Youth Soccer Formations – Using the 4-3-2-1 Christmas Tree Formation

Filed under: Game Strategy, Youth Soccer, Youth Soccer Coach, Youth Soccer Coaching, Youth Soccer Formations by: admin
A 4-3-2-1 formation is a large youth soccer formation for youth players. The newer, small-sided fields normally wouldn’t feature this number of players on the field at one time. If your team plays on a large enough field, many coaches consider the 4-3-2-1 or “Christmas Tree” formation.
This leaves coaches new to this youth soccer formation wondering how to teach it to youth soccer players. Well, here are a few quick strategies from Coach Mark.
The 4-3-2-1 soccer formation is typically a narrow formation, with two of your midfielders having primary responsibility similar to a forward position. Your two forward-most midfielders are effectively playing forward or striker positions and primarily responsible for scoring along with your striker.
Your center midfielders plays the standard midfielder role. That is; coming back to the defensive zone to move the ball forward, keeping the ball in the offensive zone, and setting up / passing the ball to the offensive midfielders and striker.
The center backs and full backs play the traditional defensive role, which is to clear the ball from the front of the net toward the closest sideline, and to move the ball / pass up to the center midfielders along the outside edge of the field.

The most important things to remember for youth players in this soccer formation are;

1) To stay in the designated lanes or area of the field. It can get too easy for youth players to “bunch up” or slide toward the middle of the field.

2) The six players that will be on the offensive end of the field can get too focused on the middle of the field. They need to remember to stay wider than their tendency might otherwise be.

3) This formation relies on the abilities of your center midfielders and forward midfielders to possess the ball, and pass it effectively to the forward midfielders and the striker.

Below is an image you can use to help explain this youth soccer formation to your players.



The Coach Mark Soccer Club can provide a FREE, custom PDF diagram showing formations like this. Please visit the new website by clicking here – Coach Mark Soccer Club, and you’ll be downloading FREE documents, diagrams, strategies, and other resources within five minutes! The site helps coaches, assistant coaches and team managers organize and build better youth soccer teams.
To your soccer success,
Coach Mark

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5 Responses to “Youth Soccer Formations – Using the 4-3-2-1 Christmas Tree Formation”

  1. Lauren Says:

    Hey great blog– I really like your articles and think your tips and drills are a great resource to youth coaches. I have some ideas I would like to share with your for your blog. If you could email me back at the address I commented with, that would be great!



  2. inondifancary Says:

    Hello, I can’t understand how to add your blog in my rss reader
    internet signature:

  3. admin Says:


    Just click the RSS Feed icon, then click on the options on the lower right side (i.e. iGoogle). Or you can enter this into your reader –

    Coach Mark

  4. admin Says:

    Lauren, will do!

    Coach Mark

  5. Ex Back Says:

    The style of writing is very familiar to me. Have you written guest posts for other blogs?