Best 9v9 Soccer Formations

9v9 formations are a great stepping stone between 7v7 and 11v11. Not only do they help players develop their confidence and knowledge, but they’re also ideal for preparing them for professional positioning and tactics.

9v9 games are usually played by 11-13 year olds and is where they develop and hone their techniques before playing on a full size pitch.

This is when the players really start to come into their own and learn how to work alongside their teammates as well as improving individual performance. 

There are certain factors that need to be considered before deciding which 9v9 soccer formation to opt for. In this article, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about what to think about followed by the top 9v9 formations that you should try. 

What to consider before deciding which formation to do

It’s important to remember that formations are not one size fits all as each team is unique. There are certain factors that you need to think about before deciding on the formation.

Choosing the right formation will give your team a strong structure and shape which makes it hard for the opponents to play against. Here is what you need to consider:


The first thing you always should think about when it comes to anything relating to soccer are the players.

Knowing what your team is strongest as it will give you a great starting path as well as helping you to recognize any areas of improvement that can be worked upon by trying some challenging formations to help your players work on their skills and tactics. 


Choosing the formation will dictate the balance and shape of the team which is incredibly important when it comes to dictating the possession of the ball during the game.

For example, choosing a team that has a strong attack may leave the defense at risk as they may become outnumbered if the opponents also choose a formation strong in attack.

Making sure you consider the balance of the team will help your team work together and understand their roles better. 


Just as important as considering your players is, it’s equally important to think about your opponents.

If you are playing a team that is known for being strong in defense then you may want to think about carrying out a formation that has a strong attack and vice versa.

It’s always best to know how the other team normally plays and adjust accordingly as this will increase your chances of success. 


Lastly, always remember to experiment with as many formations as possible to see how your team works together when put in different situations.

Use training sessions to see how they work in these formations, especially ones that they haven’t tried before as this can help them to work on any individual or team weaknesses. 

The Best 9v9 Soccer Formations

There are plenty of 9v9 soccer formations to choose from which have plenty of advantages and disadvantages. If you are unsure which one is perfect for your team, it’s best to let your team try each one and see where they thrive.

Every team is different but at least one of these formations is guaranteed to work. Decide if you want to push the attack, defense or midfield and see where your team can improve their skills and knowledge of the game. 

1. 3-2-3 Formation

The most common 9v9 formation used, the 3-2-3 is perfectly balanced as it puts equal strength in attack and defense at the front and back.

The players are spread across the pitch meaning that there is plenty of space and passing angles which make controlling possession easier so the team can dictate the play.

It is an easy formation to pull off but does rely on the forwards tracking back to help the midfielders so they are not outnumbered. 

2. 3-3-2 Formation

The 3-3-2 formation is one of the most reliable formations as it is hard to play against. Consisting of an extremely strong defense and midfield, the opponents will struggle to get past the players.

Having two strikers at the front also presents a decent threat but as there are only two of them, midfielders will have to be relied upon to back them up when needed. 

3. 3-1-3-1 Formation

A more specialised formation is the 3-1-3-1 which has a defending midfielder that allows for passing combinations and goal scoring opportunities.

This formation really works when the defense midfielder is a disciplined player who can be just as effective in defense as they are in midfield and have a keen eye on the opponents in both sections on the pitch.

As it is a weak formation in the back, the success is determined on the strength of the front and dependent on whether they track back well. 

4. 3-4-1 Formation

For those wanting a formation that is strong in defense, the 3-4-1 formation provides a more stable structure. With two central midfielders who are capable of defending and attacking makes it difficult for the opponents to break through.

Either side of the central midfielders is a wide midfielder who gives the team width and helps push the ball forward to the single striker. When the formation is gearing to attack, it turns into a 3-2- making it a more versatile option. 

5. 4-3-1 Formation

The 4-3-1 formation is another defensive option and is ideal for teams that are preparing to step up to an 11v11 team. With four players taking up defending positions, this formation also gives midfielders the chance to work as a team of three.

It is very hard to play against and relies on two midfielders to push forwards to help the single striker. When attacking, the formation makes it more of a 2-3-3 strategy. 

6. 2-3-3 Formation

The 2-3-3 formation is one of the most popular formations to do and allows you to have a higher chance of possession thanks to the defense from the front.

The team is spread around the pitch making it extremely well balanced. No player is ever too far away from the ball which makes it perfect for teams that need to work on their defense and possession. 

7. 2-4-2 Formation

Another balanced formation is the 2-4-2 strategy which allows the team to keep possession. The solid line up means that there is a strong midfield meaning that the team is distributed across the pitch.

This is another great option for teams that are preparing to play 11v11, specifically the 4-4-2 strategy. The flexibility that comes with this formation makes it great as the midfielders can help with defense and attack as well as providing width. 

8. 2-1-3-1-1 Formation

The last formation to consider is the 2-1-3-1-1 which is an alternative to the 2-4-2 strategy. This formation is ideal for attacks as they have a team of specialized midfielders who can back them up while they push forward.

The midfielder who helps out the striker also has a lot more freedom in terms of their positioning, making it great if you have a strong midfielder who you want to work with.

This formation is hard to play through due to the vulnerability on the flanks if the midfielders don’t track back but when done correctly, will be hard for the opponent to play against. 


In conclusion, these 9v9 soccer formations can be applied for all teams and opponents. Whether you are wanting to focus more on attack or defense, you can choose your formation based on the strength of the players.

Teaching your team these formations will make them better players and help them learn the pros and cons that they have.

Certain formations can help your strikers to shine or improve your defense players as well as allowing your midfielders to better their positioning and tactics. One of these formations is guaranteed to be perfect for your team.