7v7 Soccer Positions

7v7 Soccer Positions

The number of players on the field is dictated by the size of the field and the age group. For team’s 13 years and older, a 11v11 is the standard. But, for younger players, 9v9, 7v7 of 5v5 are ideal formats as they are still learning the game.

soccer positions (1)

In addition to outdoor soccer, many indoor soccer and futsal games are played with less than eleven players to a side because of the smaller field dimensions.

In this article, we’ll go deeper into the mechanics of 7v7 soccer positions, specifically looking at the various formations that a 7-a-side team may leverage.

Let’s first talk about the situations in which 7v7 games take place before moving on to those formations.

Why Is 7v7 Played?

Coaches may use 7v7 as a stepping stone to teach their players the fundamentals of 11-a-side play by introducing them to the notion of formations without compromising the advantages of the smaller format.

Or, players might simply be at the age where 7v7 is more appropriate for their development.

Let’s check over a few of the most common 7v7 motives.

Learn About Formations

Formations are rarely used in small-sided possession games or coaching drills during training sessions.

However, 7v7 games are a fantastic way to introduce young soccer players to the concept of formations and shapes and to show them how strategically positioning themselves on the field may improve their team’s chances of success.

Easier To Access

Finding a nearby soccer field that meets the requirements for an 11-a-side game in terms of size, markings, and goals can be challenging.

Unlike 11v11, 7v7 may be played on smaller fields in urban locations (such as a local school) and at any time of day. Therefore, many people consider 7v7 soccer to be a more manageable version of the sport.

Excellent for Fitness

7v7 soccer can be extremely difficult and, when played properly, demands significant amount of stamina and energy. There’s always a next play in small-sided games.

Many players choose 7v7 because it allows them to get in peak soccer shape while still having a good time without committing to the higher level of play and competitiveness that 11-a-side necessitates.

7v7 Soccer Positions & Formations

Now that we’ve already discussed the fundamentals of 7v7 soccer, let’s move on to the most effective and often-used formations.

2-3-1 Formation

2-3-1 Formation

Among 7-on-7 soccer teams, the 2-3-1 formation is by far the most common and often used. This formation features a decent distribution of players around the field.

It gives strength in numbers in the pivotal midfield area, with (1) goalkeeper, (2) central defenders, (3) midfielders (a left, a right, and a center), and (1) forward.

It’s ideal to have one quick defender who can cover like a sweeper and another who can push higher up the field to help out the midfield. This formation has a solid core but needs support from the midfield to succeed.

A team’s two wide midfielders are expected to take on the wingbacks’ role, protecting the back line and assisting the lone attacker.

The center midfielder is responsible for defending the area outside the penalty box and igniting offensive plays.

Because of the lone position, attackers often have to wait for help without moving the ball themselves or go it alone during quick counterattacks. The attacker must be quick and agile, and must have a strong midfielder core to generate scoring opportunities.

With each player’s function clearly defined, young athletes will have an easier time learning where to play on the field.

To maintain possession and advance through the thirds from defense to attack, the formation also aids in putting players in positions to create diamonds and triangles.

While there aren’t many issues with this formation, it’s important to remember that the defense might be left shorthanded if the midfielders aren’t getting back.

Opposing teams with elite attackers may also find openings in the broad defensive areas.

2-1-2-1 Formation

2-1-2-1 Formation

Both the 2-3-1 and the 2-1-2-1 formations have a lot in common with each other.

This formation puts players in positions that lend themselves to developing triangles and diamonds all over the field.

The 3 midfielders in this formation are arranged differently than they would be in a 2-3-1. One midfielder sits in a deeper position, while the other two play somewhat farther forward in an offensive formation.

With the two attacking midfielders helping out the lone striker more, this formation can be quite effective offensively.

The midfielders are a bit more compact, but this might leave you vulnerable to wide-area assaults from the other team.

In any case, this is still another great choice and a 7v7 setup that should be quite simple for younger players to learn.

3-1-2 Formation

3-1-2 Formation

Those teams in need of more security in the backline might try out the 3-1-2 formation.

Having an additional player in the back line helps cover all areas of the defensive third of the field with (3) defenders (a left, a right, and a center), (1) midfielder, and (2) forwards.

It becomes (in principle) more difficult for your opponents to score.

The apparent disadvantage of this formation is that it leaves you vulnerable to more attacks on your own goal due to the lack of players in the midfield.

To counter that, the team needs its two attackers and two outside defenders to be flexible in their positioning and willing to chip in when needed, especially in the wide midfield areas.

3-2-1 Formation

3-2-1 Formation

The 3-2-1 formation is the last one we’ll cover for 7v7 matchups.

Park the bus!

Without a doubt, this is the most defensive formation in 7v7 soccer. It’s similar to the 3-1-2 in that it has (3) defenders and (2) central midfielders, but it’s stronger because of the extra players in the middle.

Having so many players concentrated in the middle of the field might make your team incredibly difficult to penetrate.

Once you regain control, the 3-2-1 formation isn’t ideal for a possession-based style of play. You have fewer attacking possibilities with just (1) striker and no wide players.

Even if your side is constantly getting blown out by more agile opponents, “parking the bus” and playing the 3-2-1 could be the best course of action!

Factors to Think About When Picking a Lineup

Even though soccer coaches have their own guiding principles and preferred style of play, there are a number of considerations that must be made before settling on a final lineup.

For example, if you don’t have the players to play their specific role for your preferred formation, sticking with it will be ineffective.

Similarly, if your team consistently dominates the league and blows out their opponents, switching things up will help them improve upon their weaknesses. One way to do this is to rotate players through different roles and formations to increase their playing time and challenge them.

Given that 7v7 is often played on smaller fields by youth teams, the primary goal at this stage in their development is to get the players learning, improving, and enjoying the sport.

Therefore, here are some things to think about while picking the best 7v7 formation:


You should always try to maximize your team’s strengths while deciding on a formation. Depending on your team’s skill level, you may want to play an offensive or defensive shape.

At the end of the day, you want to put your players in the best possible scenario to succeed.

Your Opponent

When facing an opponent known for their offensive skills, adopting a more compact and defensive structure might be advantageous.

Although it may come off as abnormal, changing your strategy to counter your opponent’s strengths might provide a welcome pretext for instructing your team in a new formation and approach to the game.

Focus on Player Development

Youth soccer is focused on player development, so while there may be stronger players on a team, the goal is the same for all players. As coaches, player development is essential to not only the team but the longevity of the youth soccer player.

As motivational author Tony Robbins said, “Progress equals happiness. Even if you’re not where you want to be yet. If you’re on the road, if you’re improving, if you’re making progress, you’re gonna love it. You’re gonna feel alive.”

Practice Various Formations

It’s important to test out different formations in practice to find what works best for your team.

The team’s placement and knowledge of the game will grow regardless, and you could even find a fantastic formation you hadn’t considered before.

Every coach knows there is no ideal formation since it must be tailored to each individual team.

Therefore, try out different formations to determine which works best for your team and which helps your players learn and grow as the years go on.


We’ve deconstructed 7v7 soccer positions. With these different formations, team’s can keep their players organized as best as possible.

For the younger age groups (under 10), players will have a difficult time keeping their shape. It’s best to keep it simple and remind them during breaks or if they are subbed out. Give these players some lee-way as you don’t want to box them in too much at an early age.

However, if players are taught at a younger age about the different positions and the fundamentals, they will be better at grasping the concept as they approach a 11v11 set!

Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created soccernovo.com to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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