My next book coming out early in September will focus on the 4-4-2 Diamond formation. The 4-4-2 Diamond is a formation that focuses on creating a midfield overload while controlling possession. Two forwards are located up top putting more pressure on the opposing teams back 4 while giving the diamond midfield plenty of forward passing options. I will be focusing on a diamond that is played narrow in the central midfield (opens up the channels). The width will be created by wing backs that must get up and down the sideline from box to box. The keys to success in this formation are as follows: wing backs must be able to cover lots of ground and provide width in the attack – the four center midfielders must all be technically sound and carry out their individual duties and responsibilities – the defensive center mid must swing the ball quickly from side to side and sit deeper close to the two center backs (wing backs getting forward will make the team vulnerable to a counter attack so the def center mid needs to sit deeper). The attacking center mid should be dynamic and able to penetrate off the dribble and hit penetrating balls to runners. The two center-mids must pick and choose their times to surge forward into attack – the center backs should have pace to run down any quick counter attacks when the wing backs can not recover. The forwards operate as a partnership always knowing where the other is and looking to combine with each other. In the defensive phase the four midfielders must understand their individual roles and responsibilities against varying formations. Adjustments in defensive responsibilities can easily be made by bringing a forward back into the midfield to defend. Any formation can be adjusted to play a different way, but in general the 4-4-2 diamond is an attack oriented formation. The opponent, surface, weather and size of the field will all be factors that will need to be considered when using the 4-4-2 diamond. I personally like the system because teaching the 4-4-2 diamond is similar to teaching the 4-2-3-1. The back four and defensive midfield role in both systems are virtually the same. It is important that players are able to understand the differences and similarities between formations and be able to explain player roles and responsibilities in each. It is true that soccer is a free flowing game, but each formation requires slightly varied movement patterns and player responsibilities in order to be successful. The book “Coaching The Modern 4-4-2 Diamond” will break down the 4-4-2 diamond on attack, defense and in transition. It will cover specific training ground exercises that make teaching the system to your team easy and effective. Look for the book on Amazon in early September!