3-5-2 Soccer Formation

Soccer 3 5 2 Formation

There are many different ways for soccer coaches to position their players on the field. Some formations are more defensive than others, while others may have a heavy focus on offense. Some might even be a balance of both, like the 3-5-2 formation.

What is a 3-5-2 formation in soccer?

A 3-5-2 formation is a positional shape in soccer with three backs, five midfielders, and two forwards. The forwards typically stay in the attacking half of the field. The three defenders will mostly stay on their half of the field to ensure no goals are scored in their net. This is a midfielder-heavy formation, meaning that the five midfielders are looked upon to jump from offense to defense throughout the game as the ball moves between teams.


Coaches might look to use this formation if they find the turnovers in the game to be frequent and presenting a challenge to their team. Having a solid lineup of midfielders may be beneficial to managing turnovers and gaining back possession of the ball in the middle of the field.

Since there are only three defenders, the opposing team can often find gaps to dribble through. Be sure to properly space yourselves out and help out the midfielders as the ball is moved around the field to prevent the ball from going too close to your net.

Defending a 3-5-2

To successfully defend a 3-5-2, the team will need a strong midfield line. Since a lot of plays will occur within the space of the 5 midfielders, it’s important to have an opposing midfield line that can jump quickly between defense and move the ball to their end of the field and up to your offensive players.