"Coaching the U12 soccer player"

The kids have graduated to U12 soccer so they are either playing on an 8v8 field or an 11 vs 11 field. The kids will need to continue to work on the following aspects of soccer.

  • Restarts
  • Fouls
  • sportsmen ship
  • Technique
  • Tactical understanding of systems and playing with more numbers on the field.

The kids will be working on a bigger field with larger numbers on the field with more ground to cover so all the work done on the smaller fields will help them tactically.

Soccer skills

My goal when moving from the smaller game to the bigger field is to make the transition as easy as possible for the players from a skills, tactics and fitness stand point. From a skills stand point the bigger field presents some more challenges.

We have been priming the kids and teaching them all kinds soccer skills. The U12 soccer player will need skills like...

The kids should have a pretty good foundation if they have been working on all their soccer skills. Especially, if they have been playing since U6.


They should be able to hit a good pass and play some combinations like a give and go.

Air balls

The players should be able to use the different surfaces to control the soccer ball like the instep - thigh or chest.

Shooting technique

The players should have a good understanding of how to strike the soccer ball with the instep.

These are all basic skills the players will need when starting to transition from the 8 vs 8 game to the 11 vs 11 game.

Here is a practice session combining speed and agility and soccer skills...

Soccer tactics

The next area where players will need some help is moving from 8v8 to 11v11 because there will be 3 more players on the field.

What system should the coach play? Players to a system or system to the players?

  • The gk-4-4-2 is the most basic shape that kids can play.
  • Teaches the players how to play out the back and has good balance in defense and attack.
  • The team can defend with 7 players and attack with 5-7 players depending which players are supporting the attack.
  • There are other system that the kids can play like the gk-3-5-2 and the gk-4-3-3.
  • The gk-3-5-2 is very good attacking system because the players can attack with 5-7 players and defend with 5-7 players.
  • The outside mids will need to be very disciplined.

I am not going into an in depth analysis on 11 vs 11 soccer tactics here because this site is dedicated to the kid soccer player, playing small sided soccer games. Here is a great example of a U12 soccer practice! 

Keep it simple!

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