For the girls I started with a 4-3-3 to give the girls balance. A few years ago I had a very good U14-15 team in the Carolina tournament. Before the event we were conceding a lot of goals. We had a great team but for whatever reason we were not keeping clean sheets. On the 10 hour journey up there the assistant coach and I talked about formations and came up with the 4-2-3-1 before it was super-popular, believe it or not. We got to the tournament and ended up getting beaten in the final on penalties.
From then onward it was my formation of choice. It gave us balance all over the field; I could fit in girls who maybe weren’t as athletic in the holding positions, so basically I could find a place for every player that I had. When I moved to Colorado I used it with my Challenge team, switching them from 4-3-3 and again had success with it. I got comfortable coaching that formation and it worked. It brings a smile to my face now when I see all the professional teams going to it now. It works for girls especially, when you have a varied level of player on the team.
Forwards in Attack
It depends how the ball is coming to them. When they have their back to goal their job is to lay the ball off to one of the supporting three attacking midfielders. They also need to have the confidence to turn at take players on. They need to try to get in behind the defenders too, so they need to be athletic and willing to work for the team. It can be a bit of a thankless position at times because you are going to get tired, but it brings more people into the game. Some people like to hit feet, some like to play passes into channels, so the forward has to be able to work with both to see what happens and learn the tendencies of the ball suppliers.
Forwards in Defence
I want them to play as high as is possible, to stretch the field. I want them to create space, moving left and right. If they move to the right of the box then the middle of the bank of three can get in behind to attack the center in the space created.
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