Soccer Positions Explained: Your Complete Guide to Soccer Positions for any Formation

Soccer Coach Theory Team

If you’ve ever heard the saying ‘there’s a position for every player,’ then you know just how important understanding soccer positions can be. In this article, we’ll break down the roles and responsibilities of each position on the field, from the goalkeeper to the striker and everything in between.

By diving into the unique attributes and duties of each position, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how players contribute to their team’s success. Not only will you learn about the skills required for each role, but you’ll also discover the impact that famous players in these positions have had on the game.

So, get ready to lace up your boots and explore the diverse world of soccer positions!

Key Takeaways

  • Defenders focus on preventing the opposing team from scoring while attackers prioritize positioning to create goal-scoring opportunities.
  • Midfielders play a vital role in both defense and attack, controlling the game and creating scoring opportunities.
  • Proper positioning is essential for effective team coordination and interaction between defensive and attacking players.
  • Each position in soccer has specific responsibilities, with defenders providing defensive support, midfielders connecting defense to attack, and forwards primarily responsible for scoring goals.

The Basics of Soccer Positions

When it comes to soccer positions, understanding the difference between defending and attacking roles is crucial.

Defenders need to focus on positioning themselves to prevent the opposing team from scoring, while attackers must prioritize positioning to create goal-scoring opportunities.

Mastering the basics of positioning will help you excel in your chosen position and contribute effectively to your team’s success on the field.

Defending Vs. Attacking Roles

Defenders often play a crucial role in preventing opposing players from scoring, while attacking players focus on creating goal-scoring opportunities. Understanding the different roles and responsibilities of defensive and attacking positions is essential for success on the soccer field. Here are four key points to consider:

  • Defensive positions: Defenders are the backbone of a team’s defense. They must possess strong defensive skills, such as tackling, marking, and intercepting, to stop opponents from scoring.
  • Midfielders’ role: Midfielders play a vital role in both defense and attack. Defensive midfielders provide cover for the defense and break up opposition attacks, while attacking midfielders contribute to goal-scoring opportunities by creating chances and supporting forwards.
  • Attacking positions: Forwards are primarily responsible for scoring goals. They use their speed, skill, and positioning to create and convert goal-scoring opportunities.
  • Team collaboration: The interaction between defensive and attacking players is crucial. A well-coordinated team understands the importance of defensive solidity and offensive creativity to achieve success on the field.

Understanding the roles and responsibilities of defensive and attacking positions is just the beginning. The next section will delve into the importance of positioning in soccer.

Importance of Positioning

Understanding the importance of positioning is essential for effective team coordination and overall success on the soccer field. Each position in soccer has specific responsibilities that contribute to the team’s function. To convey a deeper understanding, let’s take a look at the positioning of central midfielders, attacking midfielders, and defensive midfielders.

Central Midfielders– Control the game by distributing the ball to teammates
– Support both the defense and offense
– Create scoring opportunities for the team
Attacking Midfielders– Play in an advanced position to contribute to the team’s main objective of scoring
– Provide assists and make key passes
– Create space and break down the opposing team’s defense
Defensive Midfielders– Protect the defense and break up the opponent’s attacks
– Provide cover for the backline
– Win the ball and initiate counter-attacks

Proper positioning of these midfielders is crucial for the team’s success. They play a vital role in controlling the game, creating goal-scoring opportunities, and maintaining defensive stability. Understanding the positioning of these players will help you appreciate their contributions on the field. Now, let’s move on to understanding the goalkeeper’s role.

Understanding the Goalkeeper Role in a Soccer Team

As a goalkeeper, your role extends beyond just stopping shots. These days, a keeper isn’t only ‘the one who is allowed to use their hands’. You’re a sweeper keeper, responsible for organizing the defense and communicating with your teammates.

Your distribution skills are crucial in starting counter-attacks and maintaining possession for your team.

Sweeper Keeper

To fully grasp the role of a goalkeeper, you must comprehend the responsibilities of a Sweeper Keeper. This unique position combines the skills of a goalkeeper with those of a midfielder. Here are four key aspects that make the Sweeper Keeper an integral part of the team:

  • Defensive Player: The Sweeper Keeper not only defends the goal but also acts as an additional defender. They’ve the ability to make timely interceptions outside the penalty area, preventing opposition attacks.
  • Midfielder Skills: Sweeper Keepers possess excellent footwork and ball-playing abilities. They initiate attacks from the back, often starting attacking moves for their team. Think of an Ederson for Man City.
  • Central Defender: In some formations, the Sweeper Keeper takes on the role of a central defender. They provide defensive support and help organize the backline.
  • Stamina: Sweeper Keepers need to have exceptional stamina due to their involvement in both defensive and offensive plays. They must constantly be on the move, making saves, intercepting passes, and distributing the ball.


It is pretty much par for the course that a Goalkeeper can now do damage with their feet.

However, not all teams need a sweeper keeper, and many teams (especially outside of the very top of the professional game) still use goalkeepers who are more traditional shot-stoppers.

Obviously, if you can find a goalkeeper who can command the area, shave shots at a very high level and use their feet – you go for that player. But there’s not too many of them. Mostly, it’s a decision that coaches have to make. Do we go with someone who is better with their feet, or, do we target someone who is an expert shot-stopping goalkeeper.

In the professional game, some teams are going back to the shot-stopper style keeper as a ‘moneyball’ way of recruitment – now sweeper keepers are all the rage, great shot stoppers can be good value on the transfer market.

At the very top level, David De Gea in his Man United peak is a great example of a shot-stopping keeper.

Exploring Full-back Positions

Now let’s talk about the different types of full-back positions in soccer. 

Wide fullbacks are known for their ability to provide width and stretch the opposing defense.

Inverted fullbacks, on the other hand, offer a more central presence and can contribute to the build-up play.

Defensive fullbacks prioritize their defensive duties and focus on shutting down the opponent’s attacks.

Lastly, wing backs are known for their attacking prowess and ability to join the attack with speed and skill.

Wide Fullbacks

As you explore the positions of wide fullbacks in soccer, it’s important to understand their crucial role in both defensive support and offensive attacks.

Wide fullbacks play a defensive position on the outer sides of the field, defending against opposing players on the right or left side.

These full-backs must possess athleticism, stamina, and quick reflexes to take the ball or force a pass. They provide vital defensive support to the wide midfielders and help in stretching the pitch.

In addition to their defensive duties, wide fullbacks also have the responsibility of joining offensive attacks, overlapping on the outside of play and allowing the wide midfielders to take central positions. This not only stretches the opposition’s defense but also provides opportunities for counter-attacks.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about ‘inverted fullbacks’, let’s further explore the versatility of full-back positions.

Inverted Fullbacks

To delve further into the versatility of full-back positions, let’s now explore the concept of inverted fullbacks.

Inverted fullbacks are outside defenders who not only provide defensive support to wide midfielders but also defend against opposition attacks from the opposite side of the field.

They act as the last line of defense, preventing the opposing team from creating scoring opportunities.

But their main role goes beyond just defending. Inverted fullbacks need to possess good dribbling ability and be capable of getting the ball forward and making passes like midfielders often do.

Their main job is to contribute to the team’s attacking strategies while still fulfilling their defensive duties.

Inverted fullbacks play an important position that bridges the gap between defense and midfield, setting the stage for the subsequent section about defensive fullbacks.

Defensive Fullbacks

Exploring the varying roles within full-back positions, defensive fullbacks play a crucial role in protecting the team’s defensive line while also contributing to offensive strategies.

As a defensive fullback, you’re an integral part of the team’s defensive formation, providing support and cover to the central defenders.

Your primary responsibility is to mark and contain the opposing team’s attacking wingers, preventing them from creating goal-scoring opportunities.

However, your role extends beyond defense. You’re also expected to contribute to offensive play by overlapping with the midfielders and providing crosses into the box for the center forwards.

Your athleticism and stamina are essential as you constantly move up and down the field, supporting both defensive and offensive transitions.

As a defensive fullback, you’re a versatile player who can adapt to different situations and contribute to the team’s success in multiple ways.

Wing Back

Discover the crucial role of the wing back in full-back positions. Wing-backs are a vital component of a team’s defensive and offensive plays.

They act as a hybrid of a traditional full-back and a winger, providing support in both defense and attack. With exceptional ball control and speed, they excel at covering open spaces and winning loose balls.

Their ability to quickly transition from defense to offense allows them to create scoring opportunities by delivering crosses into the box.

In a 3-5-2 formation, wing backs play a pivotal role in providing width and stretching the opposition’s defense.

They must possess tactical awareness, physical fitness, and the ability to outwit opposing wingers. The table below summarizes the key attributes and responsibilities of a wing back.

Central Midfielders– Control the game by distributing the ball to teammates
– Support both the defense and offense
– Create scoring opportunities for the team
Attacking Midfielders– Play in an advanced position to contribute to the team’s main objective of scoring
– Provide assists and make key passes
– Create space and break down the opposing team’s defense
Defensive Midfielders– Protect the defense and break up the opponent’s attacks
– Provide cover for the backline
– Win the ball and initiate counter-attacks

Unveiling the Center-back’s Responsibilities

As a center-back, your responsibilities on the field can vary depending on your role. One option is to take on the sweeper or libero position, where you not only defend but also contribute to progressing the ball.

Another possibility is being a ball-playing center-back, utilizing your skills to bring the ball out from the back and initiate attacks.

Lastly, there’s the wide center-back position, where you focus on shutting down opposition wingers and protecting the flanks.

Sweeper or Libero

Unveil the responsibilities of a center-back by understanding the role of a sweeper or libero in soccer positions.

These players, often positioned in the central defensive line, play a crucial role in the team’s defense and midfield. Here are four key responsibilities of a sweeper or libero:

  • Organizing the defense: As a sweeper or libero, your primary responsibility is to organize and communicate with the defense. You must ensure that the defensive line is well-positioned and organized to prevent the opposition from advancing towards the goal.
  • Controlling the ball: Sweeper or libero players are expected to have excellent ball control skills. You need to be comfortable receiving and distributing the ball from the defense to the midfield, initiating attacking plays, and maintaining possession.
  • Providing cover: Your role as a sweeper or libero is to provide cover for your fellow defenders. You must be ready to step in and make crucial tackles or interceptions when necessary, protecting the team from potential goal-scoring opportunities.
  • Initiating attacks: Sweeper or libero players also have the responsibility to initiate attacks from the back. By distributing accurate long passes or carrying the ball forward, you can contribute to the team’s transition from defense to midfield, creating goal-scoring chances.

As a sweeper or libero, you play a crucial role in both defense and midfield, ensuring your team’s control of the ball and protecting the opposition’s goal.

Ball Playing Center Back

Take control of the game as a ball playing center back and unleash your skills on both defense and offense.

As a center back, you have the responsibility of using the ball effectively to support your team’s objective of scoring goals.

While other players like midfielders and full-backs may bring the ball forward, it is the center-back’s role to distribute it from the center of the field. This requires precise passing and decision-making to initiate attacks and create scoring opportunities.

Additionally, as a ball playing center back, you are allowed to use your skills to help your team from scoring goals.

By intercepting passes and making well-timed tackles, you can disrupt the opponent’s attacks and regain possession. Below is a table that highlights the key responsibilities of a ball playing center back:

Central Midfielders– Control the game by distributing the ball to teammates
– Support both the defense and offense
– Create scoring opportunities for the team
Attacking Midfielders– Play in an advanced position to contribute to the team’s main objective of scoring
– Provide assists and make key passes
– Create space and break down the opposing team’s defense
Defensive Midfielders– Protect the defense and break up the opponent’s attacks
– Provide cover for the backline
– Win the ball and initiate counter-attacks

Being a ball playing center back is one of the most important positions on the field. Your ability to control the game and contribute both defensively and offensively can make a significant impact on the success of your team.

Wide Center Back

What are the key responsibilities of a wide center back in soccer?

As a wide center back, you play a crucial role in the team’s defense and contribute to gaining and maintaining possession of the ball. Here are four key responsibilities that define your position:

  • Intercepting passes: Your primary responsibility is to prevent opponents from accessing the central area of the field. By reading the game and positioning yourself well, you can intercept passes and disrupt the opponent’s attacking plays.
  • Tackling attackers: You must be strong and skilled in tackling to stop opposing players from advancing towards your goal. Effective tackling won’t only regain possession for your team but also discourage attackers from making dangerous runs.
  • Blocking shots: As a wide center back, you need to be able to block shots and make goal-saving interventions. By positioning yourself correctly and using your defensive instincts, you can deny opponents scoring opportunities.
  • Advancing the ball: In addition to your defensive responsibilities, you play a crucial role in initiating attacks. Your ability to distribute the ball accurately and make intelligent forward passes can help your team transition from defense to offense effectively.

As a wide center back, your role is essential in maintaining a solid defense and contributing to your team’s success on the field.

Demystifying the Defensive Midfielder Position

As a soccer player, understanding the different types of defensive midfielders can greatly enhance your tactical knowledge and performance on the field.

The anchor man, also known as the holding midfielder, is responsible for breaking up the opponent’s play and providing stability to the defense.

The deep-lying playmaker, on the other hand, excels in distributing accurate long-range passes and initiating attacking moves.

Furthermore, the ball-winning midfielder specializes in winning back possession through aggressive tackling and intercepting passes.

Lastly, the segundo volante combines defensive and offensive duties, seamlessly transitioning between defense and attack.

Anchor Man (Holding Midfielder)

To understand the role of an anchor man or holding midfielder, you need to know their crucial position on the field. As a holding midfielder, you have a vital role in the team, often being the link between the defense and midfield. Here are four reasons why holding midfielders are perhaps the most important players on the field:

  • Defensive Shield: Holding midfielders are responsible for providing a shield to the defense. Your ability to intercept passes and break up play is crucial in keeping the opposition at bay.
  • Tackling Ability: Holding midfielders must be strong in the tackle, winning back possession for the team and stopping the opposition’s attacks in their tracks.
  • Positional Discipline: Holding midfielders need to have exceptional positional discipline, ensuring that they’re always in the right place to support the defense and maintain team shape.
  • Keeping Possession: Holding midfielders are often the ones who dictate the tempo of the game and keep possession for the team. Your ability to distribute the ball accurately and make intelligent decisions is vital in controlling the game.

Deep-Lying Playmaker

A deep-lying playmaker, as a continuation from the previous subtopic, is a midfield position that combines defensive responsibilities with the role of initiating attacks. This position requires excellent passing skills and the ability to read the game.

One player who exemplifies the qualities of a deep-lying playmaker is Trent Alexander-Arnold. Positioned in the midfield, a deep-lying playmaker acts as a link between the full-backs, center-backs, and the attacking players. They’re responsible for intercepting passes from the opposing team and distributing the ball to their teammates.

With their vision and passing accuracy, deep-lying playmakers can dictate the tempo of the game and create scoring opportunities for their team. Despite their defensive role, they’re also involved in initiating attacks and providing key assists.

A deep-lying playmaker is a vital presence on the soccer field, balancing defensive duties with offensive contributions.

Ball-Winning Midfielder

If you want to excel as a ball-winning midfielder, you need to possess a relentless aggression and an unwavering commitment to regaining possession for your team. As a ball-winning midfielder, you play a crucial role in the team’s goal to disrupt the opposing team’s attacks and regain control of the ball.

Here are four key aspects of being a successful ball-winning midfielder:

  • Aggressive Tackling: Your ability to win the ball through well-timed tackles and interceptions is vital in disrupting the opposing team’s play.
  • Defensive Awareness: You must constantly be aware of the movement of the opposing team’s forwards and be positioned to intercept passes or block shots.
  • Stamina and Energy: Being a ball-winning midfielder requires high levels of fitness to cover a large area of the central midfield and constantly pressurize the opposition.
  • Transition Play: Once you regain possession, your role extends beyond defensive duties. You should quickly distribute the ball to create chances for your team’s forwards and support the attacking phase of the game.

Mastering these skills will make you a valuable asset to any team and contribute to their success.

Segundo Volante

As a ball-winning midfielder, it’s important to understand the role of the Segundo Volante, a more attack-minded defensive midfielder.

The Segundo Volante is a player who operates in a defensive position but also possesses excellent shooting skills and the ability to dribble effectively. This position allows you to contribute to offensive plays and make runs into the opposition box, while still fulfilling your defensive duties.

Your role as a Segundo Volante is crucial in supporting the strikers and center forward in creating goal-scoring opportunities. You’re the link between the beautiful game’s defense and attack, providing stability and balance to the team.

Your presence on the field helps relieve pressure on the full-backs and center-backs, making you an essential component of the team’s overall strategy.

Analyzing Central Midfielder Contribution: The Most Important Soccer Player in Your Formation?

Now let’s analyze the contributions of central midfielders in a soccer match.

As a box-to-box midfielder, your role is to cover a lot of ground, showing extreme fitness and dynamism.

As a central controller or regista, your responsibility is to control the flow of the game, distributing the ball and breaking up opposition attacks.

Lastly, as a link midfielder or shuttler, your job is to link the defense and attack, providing support in both areas of the field.

Box-to-Box Midfielder

You’ll notice that as a box-to-box midfielder, your contributions on the field are essential in both the defensive and attacking phases of the game. Your versatility and endurance allow you to cover a lot of ground, making you a vital asset to your team.

Here are four key ways you impact the game:

  • Defensive Support: You track back to tackle and block shots, helping maintain clean sheets and preventing the opposing team from scoring.
  • Offensive Contribution: You push forward to support the offense, making plays and creating goal-scoring opportunities.
  • Midfield Control: Your ability to maintain possession and control the tempo of the game is crucial in dictating play.
  • Versatility: Your role bridges the gap between two positions, providing a link between the defense and the attack.

As a box-to-box midfielder, your impact on the game is undeniable. Your ability to contribute both defensively and offensively makes you a complete player and an invaluable asset to any team.

Central Controller or Regista

The central controller or regista plays a pivotal role in the midfield, dictating the flow of the game and providing a strategic view of the field. This position is often referred to as the ‘Makelele role’ and is responsible for breaking up opposition attacks and distributing the ball.

Positioned in the middle of the field, the central controller acts as a link between the defense and the attacking players. They have the ability to control the tempo of the game and are essential for initiating offensive plays. With their vision and passing accuracy, they can distribute the ball to players on either side of the field.

The central controller also serves as an extra cover for the defense, supporting the two center-backs and ensuring defensive stability.

Link Midfielder (Shuttler)

Analyze the Link Midfielder’s contributions by assessing their ability to control the match’s tempo and distribute the ball effectively.

The Link Midfielder, also known as the Shuttler, plays a crucial role in connecting the defense to the attack. Their performance impacts the team’s ability to maintain possession and control the flow of the game.

Here are four key aspects to consider when evaluating their contributions:

  • Vision and Passing: The Link Midfielder must have the ability to spot openings and deliver accurate passes, whether it’s short, incisive passes to the wingers, or long balls to the main striker.
  • Work Rate and Stamina: They need to cover large areas of the pitch, constantly moving up and down to support both defensive and attacking phases of the game. Quick reflexes are a must.
  • Defensive Contribution: The Link Midfielder shouldn’t only provide offensive support but also contribute defensively. They must be able to intercept passes and break down opposition attacks.
  • Transition Play: The Shuttler should excel at transitioning the ball from defense to attack efficiently and effectively, ensuring continuity in the team’s play. Think of Real Madrid’s midfielders, who orchestrate smooth build-up play.

Decoding the Striker’s Duties

Now, let’s delve into the different types of strikers and their specific duties on the field.

As a striker, your role can vary depending on the team’s tactics and your own playing style.

Are you a target man, using your physical presence to hold up play and bring others into the game?

Or maybe you excel as a poacher, lurking in the box and pouncing on any scoring opportunity that comes your way.

Perhaps you’re a complete forward, with a combination of speed, skill, and finishing ability.

Alternatively, you might be a false nine, dropping deep to confuse the opposition’s defense and create space for your teammates.

Lastly, there’s the deep-lying forward, who combines the duties of a striker and a playmaker, linking up play and providing assists.

As a striker, understanding these different roles and finding your own strengths within them can greatly enhance your effectiveness on the field.

Target Man

As a target man, your role as a striker is to be the focal point of the team’s attacking play, using your shooting ability, composure, technical skill, and intelligent movement to create goal-scoring opportunities.

To excel in this position, there are a few key elements you must master:

  • Hold-up play: Use your strength and positioning to retain possession and bring your teammates into play. Be the anchor that allows your team to build attacks from the back.
  • Movement in the penalty box: Position yourself strategically to capitalize on goal-scoring chances. Make intelligent runs and be ready to pounce on any loose balls or crosses.
  • Disrupting opposition defenses: Use your physicality and presence to unsettle defenders. Make it difficult for them to mark you effectively and create space for your teammates.
  • Great footwork: Develop your dribbling skills to beat opposition players, especially in tight spaces around the penalty box. With quick and agile footwork, you can create opportunities for yourself and others.


To become a successful poacher, you must possess exceptional instincts and finishing skills, enabling you to consistently convert goal-scoring opportunities. Your main focus as a poacher is to score goals from close range. Your job is to be in the right place at the right time, anticipating crosses and rebounds inside the penalty area. You should always be ready to pounce on any loose ball and use your quick reactions to put it in the back of the net.

When your team has players attacking from the wings, you need to position yourself in the center of the field, between the defenders. By doing so, you increase your chances of being in the perfect spot to score. Remember, your primary objective is to put the ball in the net, just like famous poachers such as Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani.

Number 9 (or 9.5) – Striker or Complete Forward

Position yourself strategically and anticipate scoring opportunities as a complete forward. As a complete forward, your role is vital in leading the attacking line and finding the back of the net. Here are four key responsibilities that will evoke excitement and determination in you:

  • Be the primary goal scorer: Your team relies on you to put the ball in the net and secure victories.
  • Showcase versatility: Use your physical strength, technical skills, speed, and shooting ability to score in various ways.
  • Provide a focal point: Act as the target for your teammates’ passes and create space for others to exploit.
  • Lead the attack: Take charge in the final third, making intelligent movements and creating opportunities for your team to score.

These days, as you can probably guess, the roles are becoming even more complex. Players like Harry Kane offer the role of a 9 and a 10, something I’ll call a 9.5 today.

Now, let’s delve into the modern variation of the complete forward role – the false nine.

False Nine

Confuse defenses and create opportunities as a false nine, a deep-lying striker who disrupts the opposition’s defensive shape. The false nine’s main objective isn’t just to score goals, but to act as a playmaker and space creator for their teammates.

With exceptional ball control, vision, and creativity, they drop deep into midfield, drawing out defenders and opening up pockets of space for their teammates to exploit. This unconventional movement confounds defenders and forces them to make difficult decisions, often leaving gaps in the defensive line.

The false nine’s ability to seamlessly link the midfield and attack is a modern tactical innovation that has been successfully utilized by players like Lionel Messi in Pep’s Barca sides. Moving Messi into the CF role, gave the team more control of the ball, and opened up space for other attackers to get in behind defenders as a CB would follow Messi.

Now, let’s explore the role of the deep-lying forward and how they differ from the false nine.

Deep-Lying Forward

As a deep-lying forward, your role is to serve as a vital link between the midfield and the attack. You have the responsibility of dropping into the midfield to receive the ball, linking play, and assisting in build-up play. Your positioning and passing ability are key in unlocking opposition defenses.

Here are four important aspects of being a deep-lying forward that will evoke emotion in you:

  • Creativity: You have the freedom to express your creativity and vision in orchestrating attacks and creating goal-scoring opportunities.
  • Intelligence: Your ability to read the game and make quick decisions is crucial in finding the right passes and making effective runs.
  • Work ethic: You need to be willing to work hard both offensively and defensively, tracking back to help the team regain possession.
  • Versatility: Your unique role requires you to adapt your positioning and playing style based on the team’s needs, making you a versatile player.

Being a deep-lying forward is a challenging yet rewarding position that allows you to make a significant impact on the game.

Spotlight on Attacking Midfielder or Playmaker Role

When it comes to the spotlight on the attacking midfielder/playmaker, there are several key points to discuss.

These include the classic Number 10, who orchestrates the team’s attacking play with their vision and passing ability.

There’s also the advanced playmaker, who excels at creating goal-scoring opportunities through intricate passes and clever movement.

Additionally, the trequartista and shadow striker are other variations of the attacking midfielder role that bring their own unique qualities to the team’s offense.

Classic Number 10

Operating primarily in the space between the opposition’s midfield and defense, the attacking midfielder/playmaker is a crucial role characterized by their vision, passing, and ability to orchestrate play. As a classic number 10, they possess a unique set of skills that can ignite excitement on the field.

Here are four reasons why the attacking midfielder/playmaker is a fan favorite:

  • Creative Genius: They’ve the innate ability to see passes that others don’t, creating scoring opportunities out of thin air.
  • Masterful Playmaking: Their precise passes can split defenses and unlock tight spaces, leaving opponents bewildered.
  • Eye for Goal: While their main focus is creating chances, they also possess a lethal shot that can find the back of the net.
  • Artistry in Motion: The attacking midfielder/playmaker’s grace and elegance on the ball captivate audiences, making every touch a work of art.

Back in the day, teams used to basically be built around a number 10, who would tie the team together and be their offensive engine. These days, that’s pretty rare. However, it can still be seen in the international game. There is a few reasons for this:

  • Teams spend less time together. All in all, the international game is more simple when it comes to practice. Mostly because squads only spend a very limited amount of time together.
  • Some teams have a great gap in talent. For example, Gareth Bale was a 10 for Wales and the whole team moved through him…. Because he was significantly better than the rest of the squad.

Advanced Playmaker

Now let’s dive into the role of the advanced playmaker, shining the spotlight on the attacking midfielder/playmaker.

The advanced playmaker is similar to the classic number 10 but with more mobility. They’ve the ability to move across the frontline, finding space and creating opportunities for their team. This position requires a combination of creativity and goal-scoring ability.

One example of an advanced playmaker is Kevin De Bruyne, who’s renowned for his exceptional passing, vision, and scoring prowess. These players possess the skill to not only create chances for their teammates but also to take on the responsibility of scoring goals themselves.

This advanced playmaker role is sometimes used as a ‘free 8’ in the Man City system. They allow their fullbacks to invert and play centrally, allowing their CMs to almost play like advanced playmakers.

Their presence on the field adds a new dimension to the team’s attacking play and can often be the catalyst for unlocking stubborn defenses.


To understand the role of the Trequartista, an attacking midfielder/playmaker, it’s important to recognize their ability to create scoring opportunities and their unique style of play. Here are four key aspects that make the Trequartista an exciting and influential player on the field:

  • Flair: The Trequartista possesses exceptional technical skills and a touch of creativity that allows them to pull off dazzling moves and mesmerize defenders.
  • Vision: With their innate ability to read the game, the Trequartista has a knack for finding openings and delivering pinpoint passes to their teammates.
  • Dribbling: Their agility and close ball control enable them to navigate through tight spaces, leaving opponents in their wake.
  • Unpredictability: Trequartistas thrive on unpredictability, making it difficult for defenders to anticipate their next move, adding an element of surprise to their play.

As we delve further into the world of attacking players, let’s now turn our attention to the intriguing role of the shadow striker.

Shadow Striker

As an aspiring soccer player, you may find the role of the Shadow Striker, an attacking midfielder/playmaker, to be particularly intriguing and influential on the field.

This position involves the player making late runs into the penalty area, effectively functioning as a second striker. The Shadow Striker is known for their impeccable timing, intelligent off-the-ball movement, and ability to convert chances into goals.

They’ve a keen eye for finding spaces in the opponent’s defense and exploiting them to create goal-scoring opportunities.

One famous example of a Shadow Striker is Frank Lampard, who was exceptional at arriving late in the box to score goals in his Chelsea days. I know many might call him a CM, but he definitely had seasons where he was basically a shadow striker.

If you aspire to become a Shadow Striker, it’s important to work on your anticipation, positioning, and finishing skills to make a significant impact on the game.

Examining Wingers, and Their Impact on the Game

As a winger, your impact on the game is crucial in providing width to your team’s attacking play and disrupting the opposition’s defense.

Your role as a wide midfielder or inside forward allows you to use your technical ability, speed, and dribbling skills to effectively contribute to the team’s attacking play.

Whether it’s delivering crosses, creating scoring opportunities, or supporting the offensive play, your contributions as a winger are vital in creating goal-scoring opportunities for your team.


The winger role in soccer is a dynamic and crucial position, typically found on the flanks of the field. Wingers are known for their speed, agility, and ability to maneuver past defenders, making them instrumental in creating scoring opportunities.

Their primary responsibilities include delivering accurate crosses into the penalty area, facilitating goal-scoring chances for strikers, and providing width to the team’s attacking play.

Wingers often engage in one-on-one battles with opposing full-backs, using their dribbling skills and pace to break through defensive lines.

Additionally, modern wingers are also expected to track back and support their team in defensive duties, making this role one of the most physically demanding positions on the soccer field. Their versatility and ability to switch between offense and defense seamlessly make them vital to a team’s overall strategy and success on the pitch.

Inverted Winger

To fully understand the impact of the winger on the game, it’s important to examine the role of the inverted winger.

This unique position brings a whole new dimension to the game, with its ability to create chaos and confusion for the opposition.

The inverted winger’s cutting inside from the flank not only adds unpredictability to the attack but also allows for deadly shooting opportunities.

Their presence on the field can truly be a game-changer.

Inside Forward

When playing as an inside forward, your main objective is to contribute to the team’s goal-scoring opportunities by utilizing your attacking prowess in a wide position and drifting inside.

Similar to an inverted winger, you start wide but predominantly move towards the center of the field. Your role is more focused on offense, with an emphasis on shooting and playing through-balls. As an inside forward, you’re often a key goal-scoring threat for your team.

Think of a Mo Salah for Liverpool. He was positioned out wide on the team sheet, but he didn’t cut in and create – he was a scorer.

Your ability to find space and create chances in the final third can make a significant impact on the game. However, it’s important to note that your defensive duties may be less pronounced compared to other positions.

Now let’s explore the role of a wide midfielder in a flat midfield four.

Wide Midfielder in a Flat Midfield Four

You can make a significant impact on the game as a wide midfielder in a flat midfield four by utilizing your speed and crossing ability to create scoring opportunities for your team. Here are four ways you can influence the game as a wide midfielder:

  • Explosive Speed: Use your quickness to beat defenders and get to the byline, allowing you to deliver dangerous crosses into the box.
  • Accurate Crossing: Master the art of delivering pinpoint crosses to your teammates, giving them the best chance to score goals.
  • Defensive Contribution: Help your full-back defend against opposing wingers by tracking back and providing cover, preventing dangerous attacks down the flanks.
  • Link-up Play: Build strong partnerships with your full-back and central midfielders, combining with them to create intricate passing moves and unlock the opposition’s defense.

By excelling in these areas, you can be a vital asset to your team and provide a constant threat in both attacking and defensive phases of the game.

Now, let’s explore the role of a wide playmaker in the next section.

Wide Playmaker

A wide playmaker significantly influences the game by combining the attributes of a winger and a central playmaker, providing width and creativity from the flanks.

Unlike traditional wingers, wide playmakers have the ability to drift inside and create chances from wide areas. They possess the vision and passing ability of a central playmaker, allowing them to influence play and create goal-scoring opportunities.

One prime example of a wide playmaker is Bernardo Silva, who’s known for his ability to exploit spaces and create chances from both wide and central positions. This unique skill set not only stretches the opposition’s defense but also adds an extra dimension to the team’s attacking play.

With their ability to provide width and creativity, wide playmakers are an invaluable asset to any team’s offensive strategy.

Famous Players in Key Positions

Some of the most renowned soccer players have excelled in key positions on the field. Their skills and contributions in these positions have made them legends of the game. Here are four famous players who’ve left a lasting impact in their respective roles:

  • Franz Beckenbauer – The German legend revolutionized the sweeper position with his elegant style of play and ability to dictate the game from the back. His vision and ball-playing skills made him a true maestro in defense.
  • N’Golo Kante – Known for his tireless work rate and exceptional defensive abilities, Kante has become a vital component in the midfield. His ability to break up plays and provide a shield for the defense has made him one of the best defensive midfielders in the modern game.
  • Kevin De Bruyne – As a playmaker, De Bruyne possesses incredible vision, passing accuracy, and technical ability. His creativity and ability to unlock defenses have made him one of the most influential attacking midfielders in the world.
  • Robert Lewandowski – The Polish striker’s lethal finishing, positioning, and goal-scoring instinct have made him one of the most feared strikers in the game. With his incredible goal-scoring records and achievements, Lewandowski has cemented his status as a true goal-scoring machine.

These players haven’t only excelled in their positions but have also left a lasting legacy in the world of soccer. Their skills, achievements, and contributions continue to inspire and motivate aspiring players around the globe.

Are Youth Soccer Positions Different to Senior Soccer? 

Youth soccer positions differ somewhat from those in senior soccer, mainly due to the developmental aspects and scale of the game. In the game of soccer, players are positioned in various roles that are more fluid and less specialized in youth leagues.

For instance, in youth games, a player positioned in front of the center might have to cover more ground and participate in both offensive and defensive plays, unlike in a senior soccer league where positions are more defined and specialized.

This flexibility in youth soccer helps in developing a well-rounded skill set. The size of soccer balls and the portion of the field used also typically differ, making soccer at the youth level a unique experience that lays the groundwork for more advanced play in senior leagues.

Combining Player Positions and Roles to Make Your Tactics

Teams will combine these different types of soccer positions and roles alongside their formation to create their tactics or game model. A popular formation tweak is to have one fullback play more central, where one overlaps.

There are plenty of ways to use players’ roles to change what your team looks like. Just because they’re listed as specific positions on your team sheet or whiteboard, doesn’t mean you’re limited in what you can do.

For example, if you’re using a 4-3-3 formation, your left fullback might stay while your right-sided fullback can provide width down the right side of the field. This relies on the players in your team. In that example, you might have a wide left winger who provides width on the left side of the field and a right winger who likes to cut in and get shots on goal.

As a coach, you should use your player’s strengths and tendencies to create a soccer game model and tactic that helps you do the two main parts of any soccer game:

  • Attack the opponent’s goal
    Protect the goal when you’re defending
  • How you do that as a coach is up to you. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Many Soccer Positions Are There?

There are various soccer positions, each with its own role and responsibilities on the field. Understanding the different positions can help you determine where you best fit and how you can contribute to your team’s success.

What Is Position 11 in Soccer?

Position 11 in soccer is the left winger. You’ll be the playmaker, creating scoring opportunities and pushing the ball up the field. Emulate legends like George Best, known for exceptional dribbling and goal-scoring abilities.

What Is a 9 Position in Soccer?

The number 9 position in soccer is typically occupied by the main striker. Your objective would be to score goals. You’ll need shooting ability, composure, technical skill, and intelligent movement to excel in this role.

Where Is the Number 10 Position in Soccer?

You’ll find the number 10 position in soccer right behind the strikers. It’s occupied by an attacking midfielder, known as the playmaker, who creates opportunities and breaks through the defense with their passes and goals.

How Important are Soccer Formations and Positions?

Your team has 11 players, and their positions on the soccer field is important. However, soccer positions and formations are a lot more flexible than they first appear. There’s a great Sean Dyche Coach’s Voice video where he discusses different soccer positions and formations being a game of yards. For example, you might want a striker dropping five or six yards, that turns a 4-4-2 into a 4-4-1-1 and now you’ve got two types of forwards in your lineup. 

In my view, positions are typically far more critical when you’re discussing defensive shapes, and how your defend in your half of the field. For example, my teams defend in a 4-4-2, but it doesn’t look like that when we’re attacking.


So, now that you have delved into the fascinating world of soccer positions, you may be thinking, ‘But what if I don’t have the skills or experience to play these positions?’
Don’t worry! Soccer is a sport that welcomes players of all levels and abilities. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, there’s a position for you to enjoy and contribute to the game.
So, embrace your passion for soccer, have fun, and keep practicing to improve your skills – you never know where your journey in the world of soccer positions may take you!