How to assign or choose soccer positions, roles and responsibilities

How to assign or choose soccer positions, roles and responsibilities

April 29, 2021 Off By Ibiye Ambille

Soccer has different positions which are assigned to individual players who has his/her unique availability to handle such position.


The game played by eleven players with an additional three who can be introduced as substitutes.


Highlighting the different roles and positions in soccer


Position: Goalkeeper


The goalkeeper is essentially one of the most important players in any soccer team.


Without a goalkeeper in between the goal post, every team’s effort on the field of play would go down the drain as opposing teams would find it easier to put the ball through the post.


Also despite the uniqueness the goalkeeper possess, the quality of the individual player is a very big factor that determines the success and failure of the team in any major tournament.


Your Goalkeeper must possess some level of quality to prevent the balls from going into the back of the net.


Some of the top skills include alertness to unexpected through balls.


Short tipping prevention, intelligence during difficult situations like the penalty shootout or one on one with an opposing attacker.


He should also have the ability to provide quality passes for his teammates.


Long balls and assist to his teammates well-timed as some of the top skills a quality Goalkeeper must always possess.


In today’s football, top goalkeeper including Ederson Moraes, Manuel Neuer and Allison are always rated high in any competition they participate in.


This is because of the unique abilities they possess.



Manuel Neuer stands out as one of the best in the world due to some of the heroics he has made for Bayern Munich in the past and present.


Some of the unique abilities he possesses include the ability to make challenging stops, saving potential match deciding opportunities that would have gone in favour of the opposition.


He plays for Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga, the country’s top tier league.


Neuer is also recognized for his ability to dribble past opponents.


Ederson Moraes


Ederson Moraes has been part of Manchester City success over the years and is also regarded as one of the best Goalkeepers in the world.


Brazil is known for its ability to stop important balls from going into the back of its net. Moraes also have impressive final decision-making abilities.


His contributions have also helped Manchester City in their quest for glory within and outside England.



Roles of Goalkeeper: To prevent opposing sides from easily scoring goals.


Position: Full Backs


The Full Backs in any team is another important player capable of dictating the pace of the game from the back.


The team’s counter attacks usually start from the back through the full-backs before spreading to other positions on the field.


He is often a side defender, offering quality defensive abilities against oppositions.


He also sends crosses in the box inside the opponents half which helps to create goal-scoring opportunities for the midfielders to easily locate the frontline attackers.


One of the top clever jobs the full-backs perform is to man-mark opposition players as they hunger towards his defensive half.


The defensive ability he posses prevents the ball from getting through the goalkeeper.


Today, clubs spend huge sums of money to acquire the services of fullbacks who possess the unique ability that would help their team grow to a more formidable side.


Example: João Cancelo

João Cancelo is a professional footballer who currently plays as a full back for English Premier League outfit Manchester City and regarded as one of the best full-backs in the world.


His role at the position has been a vital tool that the club had been working with.


Since making that move from Italian Serie A side Juventus back in 2019.


He has been the mainstay in the defence for Pep Guardiola, who consistently emerged as one of the best coaches in the EPL.


The Portuguese international has speed, energy and offensive capabilities.


He also has very good technique, dribbling skills, creativity and the ability to make good crosses into the opponents half.


He is also one of the most promising players of world football at the moment.


He contributed helped Manchester City to much deserved EFL Cup triumph at the expense of Tottenham Hotspur.



Position: Wing back

The job of the wing-back is to send quality crosses into the opposition half. On his part, he ensures the ball is well-timed at his teammates waiting to take the ball from him in the opponents half.


The brilliance of the wing-back is very crucial to the overall performance of any team in the match.


Making some solo runs that would yield quality crosses remains his main target on the field of play.


This is the reason teams tends to cover out the wing back from operating to their full potentials.


What that means, if the Wing back is given the free role to operate to his full potentials on the field, more quality crosses that would lead to more goals are expected to come through.


Today, big sides in top Europe spend a lot to acquire the services of a brilliant wing back that would guarantee the team with quality crosses into the opponents half for midfielders and wingers to handle.


Example: Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold is an English professional footballer who plays for English Premier League outfit Liverpool FC as a defender.

He is currently regarded as one of the best full-backs in the world which is a result of his ability to occupy attacking spaces and create goal-scoring opportunities for his team.


At some point in his early Liverpool career in the EPL, he was credited with the title as the most creative footballer he was assisting goals from early and set-piece deliveries.


He is gifted with well-timed perfect passes to his teammates on the pitch. He is also a product of the Liverpool youth setup.

He is also part of Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League title-winning squad in 2018 where he also played a key role in the team’s journey to lifting the trophy.


Position: Centre back (stopper)


The centre back basically saves the team from central offensive players from the opposing team.


What the centre back does is to instil fear in attackers by man-marking them closely without any gap which could lead to an unwanted goal.


He is also capable of shutting down opposition defenders during clear counter attacks.


The stopper prevents unwanted attacks from penetrating his 18-yard box.


As opposition attackers charge forward in search of goals, the brilliant centre back stopper will try to confuse.


Sprinting and making solo runs, thereby boosting the confidence level of his team when needed.


A team without a quality stopper is just like a sitting turtle duck. These are some of the reasons top clubs spend a huge sum of money to sign a quality centre back to bolster their squad for the tough challenges ahead.


Virgil Van Dijk – Liverpool

Strong and more physical. Virgil Van Dijk is a Dutch professional footballer who plays currently as a defender for EPL side Liverpool.


Before he was discovered by the Anfield landlords, Van Dijk formed a key part of the title sweeping Celtic FC in Scotland.


His contributions were more than enough to see Celtic dominate Scotland for a very long time before switching to Premier League.


Usually, he is deployed at the left-hand position of the central defensive position. He can take effective set pieces. Also known for his good technique and final third decision-making abilities.


Position: Centre back (sweeper)


The sweeper performs a very nice job in the defence for his team.


He quickly covers gaps that are created within areas with spaces to protect his overlapping wing-backs and full-backs.


He is also a man marker by giving opposition players tough times which ends up in recovering the ball off them.

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The centre back sweeper also plays an advanced role on the pitch by joining the midfielders in the midfield position.


He charges forward by making himself available for the midfielders for continuous flow of the ball and passes.


By so doing, the team gains more possession in the middle of the park which would potentially result in creating a goal-scoring opportunity for the team.


Sweepers in modern football are so important, causing big teams to send scouts academies in search of young promising players.

Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid

Sergio Ramos is a Spanish professional footballer who plays currently as a defender for Real Madrid in La Liga.

Known for his well-timed tackles, set pieces and crosses. Ramos saw as the best defender of his team.


Despite his position as a defender, Ramos is also a good goal scoring. His goals have helped saved the blushes of Real Madrid in important matches.



Position: Centre back (quarterbacks)

This is the core or the central part of any team.


He is assigned the role of stopping the ball from passing through just like the job of the sweeper.


Position: Defensive Midfielder


Defensive Midfielder: sits in front of the team’s defenders at the back to further help in dictating the pace of the game.


At all times before the ball goes beyond the defensive midfielder, he is the first to encounter the ball as it moves towards the defensive half of his team.


Further explanations on the role of the defensive midfielder


Ball winner: He here must ensure balls are taken off the foot of the opposition player during the run of play.


The level of creativity on his part is also crucial to the team’s growth.


Deep lying playmaker:  The number four as the fantastic four performing most of the defensive duties in the midfield without relying solely on the quarterbacks.


How defensive midfielders operate in some cases


Static (standing defensive midfielder): Sticks to his position without advancing further into the opponents half.


His role on the pitch is always deep in his half to protect the defenders from vulnerable attacks from the opposite end.


Dynamic ( Moving defensive midfielder): The dynamic or Moving defensive midfielder is the most modern footballer who is currently in high demand and plays a similar role with the box to box midfielder.


What he does is simply protecting the defenders.


At the same time, advances deeper inside the opponents half to win and distribute balls to the frontline.


He also makes himself available for crosses, free kicks and corner kicks.


Working alongside the midfielders to create goal-scoring opportunities for his team.


A perfect example in the English Premier League is Wilfred Ndidi and Fred at Leicester City and Manchester United respectively.

Fred – Manchester United

Fred is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays currently as a midfielder for Manchester United in the EPL.  Regarded as one of the best in his position, the Brazilian has done remarkably well for his club in recent years.


His performance so far for United have added the term irreplaceable in the team at least for the time being.


His defensive abilities have been praised by football fans and followers who follow up with his performance for Manchester United across all competitions.


Wilfred Ndidi – Leicester City

Wilfred is a professional footballer who plays for Leicester City in the EPL and is regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders in the division over the past few years.


His form has contributed immensely to Leicester City’s success in top competitions including the Premier League.


Position: Wide midfielder


He performs a very good job by preventing attacks from opposition players from accessing his defensive half.


He provides full protection for the full-backs.


Position: Attacking Midfielder

The attacking midfielder provides crosses towards the frontline attackers. Also, creating goal-scoring opportunities as well.


Position: Box to Box Midfielder

The box-to-box midfielder is a central midfielder who is hard-working in nature and posses good all-round abilities.


This makes  the box-to-box midfielder skilled at both defending and attacking for his team.


Bruno Fernandes – Manchester United


He is a perfect example of a box-to-box midfielder, currently leading the charge for Manchester United.


His brilliant form has earned him a place in the Premier League elites and the best of his position.


Position: Winger

The winger plays a wide attacking football, coming through the flanks before turning to the central position.


He provides goal scoring opportunities for the striker.


Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund


Jadon Sancho is one of the best wingers of world football right now. His ability made him standout in german Bundesliga as one of the best. Currently followed by top clubs in the world.


Position: False Nine

The false 9 in any team is a type of player in the centre forward position, who tends to drop deep and team up with his midfielders in the midfield to claim in possession.


Rather than sticking to the opponent box, waiting for scoring opportunities to come, he returns to his teammates in the middle of the park to dictate play a little bit.


The role false nine play on the other hand is aimed at disrupting the opposition defence.


He is expected to drop deep into the midfield in form of a supporting midfielder from the attack.


When a team is a side to be playing with a false nine, it means they are playing without a dedicated striker or target man up front.


Example: Lionel Messi


The Barcelona forward has been employed as False Nine in so many games the club had played across all competitions which worked perfectly for them.


Messi as a false nine has gone on to win several individual awards including the FIFA best footballer award.


For Barcelona, he has been so helpful to the club, dropping dip into the midfield to win off balls from opposition players.

This was famously seen during Barcelona’s all-important UEFA Champions League clash with Paris Saint-German after the Catalans had lost heavily in the first leg.


With Neymar also helping out, Messi was able to manage Barcelona’s attack as a false nine back to contention for the Champions League title but was knocked out by Liverpool in the next round.


Example: Eden Hazard


Eden Hazard is another top-class forward in football who can light up your team on his good day.

During his time at Chelsea, he was singlehandedly doing most of the attacking duties for the club in domestic and international competitions.


Hazard was the main focus whenever Chelsea plays any football match. Moving over to Real Madrid, his form dropped which can be attributed to series of injuries.


Position: forward

He plays in between the midfielders.


Forwards football is saddled with the responsibilities of scoring goals for their team. The Forwards is the front line chief attacker and the main offensive player on the pitch.


As the ball is drawn to him, himself and the goal post is where the work lies. He races to the ball to break the opposition defence and scoring goals for his team.


Position: Striker

The striker is the closest to the opponent’s goal post and is assigned the role of scoring goals for the team.

Also known as a forward, he gets more attention because of the role he plays and it is because he can score goals when necessary.


He must remain at the goal-scoring position so that whenever the chance presents itself, he will be able to score.


Sometimes the forward may decide to drive back into the midfield, win balls and race towards the opposition goal post.


10 Ways to choose the best position to play as a footballer

Before you begin to choose a position to play as an upcoming footballer, there are lots of areas you will have to look through, consider before you venture your way through.

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In developing areas you often see players jump into playing football without having a definite plan for the particular position that would best suit their ability.


This way, most of them end up becoming flops, in the end, resulting in a poor career in their respective clubs.


However, this could be avoided if you take your time to examine the areas that will easily make you succeed.


In modern football today, advanced coaches do love to play alongside individual players with dual roles.

Although this is also dependent on the individual player abilities.


This can be seen in some of the styles of play employed by the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.


But despite these, there’s nothing compared with having a good role to play on the football pitch.


Today, the reason you often hear some of the biggest players weeks in a week out is their ability to handle a particular role properly, which leads to the Media hype surrounding them.


This article highlights what you should consider and the recommended ways you should utilize when choosing the best position, roles to play as a footballer aiming to become successful in the nearest future.


Here are the 10 ways to choose the best position to play in football as a footballer


An understanding of the game

A lot of us watch and follow football as a sport without having a clear and detailed understanding of the rules that govern the game.


That been said, you should take up the responsibility as an individual to know the various rules of the sport.


The second thing is, you should learn how clubs, coaches and players do approach football matches.


Today, every football club have grown to have a style or pattern of play which has turned out to be the club’s tradition guiding the players and the coaches


Before you join any football club or an academy today, try to understand how matters are carried out on the pitch. Know the technique behind the success of some of these teams you follow.


Go back to the basics, understand soccer tactics, style of play and other aspects related to soccer on and off the pitch.


This will help you in the nearest future as you continue with your dream career.


Here are some of the important areas you should know


°Ability to deliver brilliant crosses ° Accurate passe ° Offensive and defensive mindset ° short and long term decision making abilities ° General techniques that could help your team’s overall performance on the field of play.


If you have a detailed understanding of football as a sport, your chances of survival become higher.


Try your best to have these things at your fingertip.


The Tradition in your area

Your area, does it have a tradition for football? This is because the level of soccer played in your area could probably determine your activeness and interest play.


It could be a lot easier for you since there are few or no active players in that area.


This may lead you to play any role you desire at any particular point in time. However, this could be bad could harm you in the nearest future.


The second thing, you reside in a region where there are a lot of active footballers, the competition could be much and would a be a burden on you.


A lot of people fail in these areas l because there’s no much opportunity available to showcase what you have in there. Coaches believe in the player they already know and could not be patient with you.


This could dent your hopes of making it. Instead, you could consider putting yourself as a player with dual roles.


Having to play dual roles, you can easily swap roles that are also dependent on your ability as an individual in a team full of talented players just as you are could be more difficult to easily break into regular starting roles.


Today, clubs place priority on players that are well established in a particular role. For example, Erling Haaland is a very prolific number nine who scores goals week in week out for his club Borussia Dortmund.


This has made Haaland make the headlines every single week.


For the Norwegian international, he had the unique ability of scoring goals.


As an upcoming footballer, you need to know your competitors at your preferred position you’ve already chosen to Focus on in your career.


It would be a bad idea to switch position in the future and this is because it could spoil your career.


If you’ve considered playing the role of an attacker, try your best to stick to it.


Before you join a club today, be on the lookout for the competitive positions in the team before taking the next bus heading to the team.


On the other hand, it advised you to decline offers that could dent your chances of succeeding in the nearest future.


Interest ( The position you like) before you begin choosing a particular position, first consider the one you like, the position you can perform optimally.


You should try to develop a passion for your chosen role, this way you will be addicted as you continue to play along.


The more interest you have in a particular position, the more likely your chances of succeeding with it as you continue to grow.


Cristiano Ronaldo is known for his goal-scoring abilities as an attacker. His role is always deep in the opponents half, waiting for the next available opportunity to score a goal for his team.


Developing interest in a particular position is quite easy and here’s how you can do it.


°Watch soccer matches regularly ° play soccer, know your strength and weakness, test your ability in real situations.


In these ways, you can achieve better things and they’ll also serve as a guide towards helping you become a successful player in the long run.


Sports is not an inborn profession, rather it is gotten through interest commitment.


What this means, if you want to make it right, you have to develop high interest and commitment to doing it matter how tough it becomes.


Follow up football competitions

If you aim to have in-depth knowledge of your chosen area, it is recommended you follow up with the latest as it unfolds.


Follow football matches visually, know the best roles and how players become successful at it.

Learn how players help their team stand out amongst the rest.


The events you follow, the more you become addicted to the sport.


Some of the best players in the world constantly followed up with the record of past players, some of which turn out to be their idols.


In football, one could reference the likes of Delima Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Gattuso, etc. These players today are role models to some emerging players of world football.



The ability to play a particular position is what makes you stand out among others.


As an individual player, you should be able to know your ability and what you can carry.


Relating to a role in the team, you should be endowed with the ability to play with ease. Otherwise, your chances of making it to the first team become slimmer.


Role (Access the role you have chosen to play)


As a newbie, it is recommended you take your time to access every single position to know which one is better for you. By so doing, you will have a clear idea as to where you can easily play without having too many problems with it.


Access the various positions by going through online directories.


Another option is to access or understudies the roles of already established players. How they play and what makes them stand out.

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Find out what role can suit your playing style before taking the next step.




The sporting scene is a very big stage where everybody is expected to be at the very best.


What this means, you must be at your very best to succeed.


This can be achieved by accessing the various positions that would be easier for you to succeed no matter the circumstances you face.


You cannot succeed in any role you play without having a good level of confidence.


For example, a defender without a high level of confidence may not succeed with his team.


This shows your level of confidence plays a very big role in the career of every footballer in the world.


Do not compromise, focus on the area you have the confidence to work with.


Continue to work on yourself on that particular role you have chosen to play.


In challenge so many players face in their respective clubs today is the level of confidence they have. The mindset and how they approach situations.


Although this can be worked upon. However, it takes a certain level of seriousness and willingness to work to achieve it.


Stamina (Physical strength and fitness)


Do you think you have what it takes to handle that position? Your ability, stamina plays a major role in succeeding in that preferred position of yours.


Coaches or tactical managers are always on the lookout for this aspect in players.


Your ability to play at your best over the entire duration you are present on the pitch show’s how good you are.



You should build yourself to the level of handling a position during tough situations. You can improve on yourself by carrying out regular or daily workout, keeping good eating habits and keeping the body fit and healthy.



Your mental strength is also another aspect. Your ability to dictate the current state of the game is also important.



Stamina goes beyond your physical appearance. Most often, people refer to players with a strong physical appearance having the best stamina.



However, the reverse is the case.



Your physical appearance such as height, foot


In modern football, a lot of teams focus on the height of players most especially those in the defensive position.


Coaches tend to favour taller defenders. This is because of the added advantage they bring to the team.



Secondly, the type of player, like the particular foot the player specializes in. The majority of players in the world today are right-footed compared to left football players.



Thirdly, the average body size of players is considered to be perfect in any particular role. In a team sport, average body size players tend to perform better.



Advice from Coach


This may turn out to be the major decider for some players. This is because coaches tend to favour players willing to hide their advice. However, this could turn out to be the greatest obstacle in the life and career of the player.



Since the coaches advice is always the best, you should stick to your initial plan. Coaches advice are still good options for you.



See reasons why your coach advises you to embark on such a role. This could be that he had already seen something unique in you and wants you to be good at it.



A coach will advise you to play a particular position because he believes you are capable of handling it to the fullest.


He sees your determination and wants you to succeed with it despite the circumstances.



Why your Coach wants you to play to his style


It could happen that you’ve already started as an attacker of your team and the Coach is well aware of the abundance of players in the team most of which are better than you are.


The only way he could fix you into the team is to recommend a similar role for you to play. Even though is a good idea to play a similar role, you should examine yourself to know the role you can handle as a player.



Do not switch to another position due to Competition. Instead, focus on becoming better than the other players in the team playing the same role as you are.



Why you should not listen to advice from your coach at all times



Future reason: you could leave the team in the future or a new manager comes into the team and it turns out you are not fully grounded on that new role the former coach had earlier recommend for you.


In this case, the new Coach will not be pleased with whatever impact you make and this will cause more harm than good to your career.



Stick to your desired position and never allow external influence on it. If it happens to be like that, it may turn out disastrous in the end.



Loss of Confidence

Initially, you could be enjoying the role that was earlier recommended to you by your former Coach. But if you continue to make mistakes with it, your form would drop and your confidence will also drop.



What I’m trying to point out here is, you should allow yourself to decide on whatever role you should play as a footballer.



Almost all successful footballers in the world today discovered their talents during their development years.



Some of the easiest positions to consider


Defence (five and six)

The five and six positions are really good options for you.


This is because the work rate is a little bit reduced compared to wing-back and full-backs.


In this position, you protect the goalkeeper from direct attacks from opposition players.


The good thing is before the ball gets to you, the defensive midfielders had already dealt with the ball.


Midfield (four and eight)

The number four position sits in front of the five and six. His job is to protect the central defenders from opposition attacks capable of leading to a goal.


The attacker (top nine)

You are saddled with the responsibility of scoring goals for the team. Here, your only job is to shrug off defenders and score the much-needed goals for your team.


Although it is not as easy as it sounds, attackers do a lot of jobs trying to put the ball in the back of the net for their team.



The goalkeeper is the guardian of the goal post. His job in between the sticks is to ensure balls never penetrate the net.


At least, the Goalkeeper should make efforts to stop the ball from moving into the back of the net.


If you can become a quality Goalkeeper capable of stopping important balls from moving into the net, you could be heading to the best club.



Football has several positions and roles which are assigned to players.


What makes you stand out in any particular role you play is your ability to make important decisions that would lead to your team’s success in the end.


To become successful, it advised you to pick a position you believe you can easily handle. This can however be achieved through accessing the position you’ve selected to play.


Always play to your full capacity and do not hide under the influence of anybody if you are a beginner trying to get to the top of your game.


The article well researched for people to know the positions and roles in soccer and also to help beginners select the best position.

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