 10 is iconic in soccer, reserved for the playmaker. This player is a creative force, providing assists, dictating the game’s flow, and crafting scoring opportunities.
Credit: Mr.Animate

Modern Variations:

While the traditional soccer number system remains prevalent, modern tactics and player versatility have led to variations. For example, a midfielder may wear number 7, or a forward might wear number 11. These changes reflect the evolving nature of soccer and the blending of roles on the field.

Importance of the Soccer Number System:

Understanding jersey numbers is essential for fans, coaches, and players. It provides valuable insights into a player’s role and position, aiding in tactical analysis and team coordination. When a coach shouts “Number 10,” everyone knows they’re referring to the playmaker.


Understanding youth soccer positions and formations is essential for any budding soccer player. As you progress in your soccer journey, you’ll discover the position that suits you best. To improve your skills, consider exploring online soccer training programs designed to help you become the best player you can be. Whether you dream of being a striker like your favorite forward or a midfield maestro orchestrating plays, the world of soccer positions awaits your exploration.


How many players on soccer field for u12?

In a standard U12 soccer game, there are usually nine players on the field for each team. This includes one goalkeeper and eight outfield players, who take on various positions to defend, attack, and create scoring opportunities.

What are the soccer positions for kids?

Soccer positions for kids can vary depending on their age and the format of the game. Common positions for young soccer players include forward, midfielder, defender, winger, sweeper, and goalkeeper. These positions help kids develop their skills and understanding of the game.

To further support their soccer journey, it’s essential to have the right equipment in your backyard. Discover the top recommended soccer goals for young players to ensure your child gets the most out of their practice sessions.

How many soccer positions are there?

In soccer, there are typically 11 primary positions, though this can vary based on the team’s formation and tactics. These positions include goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, and forward. Each of these positions has its own unique role and responsibilities on the field, contributing to the team’s overall strategy and performance.

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