7v7 soccer formation [Complete Guide for Soccer Coaches 2024]

In the US, there is a transition time in grassroots soccer that we play the 7v7 soccer formation. It is in the U9 and U10 age groups, also known as the Development League. This structure is the first time that players start to stick to a position, so it is important to understand them and coach the right lessons. This is the transition from 4v4 and it is the path to 9v9, so that should be considered when choosing the formation. We are using formations for player development and the long-term plan in mind.

What is the best 7v7 soccer formation?

There is no one best formation for winning the game, as we talked about in the 4v4 guide. However, as you have two years of development at this age, we recommend doing the 2-3-1 for one year. This includes the 4-1-1 and 2-1-3 variations. Then in the second year, give 3-2-1 a shot to see if there is a natural central defender and to test the waters of playing with two central midfielders. That will help the transition to 9v9 where both 3-1-3-1 and 2-3-2-1 will be possible with the player development that you have.


7v7 soccer formation 2-3-1 by Rondo Coach Formation Tool
Created by Rondo Coach Formation Tool


7v7 soccer formation 3-2-1 by Rondo Coach Formation Tool
Created by Rondo Coach Formation Tool

2-3-1 [Guide and Progression]

This is the formation that we recommend, as it has several benefits. Compared to 4v4, we have new positions in 4, 5, and 6.  The two central defenders are starting to build a partnership with each other, and with the goalkeeper. The central mid is really starting to develop and the best player will be placed there. 

Start with this 7v7 soccer formation and let the players learn at least two different roles. The roles are defender, winger, central mid, and striker. Then try the variations of the formation to adjust to the players and the situation. There are two variations to this one – 4-1-1 and 2-1-3, depending on the role of the central midfielder.


Goalie plays with their feet and makes decisions, as there is no one defender in front of them

Wingers are both defenders and attackers, so we develop complete players

The central midfielder can be trained as both a defensive and attacking midfielder


Wingers have to be fast and disciplined

The skill of the two defenders have to be similar

The central midfielder takes lots of responsibility and it is possible that nobody on the team can play that role proficiently

4-1-1 (defensive 2-3-1)

7v7 soccer formation 4-1-1 by Rondo Coach Formation Tool
Created by Rondo Coach Formation Tool

2-1-3 (attacking 2-3-1)

3-2-1 [Guide and Progression]

The 3-2-1 formation is the other logical choice and we recommend using that to supplement for what the 2-3-1 formation cannot teach. Remember, we are using these formations to coach, not just to win games.

There are multiple reasons why this formation can work well, but the biggest one is if there is a natural best defender and if there are two central midfielders that can split the duties and balance each other. If at 9v9 we use our favorite 2-3-2-1 formation, then the two attacking midfielders are the two attacking midfielders from here.


We develop two central midfielders that can work well together

The central defender is well-developed and likely develop a great communicator

The central midfielder takes lots of responsibility and it is possible that nobody on the team can play that role proficiently


Being a goalie can be very boring, as the defender took some of the responsibilities

More often than not all three defenders will stay back, so we’ll attack with only three players

The players in the middle will have much more of the ball and we will lack quality development of the team


This is the natural attacking formation of 3-2-1. Ideally, only one of the wingbacks will help on the attack, while the other one will shift to the defense. At this age, it is great to try and coach that. 

Unfortunately, this is what we have seen the formation looks like when U9 or U10 players are put in this structure. It lacks natural variations of triangles and diamonds, and playing possession soccer is almost impossible. 


4v4 Formation by Rondo Coach Formation Tool
8v8 Soccer Formation 2-4-1
9v9 soccer formation 2-3-2-1 by Rondo Coach Formation Tool
6v6 Soccer Formation 2-1-2
7v7 soccer formation 2-3-1 by Rondo Coach Formation Tool

This is the full guide on how to coach the two years of 7v7 in youth soccer development. We focus on what skills our players need to develop through the games as experiences. We develop wingers and wingbacks that are fast and responsible. We develop defenders that can operate alone or in partnerships. Our goalies are good with their feet. The striker press the line high, while having freedom to go on the wings. Finally, we develop the central midfielders in both offensive and defensive duties. Our goal is to develop complete players and this is the complete guide on how to do that in 7v7 soccer formations, appropriate for the age.