Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, with millions of people playing it every day. But if you’re new to the game, all the different positions and their roles might seem confusing. Fear not! In this blog post, we’ve got you covered. We’ll be covering all the basics of soccer positions 101: what they are, how they work, and what kind of skills each position requires. From goalkeepers to strikers, midfielders to defenders, we’ve got a complete list of all the positions in soccer. So whether you’re a player or just a fan looking to brush up on your knowledge, this post will help you understand everything you need to know about soccer positions.

Soccer Positions 101: A Complete List

In soccer, each position has its own job to fulfill. The last line of defense is the goalkeeper who can use his hands in the penalty box. The defensive line consists of defenders who keep opposing attackers away from their goal. Midfielders control the middle of the field, creating scoring opportunities for offensive players while also playing a vital role in defense. Forwards are responsible for scoring goals and creating chances to score for their team. With different formations used based on strategy, central midfielders like playmakers and box-to-box midfielders have specific positions such as attacking midfielder or defensive midfielder.

What are the positions in soccer?

Soccer positions are categorized into forwards, midfielders, and defenders. The goalkeeper is a specialized position that plays behind the defense line. Each position demands unique skills, such as speed, agility, strength or tactical awareness. Forwards score goals and create chances; midfielders control the pace of the game, while defenders protect their team’s goal.

List of Soccer Positions

Soccer has five key positions that players can take up on the field. These positions include defenders who guard their side of the field and stop attackers from getting to their goalpost. Midfielders play both offense and defense by controlling the pace of the game and linking up with attackers to create scoring opportunities. Forwards have one main objective- score goals! And then there’s the goalkeeper who is known as a soccer team’s last line of defense when it comes to stopping opponents from scoring. In addition to these main positions, there are also secondary ones like wing-backs, holding midfielders, central defenders, and attacking midfielders who all play an equally vital role in a soccer game.


A soccer game can turn on the performance of a skilled goalkeeper. Playing an essential role as the last line of defense, a goalie must possess stamina, agility, reflexes, and decision-making skills. The keeper is not just responsible for protecting the penalty box but also communicates with their defenders to avoid any scoring opportunities for attackers. Liverpool’s Alisson Becker plays this position with gusto as he transitions from being a stopper to a playmaker. The importance of this position cannot be underestimated in modern soccer games.


Playing as a sweeper is a vital role in a soccer team’s defense. This defensive position is responsible for clearing up any loose balls or clearances made by the other defenders. Their main job is to act as the last line of defense before the goalkeeper. A sweeper plays behind the other defenders and has an excellent vision of the game’s middle of the field. They also have great passing abilities that enable them to start counter-attacks quickly. While this specific position might not be so popular in modern game strategies anymore, it can still be valuable in specific tactical situations where stopping attackers from scoring becomes more critical than creating new scoring opportunities.


A successful striker in soccer must possess excellent ball control, speed, and agility to outmaneuver opponents and score goals. Working closely with midfielders, they create scoring opportunities and make runs into open spaces. Anticipating where the ball will go, strikers are quick at making split-second decisions for attacking the goal. They play a vital role in the team by being the main objective of attacking plays. From wing-backs to central defenders, every player on the team has a specific role in stopping opposing teams from scoring except for the strikers whose primary job is to score goals.


In soccer, the midfield is the engine room of the team. It is where games can be won or lost as it is the area that links defense to attack and maintains possession of the ball. Midfielders play a vital role in this area by being the only players who can operate across the center of the field. They have to have exceptional stamina to cover a lot of ground during a game and outsmart opposing teams in ball distribution. The specific positions within midfield include defensive midfielders who protect the defensive line; central midfielders who control and distribute the ball; attacking midfielders who create scoring opportunities; and wide midfielders who provide width to the team’s play. Famous players like Andrea Pirlo, Xavi Hernandez, and Luka Modric have demonstrated how crucial these roles are to a soccer team’s success.


Playing as a winger in soccer requires specific skills such as agility, dribbling, and stamina. Wingers are offensive players who operate on both sides of the field and play an important role in creating scoring opportunities for their team. They can be considered as the playmakers of a soccer game as they help in transitioning from defense to offense. Wingers can also help stop opposing teams from advancing towards their own goal by tracking back to defend. In modern game, wingers are utilized greatly due to their speed and control over the ball. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are some famous wingers who have proven themselves on the field with their impressive performances.


Creating goals is vital to winning a soccer game. For that reason, teams rely on individuals with specific positions to score them. The attacker’s role entails playing at various levels like center forward or second striker. Alongside these positions are offensive players like wingers who utilize pace and agility to beat defenders on either side of the field. Attacking midfielders work by linking up plays between defensive lines and attackers while creating opportunities for scorers. They play a crucial role as they are responsible for making sure that opposing teams remain under constant pressure throughout the match.


Identifying soccer positions is essential as players have specific roles and responsibilities on the field. Jersey numbers play a vital role in identifying a player’s position, which enables you to understand their strengths better. Number 1 is for the goalie, while number 10 is usually given to an attacking midfielder or forward who is responsible for scoring goals. Understanding different positions such as defensive midfielders, central midfielders, sweepers, full-backs, and wing-backs helps appreciate the team’s formation better and how players work together to stop opposing teams from scoring.


The center-back is an essential soccer position that plays a crucial role in defending the team’s goal. It serves as the last line of defense before the goalkeeper. A player must possess physical strength and stamina to be able to play at this position effectively. Center-backs are responsible for coordinating with their teammates when defending against opposing attackers. They also need good ball control skills and accurate passing abilities to start counter-attacks. The defensive line relies heavily on these players since they serve as the backbone of any team’s defense.


A soccer team’s success depends not just on its forwards but also on its defenders. Full-backs play a vital role in a team’s defense as they guard the sides of the field and prevent any scoring opportunities for the opposing team’s offensive players. They need to possess good stamina, speed, and tackling skills to keep up with the constant running up and down the sideline. Moreover, they also have an important offensive function as they provide crosses into the box that can lead to score goals.

Key skills for Goalkeepers

Goalkeepers play a vital role in soccer games as they are the last line of defense before the opponent’s goal. Their main job is to protect the team’s goal and prevent attackers from scoring goals. To do this effectively, goalkeepers need to have good reflexes and agility to make quick saves. They should also possess strong communication skills to coordinate defensive efforts with their teammates. Positioning and reading the game well are also crucial skills for a goalkeeper.

Other important attributes for successful goalkeeping include bravery in making saves under pressure, leadership in directing the team’s defensive efforts, and decision-making abilities when deciding whether to come out of their penalty box or not. Training drills such as reaction time exercises are essential for improving reflexes while footwork drills help with agility. Diving practice helps goalkeepers react fast when attackers score goals.

Other names for Center-backs

Center-backs play a vital role in soccer teams as they are the last line of defense before the goalie. Commonly known as central defenders or stoppers, their main job is to protect their team’s goal and prevent opposing attackers from scoring. Usually paired up, one player takes on an aggressive role while the other provides support and cover. They need to be strong, agile, and have excellent communication skills while maintaining stamina throughout matches. Additionally, center-backs might start attacks by initiating plays from the defensive line into the middle of the field using long passes or dribbling past opponents.

Variations of the Full-Back

Full-back positions in soccer are typically split into two categories: left and right. The left fullback is responsible for covering the left side of the field, while the right fullback covers the right side. Besides traditional fullbacks, modern game tactics have included wing-backs who play higher up the field and provide offensive support. They play a vital role in both defense as well as offense of a soccer team. Similarly, center backs also fall under this category who mainly focuses on defending their team’s goalpost.

Other names for Midfielders

Players in a soccer team have different positions to play on the field. Midfielders are one such group of players who play in the middle of the field. They are known by various names such as central midfielders, defensive midfielders, attacking midfielders, or wingers. Their main role is to control the flow of the game and facilitate ball movement between defense and offense. They also play a vital role in connecting defenders with attackers and creating scoring opportunities for their team. Understanding these different roles can help players choose a position that suits their strengths and abilities.

Different types of Midfielders

Midfielders play a vital role in soccer teams with each having specific positions on the field. Defensive midfielders protect the defensive line by stopping attackers from reaching the penalty area and breaking up opposing team’s attacks. Central midfielders have stamina to keep moving around the middle of the field, creating chances for their team and also defending when required. Attacking midfielders act as the main playmaker by controlling the ball in the opponent’s half with an objective to score goals. Wingers play along the sides of the field and provide crosses for offensive players to score goals.

Sweeper’s Role in Soccer

In soccer, a sweeper plays a crucial role in protecting the team’s goal. The sweeper sits behind the other defenders and serves as the last line of defense against opposing attackers. Their main job is to swoop up any loose balls or clearances made by the other defenders. Communication skills are vital for sweepers to coordinate with their teammates and ensure a solid defensive strategy. A sweeper must possess excellent stamina, as they have to cover a vast area on the field. Understanding this position’s different aspects can help players choose a position that suits their strengths and abilities.

Striker’s Role in Soccer

A striker plays a vital role in soccer by creating scoring opportunities and scoring goals for their team. To achieve this, they need to be fast, agile, and possess excellent ball control skills. Their main objective is to get the ball into the opponent’s goal. A striker’s success depends on their ability to read the game well and make effective runs. This position requires not only technical ability but also mental toughness, stamina, and quick decision-making skills. A skilled striker can change the outcome of a soccer game.

Importance of Defenders in Soccer

Defenders in soccer hold a crucial position in protecting their team’s goal by preventing attackers from scoring. Various types of defenders include center-backs, full-backs, and wing-backs, each having distinct roles on the field. Center-backs are typically taller than other players and mark opposing forwards during corner kicks or free-kicks outside their penalty area. On the other hand, full-backs focus on both attacking and defending by supporting midfielders’ movements and holding off opposition attackers from all sides of the field. Defenders form an integral part of any soccer game because they can be the last line of defense before an opponent scores.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can players switch positions during a game, or are they assigned to a specific position for the entire match?

Although players can switch positions during a game, it is not usual. Usually, players are assigned to specific positions based on their skills and abilities. Coaches may make substitutions to adjust the team’s tactics or bring in better-suited players. It is crucial for players to know multiple positions in case they need to fill in for an injured teammate.

How can a player determine which position is best for them?

To determine the best position, a player should assess their skills and limitations. Physical traits like speed, height, and strength can affect the decision. Experimenting with different positions during practice games is recommended. Seeking guidance from the coach can also be beneficial.


Soccer is a game of strategy, skill, and teamwork. Each player on the field has a specific role to play, and understanding these positions is key to success. From the goalkeeper to the striker, every position requires specific skills and expertise. Knowing the different roles and responsibilities can help you appreciate the game better, whether as a player or a spectator. Share this comprehensive list of soccer positions with your friends who love the beautiful game, and let’s celebrate the sport together!


Categories: Soccer


  • Tom Eddy

    Tom Eddy is the founder and CEO of Poll Position, a leading sports news and opinion website. Eddy founded Poll Position driven by a vision of creating an innovative digital media brand focused exclusively on sports journalism. Under Eddy's leadership, Poll Position has grown from a solo blog into one of the most visited online destinations for sports coverage.


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