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Soccer Coaching: What is each position in soccer responsible for?

ByScotty Jenkins

3 min read

Soccer Coaching: What is each position in soccer responsible for?

A proper soccer team will function at an optimal level when players in the team's setup understand their different positions and carry out their various roles effectively.

For any athlete intending to go into the profession of soccer, such individual must know the different positions in soccer and how each works.


The Defense

The defense comprises the goalkeeper and four defenders. Sometimes it could be three defenders depending on the formation the team coach decides to go with. It could also be the goalkeeper and five defenders.


The Goalkeeper

Some have termed this position as the most boring in soccer. The reason is not farfetched though as most times the goalkeeper is the least busy player on the pitch. The goalkeeper is also the only player on the pitch allowed to use any part of his or her body to touch the ball.

Role of the Goalkeeper:

  • Prevent the ball from finding the back of the net by saving the ball with any part of the body when inside the 18-yard box.

Sweeper

Usually the best player in the defense of any team. To handle this position, the player must be decisive, confident, and intelligent.

A sweeper is expected to have great awareness and also possess the ability to detect and analyze threats. He or she must be quick to react to situations. The sweeper must have an impeccable ball control technique, have great communication skills, and act as a leader in defense. The sweeper is also a center-back.

Role of the Sweeper:

  • The Sweeper act as the last man when the opposition comes threatening. He clears every kind of danger before it could result in a goal.

Right and Left Defenders

The Right or Left Defender could also be regarded as the Right or Left Back. Playing in either of these two positions means such a player must be solid and provide energy. The tendency of conceding fewer goals will increase when either the left-back or right-back or both prove very hard to go past.

The Left/Right Defender must be able to roam with the ball on the line and even into the middle of the park and also release incisive and decisive passes and crosses.

Role of the Defenders:

  • This is still part of the defense but anybody given this role should possess the ability to attack when necessary

The Midfield

These players are responsible for assisting in defending their own goal with the defense and getting the ball to the forwards. Most of the possession in soccer is won and lost with this line of players.


Defensive Midfielder

This player acts as a shield for the team's defense and also contributes to the attack when the situation calls for it. A defensive midfielder must be a strong individual.

Role of the Defensive Midfielder:

  • Breaks up opposition play and sends the ball back to his teammates to launch a counter or build a steady movement towards the opposition goal.

Central Midfielder

The basic feature of the central midfielder is the ability to both defend and attack within the midfield. Most of the kind of players in this category are called box-to-box midfielders.

Role of the Central Midfielder:

  • Ticks every area of the midfield. Versatile in both defending and attacking with defense-splitting passes.

Left & Right Midfielder/Winger

Operates from wide areas. The wingers or wide midfielders have the responsibility of launching crosses into the opposition box.

Role of the Midfielders and Wings:

  • Expected to contribute massively in attacking by looking for the right passes for the striker(s) to score or even creating chances and scoring themselves.

The Offensive/Attacking Midfielder

He is usually behind the striker and is heavily involved in creating assists and scoring as well. The attacking/offensive midfielder could sometimes play the position of a second striker, depending on the formation.

Role of the Attacking Midfielder:

  • Supports the striker in goalscoring but mainly opens the way for the striker with intelligent passes.

The Offense

The offense consists of the forwards or attackers and the attacking midfielders. While every player on a soccer field is capable of scoring a goal, a huge majority of the offense and shooting is a responsibility of the strikers and forwards.


Center Forward

The ability to win the ball on the ground and in the air is key to being a successful center forward. This position requires balance and technicality.

Role of the Center Forward:

  • Score as many goals as possible.
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