Where you play the ball, when, and how will come with experience. To gain experience try to get in as many games as possible. Whether it's small sided games, two on two or three on three to little goals (two bags - two feet apart or two cones) that act as the goals or eleven versus eleven: these types of competitive games will improve your play and help you make quick decisions. Of course, real eleven versus eleven games are ideal - there's always a different feeling surrounding an actually game. You can always learn something new every time you play. It's important to play more games, whether real eleven versus eleven or a small sided pick up game at the park with friends.
Often the pace of the game will dictate where you play the ball. If you play a good team and you are constantly put under pressure you will be forced to play the ball quickly. This will only make you a better player as you get older, so try to play at a game like intensity all the time. Don't do things that you know you wouldn't get away with if you were playing a good team.
Overall, the key to playing good soccer is keeping the ball moving by playing one and two touch soccer - passing and moving off the ball and being creative. The ability to do this goes back to a good first touch, using your body to shield the ball, and knowing what you want to do with the ball before you get it. In a way soccer is about getting the ball into the right person's feet ; the one who has the most time and space ( faces the least pressure ) and is in the most advantageous position to score or make that goal scoring pass.
Spread out on offense and become a compact unit on defense. On offense, use the entire field to open up the defense and create gaps and spaces to attack. On, defense you want to do the opposite, stay compact as a team unit and defend with numbers. For instance, if the opponent is attacking down the right side, then the far right midfielder can move into the middle and help out since the player on the far side is not as dangerous as those attacking with the ball.
Of course, he or she must still be aware of the player they are marking, but they can gamble in a sense, and keep their eye on the ball and the wide player and help clog the middle and intercept passes. If the opposition makes a long pass to the far left winger he or she must be able to track down the player and then the whole team will have to shift positions to the right side. If you gauge it right, you should be able to arrive before the player has time to control the ball and attack down the line.
On offense, to open up spaces in the opposing teams defense, the key rule that you can follow is keep the ball moving. Let the ball do the work. Play the ball into the forwards feet, then they lay it back to the midfielder who plays the ball wide. The wide midfielder then tries to get a cross in or switches the ball back to the other side where there is more space.
Draw the defense out by playing the ball into the forward's feet, and if he or she is covered they can lay the ball back to a midfielder or lay the ball off to someone making a run through towards the goal. Your intention, when you play the ball to the forward who is tightly marked is to draw the defense into this player, once the forward gets a touch on the ball and holds the ball up with a touch or two, you (the midfielder) can get the ball back and play another player through who now becomes open, since the defense has collapsed around the forward or shifted their focus on the forward.
In terms of style of play, selfish play becomes contagious. When someone is dribbling all the time, others will pick that up and do it themselves or not be as active in the play and stop making runs. The great thing about soccer is that this will usually correct itself because the game doesn't allow you to play that way. The team that moves the ball around and shares the ball the most, makes things the easiest for themselves and will have the most scoring opportunities. If you play selfish soccer you will not be successful in the long run.
Additionally, before you play the ball, when picking out a player for a longer pass or serving the ball in from a long distance you should have a plan in your mind of what is going to take place next. The player you are making the pass to should have someone to lay the ball off to, or you yourself should support the pass if nobody is available, as when a defender drives the ball into a forward who lays the ball back to another midfielder. Picture a series of plays that are going to take place when sending a long ball or starting a play. Try to always think of where the ball should go next.
You want to play the ball to your teammates left foot for instance if they have someone covering their right side. You want to lead your teammate with a pass that puts them in the best possible scenario to make the next successful play or pass. If they are making a run through on goal you want to put the right pace on the ball so they don't have to break their stride. Bend the ball into the path of the player, if they are better on their left foot then play it to that foot. Play it to the space where your teammate can make the play but not the defender.
Again, the best methods are to play the ball hard, to pass and move, to play and follow your pass or to give it and get it, to always want the ball or put yourself in a position to receive the ball and make a play. If you are not going to get the ball then make a run to receive the ball or take a defender away with you and open up space for a teammate.