Rotating Players To All Positions
All players should be exposed to and play every position on the field…including goalkeeper unless the player is opposed to it out of worry or fear. This also means playing the left side of the field, the center, and the right side. The primary role as coaches is to coach the kids to have fun. The secondary role is to coach them in ways that allows them to develop their skills and to grow as soccer players.
This means, among other things, gaining experience at every position. For example, it might seemingly make sense to keep your fastest player at forward for the entire season…or it might also seemingly make sense to play your biggest, strongest player at defense. However, that fast player might turn out to be the best 1v1 defender someday. And that big, strong player might turn out to be a dangerous striker someday. They will not get the opportunity to find out if we assign them to a single position as youth players.
One might think that this a crazy DYAA rule. It is not. It is a directive from U.S. Soccer. In fact, that organization recommends that we continue to play our kids at every position until at least the U15 age group – that’s the freshman year of high school.
In fact, the players who contribute the most at the high school and college levels are the ones who can play any position. The players who tell a coach, “I am a forward; I don’t play defense,” contributes much less…in part, because they’re often sitting next to the coach on the bench!.
So, as a friendly reminder, be certain to rotate the kids all over the field. If you happen to score more goals than the other team, then way to work hard and play to get better…and if you happen to score fewer goals than the other team, then way to work hard and play to get better!