Re: Opinion: U9 Soccer Positions

Woody schrieb:

Not being a soccer player myself, I'd like to get the opinion of those
that play/have played.

I have a daughter in U9 (competitive, as opposed to recreational)

What do you mean by competitive? Does she play in the youth
team of a big club, or is it just a number of small teams in
a mini league? Our teams play in mini leagues, too, with the
boys (and girls) of course trying to win, but the fun is still
the main motivation.

Her coach appears to have, from the very first game, decided
that each girl will play one position, and one position only. U9 is
7v7. Her coach is setting them up in a 3-3 formation, 3 forwards and
3 defense. No mid-field.

Even on a small field there should be some midfield, I think.
Our teams are normally playing with a 2-3-1. Two defenders,
3 midfielders (left - central - right), one forward. The wingers
are more forward oriented than the central man.

Up til now (she's played for 5 years) my daughter has been a
phenomenal forward with a pretty decent scoring touch (typically 2-3
goals/game - proof is in the pudding, not me being a proud poppa!).

In mixed (boys and girls) teams? This is quite impressive.

BTW, the number of goals scored tells about nothing about
the talent or quality of the player at this age. In our team,
our least talented kid is one of the most efficient goal scorers
now, because as a center forward, more or less waiting for
the balls to arrive and kick them in, is the best he can do.
Playing a good role in midfield or defense (not just hoofing the
balls forward, but passing them controlled to the wingers) takes
much more skill. So your coach is actually paying your daughter
a big compliment by putting her in the central defense position.

Her coach this year decided to place her (and keep her) in the central
defender position of the 3-3 formation.

My own personal opinion is that U9 is far too early to pigeon-hole a
developing soccer player into any one position, save perhaps the
keeper. While I believe it is good for her development to play
defense occasionally, she is absolutely miserable in that position and
tends to move forward.

Most kids in that age have that tendency ;-)

There are two reasons, why your coach decided to position your
daughter there:
- first reason is, as you said yourself, that she should also learn
the defensive game
- second reason is, that she is actually one of the best (or the best)
of the team, so he needs her as the playmaker type (which this
position in a small field actually is - she'll be the one to
win the balls in her own half and start the counterattack)

As for playing them always in one position - that sounds worse
than it actually is. Serious learning of how to play in which
position will start on the normal field with 11v11 (i.e U13 onwards).
In this age it is more important for them to learn a bit discipline
and team spirit. And - not all kids will be able to play defender.
Some are simply not far enough in their development, they will
forget to return after participating in attack. Again, it's a
compliment for your daughter, that he considers her experienced enough.

What, if anything, should I say to the coach? I merely want my
daughter to really enjoy the game.

Talk to him. Maybe you can ask him, whether it is possible, to play
her in attack every other game. Mention the fun factor - it is
very important, that the kids keep having fun in this age.
Make sure, that he allows your daughter to participate in
attacks as long as she is going back, when the attack is over
(her stamina will profit, too ;-)). Anything else would be
stupid anyway, because you won't get far, if you attack with
only 3 players.

Also talk to your daughter. Explain to her, that the central
defensive midfield position is actually more important than
the attacker position. Anyone one can score the goals, if
you are fed by the right assists (especially in U9 soccer,
where it is relatively easy to get a shot past the goalie).
Giving the assists takes the skill.

She doesn't mind playing defense
occasionally, but her passion is as a forward. Having said that, the
coach no doubt doesn't mind having a strong player, who can control
the ball without kicking it away every time she gets possession, on


Most important: talk to the coach. He will also have his reasons.