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Soccer Positions and their Roles

soccer positions and their roles

If you’re following professional soccer, you might overhear a person say that a player “tends to play like a number 10” despite the fact that they’re “playing in the 5.” Don’t stress, there’s no complicated math calculation here; this just a reference to a player’s position on the pitch.

Are you aware that each position’s numbering began in the 1920s? While not every trainer employs this method, knowing post numbers might help you better grasp the sport. In reality, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) sometimes employs position numerals to help teach young players about their roles and establish a common vocabulary as they progress on the field.

Each post is allocated a number. You can better distinguish where players line up on the pitch by assigning numbers to various formations. The following is how the positions are usually marked:


  1. Goalkeeper
  2. Right Fullback
  3. Left Fullback
  4. Center Back
  5. Center Back (or Sweeper, if used)
  6. Defending/Holding Midfielder
  7. Right Midfielder/Winger
  8. Central/Box-to-Box Midfielder
  9. Striker
  10. Attacking Midfielder/Playmaker
  11. Left Midfielder/Wingers

Role Play

Every role has a certain task to complete in order to maintain the team engine running smoothly. Understanding what is required of them is especially important for younger players as they develop their sports talents. That does not rule out the possibility of players remaining in a specified zone or taking on a limited number of priorities. As a player or a team develops and improves in talent, they might become more innovative and flexible in their approach to playing.

Defensive Soccer

Positions 1 – Goalkeeper (GK): This player guards the net and is often the last line of defense to prevent the rival from striking. The only participant authorized to use their arms and hands to play defense and grab the ball while the match is in progress is the goalkeeper, also termed as the goalie. Only the allocated goal area is subject to these specific restrictions. When a goaltender leaves the penalty box, he or she must play like any other player on the pitch. They also can’t play the ball with their arms if a teammate kicks it to them straight while playing or off a throw-in.

Goalkeepers use specialist soccer goalie equipment, comprising of gloves and long sleeves for further safety. They wear a special color jersey than the rest of the squad to be distinguished from other players on the pitch. They can also use specially designed shorts and slacks for the job.


These are the players on the field that are nearest to the goal. They are in charge of defending the goalkeeper, blocking goals, and preventing the attacking players of the opposing side from crossing, receiving, striking, and scoring. There can be fullbacks, center backs, wingbacks, and one sweeper, to name a few positions.

4/5 – Center Back (CB): This spot, also called the central defender, center fullback, or stopper, is in the center of the defensive line. The two center backs in a 4–4–2 formation will stay back to guard the net.

3/2 – Fullback (LB, RB): Outside fullbacks are also known as the back defenders on the right and left sides of the pitch. They often play outside to cover the field’s edges, although they can occasionally defend the center if necessary. To assist with offensive plays, these athletes would frequently move up and down the pitch.

3/2 – Wingback (LWB, RWB): This post defends similarly to other defensive backs but is more aggressive, similar to a winger. They gallop up and down the pitch, playing wide right and left. This job needs a lot of endurance and might be physically exhausting compared to other jobs.

5 – Sweeper (SW): This is a less prevalent post anymore. When this participant is deployed, he or she is positioned between the goalkeeper and the primary defensive line. It’s their role to catch any passes that get past the defensive players. While they usually remain behind the other players, they can also assist in an aggressive push by moving the ball up the pitch.

Soccer Positions in the Midfield

Midfielders, often known as halfbacks, operate largely in the center of the pitch, as you might expect. Midfielders are the threads that connect the defensive and offensive lines, transferring the ball and ensuring everything runs smoothly if the squad is running like a well-oiled engine. During a match, the midfielders usually see the most activity.

4 or 6 – Defensive Midfielder (DM): They operate right in front of the defenders and are also recognized as holding midfielders. They are in charge of maintaining the ball outside of their area, intercepting the opposing club’s passes, and assisting their offensive line by keeping possession of the ball in the opposing team’s zone, handling rebounds, and moving forward. The four will face the six as the two holding midfielders in a 3-4-3 alignment.

8 – Central Midfielder (CM): Often seen as the hardest working position on the pitch, this player must be prepared at all times and may engage both defensively and offensively based on the circumstances. They are in charge of kicking the ball to other teammates. Hence outstanding ball-handling and passing skills are essential. They frequently take long shots on goal to assist the offense when on the defense. To fit their plan, clubs will sometimes line up with the Six in a defensive configuration or the 10 in an offensive formation.

10-The attacking midfielder (AM): is a player who plays between the midfield and the offensive line. They must be capable of scoring goals and pass well enough to dodge the defenders of their opponents. When another team has the ball, they can attack it instead of hanging back like other players on the pitch. Inoffensive tactics, this position is frequently regarded as a good conductor, guiding the ball and providing scoring possibilities. They are the ones who call the shots.

11/7 – Left/Right Midfielder (LM, RM): Also referred to as wingers or outside midfielders, these individuals will remain outside to assist the opponent’s defense to the outside, allowing their offensive line to have more room. They will need great one-on-one talents to get by the other player’s left and right fullbacks and/or wingbacks. These individuals will probably not have possession for long periods throughout a match, preferring to move the ball forward by passing it to offensive players or shooting attempts on goal themselves. To stay up with the game, they must push and have a lot of strength. Wingers are commonly categorized into attacking or forward positions according to their function on the pitch.

Soccer Positions for Offense

Forwards, often known as strikers, are the main attackers who play closer to the opposition’s goal. Their major goal is to strike as many times as possible. They are typically the fastest players on the pitch and must have excellent ball handling. They must be able to shoot from any angle, including straight off a pass. It’s also critical for any offensive player to stay onside at all times.

9 – Center Forward (CF): Center forwards and strikers are frequently used interchangeably. They must concentrate on shooting, whether that means running past opponents with the ball or staying open for an assist when they don’t. The ability to correctly head the ball can be extremely useful in this situation.

9 – Striker (S): This player stands in front of the center forward, closest to the opposing side of the goal. The fundamental function of a striker is to score goals. Their teammates will want to deliver to them frequently, and the opposing team’s defense will put continual pressure on them. Thus, they must outpace opponents and have great footwork and accurate ball control to be most effective.

10 – Second Striker (SS): They play behind the center forward and are mostly accountable for creating scoring chances for other strikers. They should keep the ball away from the opposition player while waiting for their partners to position themselves for a successful goal.








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