7v7 (U9 & U10)

Written by Mark Hipperson & Richard Grieve

Key Points:

  • 7 a-side games
  • 2 x 30 minute games
  • The home team referees (see below)
  • First aid kit should be available
  • Clear comms a week in advance to the opposing team if you are hosting the opposition (see below).
  • Recommend a Respect Line for parents
  • Get parental support. Ask parents to arrive early and put together goals, referee on match days etc. Allowing you to focus on the team.
  • In games opposition must retreat to half way line and there is no offside
  • Matches are every fortnight in core season. Training the other weeks and Tuesday training available with Andy Waterman.
  • Size 3 ball at U9 and size 4 at U10.

Important to Note:

  • In the Crowborough League, your players are registered to you but can play for one of our other teams in the same age group. This gives you flexibility to move players around as required occasionally; so no "formal" teams as far as the Crowborough League are concerned.
  • Register all players in the league.
  • Your should be paired with another team in your age group in Langton Green or, if you have an odd number of teams, with another team elsewhere so you always play at the same time v two other teams.
  • Don’t get fined. Ensure paperwork is retuned after the game promptly. It’s your responsibility home or away to send your form back and failing to do so can get expensive if you’re not diligent. Get a load of stamped, addressed envelopes printed at the beginning of the seasons and give each coach the number they need. Tell them to put the forms in the envelope and put in a mailbox on the way home after a game. Seriously. Maximum within 3 days.
  • Set expectations early on that parents need to help with goals, refereeing, admin or café duties. It’s easier setting expectations early on rather than after a few weeks. Email it and remind them after each training session. Record who has and hasn’t helped, it may come in useful if you struggle one week and 1/2 parents have never helped.
  • General Comms: Good communications are key. Parents and children want to plan their availability for the team so you must meet them half way and tell them all the scheduled information, get them to take responsibility for putting games, training, socials etc in their diaries and advise them early if plans change.
  • Use Teamer, WhatsApp and/or Email judiciously and in moderation but use them. Set the ground rule and ensure all parent comms are constructive, relevant and focused.
  • Comms in advance of a game: Notify the opposition well in advance of team colours, location / parking, facilities and contact details

Team Capability

Be honest in the capability of your team when registering them. You can say strong, medium or development. You will play against appropriate teams. Winning every game is fun for a while but you will then be pushed up to a higher group and then lose a lot more and it may be more difficult for the children.

Play at an appropriate and competitive level. You will not really know until you are a few games in if you got it right but if you have a few Langton teams in your U9/10 age group and you should play each other, stream if you decide to and benchmark yourself accordingly to your peers.

Streaming: One of the most emotive and difficult issues. Many teams stream from U10, some from U9. There are pros/cons; all I suggest is that’s its considered at this point. More info on streaming here...

Day Care or Professional Football Club?

Remember you are neither. Players and parents need to show a degree of commitment and you need to help develop all players. It’s one of the challenging issues that needs balanced thinking, honesty to parents with what you need from them is important as is you appreciating that you’re there to help develop everyone in your team.


You will need an assistant coach (qualified or not) and a parent or two who can help with goals, refereeing and doing team admin.

Child Protection

Coaches or assistant coaches will need DBS (formally CRB) checks. The club has a nominated child protection officer (CPO - currently Jo Dunlop) and she can sort these checks for you. You absolutely HAVE to to have a DBS check completed by the club before you are allowed to coach with usNo exceptions.


Home teams need to offer up a referee. This can be a coach or parent. I suggest you have a pool of 2/3 parents who like to do this. Coaches can’t properly coach if they referee so don’t referee.

Squad / Formation / Tactics

Aim for a squad of 10/11. Invariably one or two can’t make a match due to being ill or a holiday (that should be the only valid reason – not a rugby or cricket match that took precedence). But if they all turn up it won’t give you a massive overhead of substitutions and parent/child expectations. Squads of 12+ are difficult. Squads of 9 or less risk you being unable to pull a team together if a bug hits. Remember you can always borrow from another team at this age group – get this agreement with your paired team in advance if possible though. Remember, you won’t get their best player either. Holmewood House school tends to have more student activity on Saturdays than other schools, even with the change of policy to no Saturday school from 2017/18; balance your squad with this in mind.

Positions become much more important than in 5-a side. Its essential that boys have a clear idea of their role, and where they should (and shouldn’t be on the pitch). Having said that, players should be encouraged to create overloads by striding forward out of position when the occasion calls for it as well as understanding that if another player does that, they may have to cover for them in case they lose the ball.

For example, someone should remain upfront even when their team is defending corners (perhaps your quickest player or a player who is very good at holding the ball up for example), to be ready to receive the ball to retain possession. Equally defenders have to learn, how they can support the attack while not leaving their own team exposed to the counter (as above, maybe a midfielder tucks in to cover if a defender pushes forward). Boys in the appropriate positions have to take throw-ins etc. It's also good to have some rotation amongst positions, as for most boys it seems too early to designate a set position, and we felt playing several positions helped them develop broader awareness of the game.

2-2-2, 2-3-1, 3-2-1? Have better players in midfield/defence, they will have more of the ball. Your best player as a lone striker won’t help you as much. We've included some information on 7v7 formations with diagrams etc. here...

Goal Kicks can go an awful long way with a goalie who can kick well. Goal kicks are therefore crucial to consider tactically whether kicking or in opposition. Consider options; playing out from the back keeps possession with good players but invites pressure if less confident with inexperienced or less skilled defenders.

When your team’s goalie has the ball, its important to have players in a good position to safely receive it, and to build an attack. For example, when you have a goal kick suggest encouraging defenders to go wide to receive the ball, and the midfielders to take a good position in space, and be ready to receive the subsequent pass. The opposition has to retreat to the half-way line, so it provides an opportunity for your team to build possession from the back in a controlled way without panicking. When the opposition have a goal kick, although your team has to retreat to half-way its good to encourage your strikers/attacking midfielders to impose quick/early pressure to regain possession.

When you move to U11 and 9 a side football, players no longer have to retreat to half way, so in the latter part of the U10 age group it will be worth practicing this or your players will get a nasty shock if they aren't comfortable playing out from the back under pressure.