Ahmad Ali

reliable source of wise counsel

Primary School Soccer – Tactics for a primary school soccer match – Formation


I understand that for primary school, and I am talking about primary 5, it is played 9 a side. So the usual formation most schools will use is;

1 keeper : 4 defenders : 3 midfielders : 1 striker

For me, I will have in consideration the following formation;

1 keeper : 3 defenders : 3 midfielders : 1 attacking midfielder : 1 striker

It is more offensive and this will be good especially when the team is losing. I would even go for two defenders side by side. Make sure one follow the striker lurking. There is no offside rule in their tournament.

Another thing is that the field size is smaller. Apart from a handful of players that I have seen, majority are not able to kick the ball high and far. More often than not, they will kick straight to the center.


In the next post, I will delve into the different positions individually. Here I will outline some general stuff that need to be communicated to the team.

The field is smaller for primary school soccer. Your players will listen to instruction, well most of them. And their eagerness will make or break you. Kids these days, more often than not, will follow your instruction and will look for you while playing to ensure that they are doing the right thing.

When you tell them that they right back or left midfield, they will go far out and stand next to the byline. This will leave your center expose. Usually, the ball do not get that far wide. So use the penalty box breadths as guidelines. This way you will make the field narrower. It will help both in defending and attacking.

Most balls will travel through the center of the field. Making it narrower, in defending, your players can snuff the attacks out with putting plenty of bodies in there. The attacking midfielder, if you use the offensive formation, should always be in the circle.

During attacks, for lack of technical ability, a long and continous punt, will get the ball upfield center. Maybe your attackers will get the first ball, possibly the second ball. Whichever, you increase the opportunity for your players to have the ball and strike at goal.

Making it narrower also decreases the possiblity of the ball to be over dribbled off the field.

During goal kicks on both end, make sure stand along the penalty box line. More often than not, the ball will not fly high but body height. If your keeper is taking them, you will get the ball first before the opponent. If opponent keeper is taking, the risk of you intercepting it is higher.

Designate Specialist

You must identify who can take dead ball situations, especially throw-ins. Simple matter as this can change the complexion of the game. Most of the players will not know the correct way to do a throw-in. Im appalled with the lack of training on these basic skills – actually a requirement in the game. Most will jump and throw while others push the ball out like medicine ball.

Next, make sure throw down the line. NOT BACK TO THEIR DEFENDERS! Team mates must not stand too far away. About a metre or so is good enough.

Goal Kicks
Goal kicks are even difficult to execute for some of us adults. Train your keeper their goal kicks. If still impossible and lack of time, get someone from the team who can and get them to do it. Remember that if they were to take, someone need to take over their position.

Goal kick high and straight center as much as possible. Midfielders have to get the ball and continously punt it forward and hope that it gets to the strikers.

Goal kick to the left and right will eventually get the ball out of the field as most players are unable to trap the ball effectively.

Free Kicks
I do not think referee are particular of direct or indirect at this level. If they can lay off and have a team mate to strike a rolling ball, that will be magnificent.

If there is wall, ensure that some are behind the wall, left and right. We do not know where the ball will skew. Secondly, must have a player next or infront of the keeper to hassle

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