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What Is a CDM in Soccer? Roles, Responsibilities, Skills, Jersey Numbers

CDM in Soccer

In soccer, one of the most modern positions that has gained popularity is the CDM, or central defensive midfielder. What is this position? Let’s explain.

What Is a CDM in Soccer?

A CDM, or central defensive midfielder, is a midfielder that focuses on defense but moves forward to create scoring chances when needed. A CDM is mostly tasked with supporting the defensive efforts of the team. While not a true defender, they play a very defensive game. The best make aggressive tackles and get interceptions, making it very difficult for the opposing team to play in the middle of the field.

CDM Roles and Responsibilities

The most important role of a CDM is to support the defense. Defenders try to prevent attackers from getting behind them, and while on defense, a CDM does the same. Central defensive midfielders must also be ready to move up into an offensive position, make passes, and create scoring opportunities. A good CDM possesses excellent game awareness, which helps them know when to assume a defensive position and when to move into offense. They must constantly communicate with the offensive players to efficiently leverage passing and scoring situations. A CDM must be fast and physical, ready to make a cut or tackle.

CDM Skills

Here are the most important skills for central defensive midfielders:

  • Tackling
  • Reading the game
  • Supporting defenders
  • Communication
  • Stamina

CDM Jersey Numbers

In soccer, central defensive midfielders wear number five or six, depending on the numbers the defenders are wearing. One center back wears the number four, and the other wears five or six. The CDM wears whichever number is not taken by the second defender. Jersey number assignments are typically followed in international play, but are not always required in club play. For this reason, you may see players wearing the number five or six that are not playing as a traditional CDM.

Notable Central Defensive Midfielders

  • Kevin De Bruyne
  • N’Golo Kante
  • Joshua Kimmich
  • Declan Rice
  • Jorginho
  • Marco Verratti
  • Ilkay Gundogan
  • Leon Goretzka
  • Nicolo Barella
  • Marcos Llorente
  • Frenkie de Jong
  • Rodri
  • Yves Bissouma
  • Emerson Royal