3-5-2 TEAM (Suggested for highly skilled competitive teams only)
DEFENDERS consist of three players: a left fullback, right fullback and a sweeper (or center fullback). These defenders must stay tightly together, no more than 10-25 yards apart from each other at all times. The players should form a slight triangular shape with the sweeper nearest his / her own goal. From left fullback to right fullback the distance should be no more than 50 yards. The fullbacks must work together, sliding back and forth across the field supporting each other and making sure that all attackers are accounted for. Generally, the two outside fullbacks will mark the two opposing forwards “man to man” all game long, leaving the sweeper free to help out whenever necessary. Because there are only three defenders, they are much less likely to make offensive runs. Only if they are absolutely sure that they will score or assist in a goal should they make an offensive run and leave the man their marking. (If a run is made the Midfielder on the run side must cover for the fullback going forward.) Again, this defensive strategy is only for the most skilled of teams and very confident defenders.
MIDFIELDERS consist of five players. This formation allows for three central midfielders and two outside midfielders. Skill level is of the utmost importance. A team cannot run this type of formation unless the skill level is excellent. With three players in the middle it is critical that they all have tight ball skills as well as communication skills. They must all work together in attacking, defending, maintaining possession, winning 50/50 balls and controlling the overall pace of the game. These 5 midfielders can be murder on the opposing team if skilled, but they can also ruin a teams chemistry and ability if not properly trained. It takes a very special group of individuals to create a successful 5-person midfield. The 3 Center midfielders should be arranged so that one is positioned behind the forwards in order to lead the attack. One must be in control of the midfield play, and one must be behind the controlling midfielder in order to help out in the defensive zone when necessary.
FORWARDS consist of 2 players possessing a unique job on the field. They must work together the entire game, rarely separating themselves by more then 10 to 20 yards. Together they must work to close off angles and defenders from clearing the ball out of the defensive areas. These two forwards must become very knowledgeable of one another’s actions and reactions to the point that they can predict where the others next move will be. It is extremely important for these players to be fast, agile, be in good shape and have ball-handling skills. They must pick up the slack of the missing third forward on the attacking side of the field. With the additional, fifth player, in the midfield the forwards receive a little bit more help then they would from the 4-4-2 formation but still need to work together to produce and get the ball on goal or in the back of the net. They have to time their runs perfectly in order to stay onside. In order to do this forwards should practice making their runs laterally at first, making sure they are inline with the last defender, and then take off when the ball is kicked in their direction