At the intermediate level of play and above, tactical instruction begins to outweigh technical instruction. To aid in this instruction, player positions are replaced with a standard numbering system that provides:

  • A consistent scheme/system across the United States, simplifying tactical discussions among disparate coaching staff
  • Refinement of positions (e.g. a defensive vs center vs attacking midfielder)
  • Shorthand for players and coaches to communicate (e.g. “use a 7-10-9 passing sequence” vs “winger passes to attacking midfielder, passes to forward”)


The concept of the numbering system has been in existence since the 20s and a specific US-based system was adopted in 2012. Here is the official publication from US Soccer.

US Soccer Number System

This is appropriate for EXTRA teams beginning possibly at 10u but definitely at 12u. I do not recommend this for core teams below 14u.