Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Feedback: Introducing Position Play
by SA Editorial, May 7th, 2009 5:30PM



Soccer America Members can post their feedback on's Blog and Commentary section using the link provided at the bottom of our e-letters. Selected posts are included periodically in the e-letters. Below are reader comments on a recent edition of the Youth Soccer Insider:

By Chad McNichol

Rather than have positions for U-12s and under at our club, we teach our players to identify basic shape. Height, width and depth. We ask them to try and always establish good shape no matter where you are on the field. To help them out in 6 vs. 6 we play a 1-3-2; in 8 vs. 8 we play 1-2-3-2. Players are encouraged to change positions according to the movement and possession of the ball.

By stressing shape instead of positions we allow all of our players to attack and all to defend. Yes, we do get caught with no one defending at times, but that is how we learn. Parents have more of an issue with this then the kids. Chad, your approach is good and beneficial for the kids keep up the great work.

I coach U-9 in Chicagoland. Instead of focusing on positions, I focus on roles by teaching the commitments of the different players on the field. As the players learn the roles, they understand how to orient during the game.

We also teach the players that their role can change during play. For example, with 7 vs. 7, we assign two players to play the role of defense. If the player holding the role of defender has the ball and space, he changes roles to attack, and a teammate covers the role of defense. So there is a way to do this without leaving all of them in complete ambiguity without a description of what they should care about in their role (which is like telling a baseball player only that he is an infielder).

Recently, we re-named our defenders "super-backs" because we expect them to attack aggressively when they have the ball and space. Super-back is now the most popular role on the team because they love to go on long dribbling runs and run at defenders and use their moves. It is not uncommon to see our defenders serving balls from the endline or be in front of the goal ready to finish a play they started.

Now, I have a special group of players who are very interested, very willing, and nicely skilled, which is certainly not the situation on every team.

With this group (and with many others) I imagine it is safe to teach that some players' primary roles are to keep the ball out of the goal, that some players' primary roles are to contribute on both ends of the field, and that some players are generally "up top" to help our team score and hold possession when we win the ball. At least, that is my opinion based on my experience.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Reffing Futsal (Part 1): Calling and counting fouls     
Futsal has been growing rapidly in the USA as it's a wonderful player development tool. But ...
'Fun, friends and health' is what youth soccer should be about (Q&A Shannon Higgins-Cirovski)    
After starting for the USA when it won the inaugural Women's World Cup on 1991, Shannon ...
After Concussion: Don't Just See A Doctor, Be Sure To See The Right Doctor    
Much has been written about concussion in young athletes but today I want to devote a ...
Ref Watch: How the last game of the season can present unique challenges    
I'm a positive thinker. But all the positive-thinking in the world cannot erase the fact that ...
Brain expert explains the wisdom of USSF's heading policy for youngsters     
Dr. Robert Cantu, one of the USA's leading experts on concussions in sports, responded to some ...
The border tug of war: Mexico courting U.S. talent is a 'good sign'    
In 1998, the Mexican government changed its laws to allow dual citizenship, thus enabling U.S.-born Mexican-Americans ...
Heading ban for 10-year-olds and younger makes sense, but important concussion questions remain    
In recent years, new science has provided clearer information on the dangers of concussions and studies ...
Stop interrupting: Substitute sensibly     
Part of this I found amusing as I reffed 8-year-old boys whose coach had them wear ...
College Choice: Taking the right steps makes the process more enjoyable    
Selecting the right college can be frustrating, and even cause anxiety for many families. Many kids ...
Throw-ins: What refs get wrong and what coaches can do right     
What rule do refs in the youth game tend to get wrong most often?
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives