Fullback in Soccer 101: Explained!

Updated on 
April 11, 2022

Players that are great at defending, but also excel at attacking..

If you are a regular fan of soccer, you probably figured out that I am talking about the soccer position called fullback.

In this guide you will learn:

  • What do fullbacks do
  • The roles and responsibilities of fullbacks
  • What qualities make good fullbacks
  • How to play as a fullback
  • Some tips to improve on this position

Let's dive right into it!

Small note: I've also written guides on other soccer positions such as striker, winger, midfielder, center back, and goalie. Feel free to check them out!

What is a fullback in soccer? Position definition:

Let's kick off this guide with a precise definition of fullbacks. So what is a fullback in soccer?

A fullback in soccer is a player playing outside center defenders on the sidelines. Their main task is to defend, but at the same time, they are allowed to join the attacks on the flanks with their wingers. Fullbacks are usually fast, strong and comfortable on the ball. They also must have great stamina.

Exactly like other positions, even fullbacks have both defensive and offensive roles they need to do. But before we talk about them, let's talk about the positioning of fullbacks.

Position of a fullback:

Fullbacks on the field are positioned outside center defenders on the sidelines.

position of a fullback in soccer

Fullbacks hey are playing on the sidelines right under the wingers. Due to this reason, they are able to join the attacks on the flanks and that way create 2 on 1 situation with their wingers.

This soccer position is very difficult on stamina so if you are considering playing this position, you better be physically prepared!

Now let's talk about some of the main roles of fullbacks.

Key roles of the fullbacks:

First of all, let's talk about the main roles and responsibilities that every fullback has to do in every game. Keep in mind though - that some of these will vary from fullback to fullback depending on the style of the player.

Some players prefer to join the attacks, while others don't. But generally speaking, every good fullback does these things:

1. Defending

The most important task that the fullback is responsible for defending. It's simple as that.

Once a fullback joins the attacks, it's way too easy to forget that he is an important part of the defense.

That's why defending is fullback's priority number one.

2. Joining attacks on the flanks

The second very important role I would say is attacking.

Fullbacks are known to be very active attacking players - especially on the flanks (sidelines).

Wingers very often need the support of another player to either get into the box or to get in a position from where they can cross the ball. That's why having a fullback that always makes that extra run on the flank is very useful.

3. Giving more options to teammates

When a goalie passes the ball to your center back, fullbacks usually open the space by stretching the field to the sidelines.

The same goes if your midfielder has the ball - or any other player of your team.

This is why pro players always have more options. Activity.

4. Being responsible with the ball

While forwards and wingers are expected to make the mistakes in the offense - defenders contrary are not allowed to make any mistakes on their own half.


Well, it's a bigger risk to lose the ball on your own half - than in the attack when your whole team can get back.

That's a reason why fullbacks must be responsible with the ball.

5. Playing with a winger

This point closely relates to joining attacks on the flanks. And since it's happening on the sideline, there is usually a winger.

Most of the time, fullbacks will play with the winger in order to create some dangerous situation for the enemy team.

6. Communication

Communication is extremely important in soccer - especially on defensive positions.

Fullbacks must communicate with the closest players, so in this case winger and center back.

7. Crossing

This is the very last one I added, mostly because there are many situations when the fullback can send the ball into the box.

Some of the most popular fullbacks such as Marcello, Dani Alves, or Jordi Alba cross a lot every single match. Of course - it also depends on the team strategy, but one these examples we can see that the world-class players are actively doing it.

Qualities that make great fullbacks:

Fullbacks must have a big range of skills and qualities since they also have both defensive and offensive responsibilities.

But what are some of the most common qualities that make great fullbacks?

1. Great stamina

Let's be honest, the fullback position is very difficult since you have to join some attacks.

Running across the whole field costs the player a lot of energy, and that's why you need great stamina to be able to play a whole soccer match.

2. Comfortable on the ball

All fullbacks are in contact with the ball all the time. That's why they tend to be more comfortable on the ball than other players.

It helps them to be calm under pressure, pass precisely and have the confidence to join the attacks.

3. Reliable

There is nothing better than having a fullback that you can always rely on.

This is definitely one of the most valuable qualities fullbacks can develop.

4. Thrives under pressure

Thriving under pressure helps fullbacks to get out of a difficult situation when the enemy team is pressing.

Having a fullback that thrives under pressure helps a lot - especially when you can pass him the ball.

As a former soccer player, I had one really amazing fullback that my whole defense could rely on. It was really amazing to see what a player can do under pressure.

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Tom Lindeman
Ball Athlete project
Hey! My name is Tom and I created this blog in order to help people wherever they are in their sport journey. Inspirational posts, guides, reviews and much more! Read about the project here.
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