The sport of soccer requires eleven players on each team to face off against each other for 90 minutes of play. Each team strategically organizes its eleven players to optimize their ability to win. There are many different formations that managers can utilize which change the positioning of players on the field and their responsibilities. The three main groups of positions on the soccer field are defenders, midfielders, and forwards. Read to learn about the roles of each position and who are some of the best players in each position.
Defenders play closest to the team’s own goal and are responsible for stopping the opposing team from scoring. Although teams mix and match how they position their defenders, the backline is seen as the wall in front of the goalie.
Centerbacks are the defenders that play in the middle part of the defensive line. Right and left fullbacks play on the defensive line as well, but they are also typically incorporated into the offense at times as well. Their defensive responsibilities revolve around stopping the opposing team’s wingers from getting the ball into the middle of the field and in front of the net. “Wingbacks” are the defenders on the left and right side that push up as well and help with attacking the other team’s net.
Defenders are typically required to be able to react to opposing attacks and be strong and agile when making plays. They are also required to communicate with the rest of the team to set the defense throughout the field. David Alaba for Real Madrid, Marquinhos for PSG, and Ruben Dias for Manchester City are among some of the best defenders in the world.
Midfielders control the pace of play, set the tempo for teams, and control the ball movement on the pitch while being the moderators between the defenders and forwards.
Just like defenders, there are a few different types of midfielders. Defensive midfielders travel between the defenders and other midfielders, and they are responsible for receiving the ball from the back line and advancing it up the field. Defensive midfielders also play their fair share of defense as well and they also try to counter the opposing attack. Central midfielders play offense and defense equally for the team and are involved in nearly every play on the field. They hold everybody on the team in formation and can be compared to the captain of a ship.
Attacking midfielders play behind the forwards receive the ball from the other midfielders and defenders and focus on scoring along with the forwards. Right and left midfielders play near the sidelines and draw the opposing defense out from the middle of the field. They can be used as facilitators on the outside part of the field. Wingers and midfielders on the left and right side of the field take the ball up the field to help set up the offense.
Midfielders are required to be able to do all of the things that make up a great soccer player, although they typically excel at one thing or the other, leading to their role in the midfield. Kevin De Bruyne for Manchester City, Luka Modric for Real Madrid, and Bukayo Saka for Arsenal are among some of the best midfielders in the world.
Forwards are expected to create scoring opportunities and put the ball into the back of the net for their teams. After all, the way to win any game is to score more than the opponent.
The striker is the player on the team that plays the most toward the opposing team’s net. The striker is mainly responsible for finding ways to score after receiving the ball from the midfield. Center forwards are similar to strikers but play a little farther back. Center forwards typically have better dribbling skills and can create their shots more frequently in front of the net as they are also commonly tasked with scoring.
Forwards are expected to have field awareness to ensure that they are onside at any given moment. Forwards also typically have great speed, and dribbling ability, and can find creative and powerful ways to finish. Erling Haaland for Manchester City, Kylian Mbappe for PSG, and Karim Benzema for Real Madrid are among some of the best forwards to play the game today.