Soccer Positions 101:
The Definitive Guide

Written by 
Updated on 
April 7, 2022
You're reading the most comprehensive guide about soccer positions on the whole internet.

When you finish reading this guide, you will be familiar with all the soccer positions such as goalie, center back, center midfielder, winger or even striker.

So if you want to learn more about soccer positions, you are going to love this guide!

This guide about soccer positions is still in the process!


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Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Center forward
Chapter 11
Center forward
Chapter 12
Soccer positions
tips & tricks
Chapter 1

Soccer positions and numbers

In soccer, there are total 11 different positions. You will find them all listed in this section.

Besides that, in this part you will find:

  • Full list of soccer positions
  • How to identify each position
  • What numbers & positions

Let's dive right into it!

Full list of soccer positions

Soccer is a well-known sport around the globe, but very few people actually know that there are 11 soccer positions:

  1. Goalie
  2. Center back
  3. Sweeper
  4. Right fullback
  5. Left fullback
  6. Center midfielder
  7. Defending midfielder
  8. Attacking midfielder
  9. Winger
  10. Striker
  11. Center forward

The most common formation for these positions is 4 - 4 - 2 (4 defenders, 4 midfielders and 2 forwards), exactly as shown in the image below.

Moving on, we can split all of them into three main groups:

  • Defenders - Center back, sweeper, fullback
  • Midfielders - Central midfielder, attacking midfielder, defending midfielder, winger
  • Forwards - Striker, central forward
Chapter 2

Striker in soccer

Let's talk about one of the most popular positions in soccer - striker.

Strikers are playing closest to the opponent's goal post and their main job is scoring goals for their team.

But what are the other roles of strikers? How do they play? Where are they positioned?

Main job of the striker

It seems like most of the kids wish to become a world class striker. They imagine themselves to be scoring goals every match and being popular.

Little they know that there are some other things striker has to do!

So what do strikers do in soccer?

Besides scoring goals, strikers also have to do tasks such as winning the ball in the air, pressing the opponent and being helpful to the rest of the team. The striker also has to help in defense, mainly by attacking the opponent's defenders that have the ball.

You see.. the job of a striker doesn't end by scoring goals (even though that is the most crucial task). There are other tasks that needs to be done.

With that saying, let's have a look at some of the offense and defense responsibilities.

Striker responsibilities

There are loads of responsibilities soccer striker has to do in the game. I did split them into two groups: Offensive and defensive.

1. Offensive responsibilities

  • Scoring a lot of goals. Legends like Fernando Peyroteo averaged 1.77 goals per game. While nowadays the average goal per game is smaller - it's crucial for the striker to score very often (at least 1 goal per 2 games).
  • Assisting midfielders in the creation of the team plays.
  • Shielding the ball when under pressure.
  • Dominating the air - Some of the world class strikers are just incredible in the air. Some of the great examples are: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Giroud.
  • Again.. scoring goals.. I am putting a big emphasis on this because it's the most crucial thing every striker has to do.

2. Defensive responsibilities

  • Being the initiator of the pressing. Strikers tend to be the first players to start pressuring the opponent in order to win the ball.
  • Helping the team to win the ball after loosing it
  • Being compact with the rest of the team when defending

Qualities of a good striker

What qualities make the greatest strikers? Isn't it only that they have an amazing talent?

While a striker instinct is a thing, the best strikers have also a set of positive qualities that I listed below:

  • Winning mentality
  • Thrives under pressure
  • Takes responsibility
  • Unshakable confidence
  • Optimist
  • Hard worker

These are the most common trait among the greatest soccer strikers in the world. If you want to become better, try to focus on improving one by one in every training session and you'll see the results soon!

Pros & Cons of being a striker

Just because this position is popular and it's fun to watch, it doesn't mean that there are no downsides when it comes to being a striker. I know it firsthand since most of my career I spent in this soccer position.


Big chance of being MVP
If you score goals, people see your name a lot
Financial bonuses per scored goal in professional matches
Less responsibilities in the defense


Lot of pressure
Striker have to score a lot of goals all the time
Less defending responsibilities

Is a striker important in soccer?

What about the importance of this position? Is a striker important in soccer?

Striker is considered to be the most important soccer position because strikers are responsible for scoring the goals. In soccer, the team that scores more goals wins the game so strikers are an essential part of every successful team.

You could argue that there are other players that can score goals - which his true.

However, strikers are usually in the best position to score goals from since it's their main job.

With that saying, there is no doubt that strikers are important.

Chapter 3


Wingers are mostly fast players equipped with incredible dribbling skills and creativity.

You will see them very often in 1 on 1 (even 1 on 2) situations. They are known to excel at beating defenders and creating goal-scoring opportunities out of thin air.

Keep reading if you want to learn more about this soccer position.

What does winger do in soccer?

I think the best way to start off this chapter about this offensive soccer position is by describing what they do.

What do wingers do?

Winger's main job is to take the ball up the soccer field via flanks and create goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates. Some other things wingers do are dribbling, crossing the ball, and helping other midfielders with the creation of the team plays.

Wingers are positioned on the sidelines to stretch the pitch and create more space for their team players. This way they also create more space for themselves, so when they get the ball they have more time.

Usually, wingers can stay wide or cut inside to surprise enemy defenders. It depends though from player to player.

Most of the wingers that score many goals usually cut inside for their stronger foot - like Robben.

Winger responsibilities

Let's take a closer look at all jobs winger is responsible for.

1. Offensive responsibilities

  • Creation of goal-scoring opportunities
  • Dribbling past defenders (taking 1 on 1 or even 1 on 2 situations)
  • Taking the ball up the flanks
  • Cutting inside with the ball and shooting
  • Crossing the ball into the box
  • Stretching the soccer field by staying on the sidelines
  • Working closely with the rest of the team on the creation of new plays

2. Defensive responsibilities

  • Helping his fullback with defense - making sure his fullback won't end in a situation where he faces 2 opponents at the same time.
  • Being compact with the team in case of pressing
  • Defending the enemy winger

Pros & Cons of being a winger

From my personal experience, being a winger is not an easy job. As a winger, you must be pacey, creative, and precise. On top of all of that, you need to have great stamina in order to be able to play the whole 90-minute match.

On the other hand, some of the biggest pros are that this soccer position is very rewarding. There's not a better feeling than beating 3 players with dribbling skills and scoring a goal.

So what are the pros and cons of being a winger?


Very rewarding
People notice your skills
Dribbling past defenders is your main job
You play on sideline - so you don't have to worry what's to your right & left


Wingers must be pacey
Great stamina is required

Is a winger the same as a striker?

A winger in soccer is not the same thing as a striker. Wingers play on the sidelines, and besides attacking responsibilities, they also have to help with defending. The main winger's job is to help strikers to strike more goals.

Some people make the mistake of assuming that the winger is the same thing as a striker - but it's not.

There are a few differences between strikers and wingers:

  • Wingers play on the sidelines, while strikers tend to be more in the box.
  • Striker's main job is to score goals, winger's job is to assist
  • Strikers needs to be good in the air, while winger needs to excel with speed and dribbling skills.
Chapter 4


Fullback is a position in defense that requires great stamina and soccer IQ.

In offense, fullbacks are expected to join the attacks with their wingers and that way create 2 on 1 situations. 

While this soccer position is very rewarding, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with it. 

What does fullback do in soccer?

One of the best ways to explain the position of fullback is to imagine a train going on straight rails going forward and backward. That's what fullbacks are.

Fullbacks are players positioned on the sidelines and their main job is to defend and join the attacks on the flanks. They have to play closely with the winger on their side in order to do their job correctly. Even though fullbacks can join the attacks, they have to be very smart about it since their main job is defending.

It's great to have a fullback that supports your winger on the attacks. But if he overdoes it, there is a risk of getting a counterattack through that space in case the fullback loses the ball.

Even the best fullbacks in the world such as Marcello or Dani Alves - join the attacks, but they know pretty well that their priority will be always defense.


Fullback responsibilities

Some of the most important responsibilities include defending and joining the attacks. But what are some other responsibilities that are not "so obvious"?

1. Defensive responsibilities

  • Defense - it's the main priority of a fullback. He can join the attack, but he must be smart about it so he is always ready to help with defense.
  • Communication with center backs - fullbacks have to play with the rest of the defense in harmony. That's why communication is important.
  • Preventing opponent from crossing - there will be many situations where the attacking winger will want to cross the ball into the box. That's when the fullback has to block the attempt.
  • Closing the gaps - depending on strategy, the enemy will want to send a long ball on the side for their winger. Every fullback has to be aware of this. These balls usually come from the enemy midfielder.
  • Keeping a close distance from the opposition - this is essential for tackling and the ability to intercept the movement.

2. Offensive responsibilities

  • Joining attacks on the flanks - there are many opportunities throughout the match when the fullback can join the attack.
  • Supporting the winger - this is closely related to joining the attacks on the flanks. Sometimes your winger will appear in a difficult situation. That's when the fullback has to show him that he can pass him the ball.
  • Creating 2 on 1 situation - most of the offensive tasks require the fullback to help his winger. This is very useful in counterattacks when your winge is dribbling 1 on 1. In this situation, just making a simple run behind his back creates a dangerous situation for the enemy.
  • Being calm on the ball - there are situations when the enemy team will start pressing. Great fullbacks thrive under pressure and are calm on the ball no matter the situation. Sometimes just showing your teammates that you can handle the ball in a difficult situation helps them to get more courage too.

Pros & Cons of being a fullback

It's very well-known that fullback is a very rewarding soccer position. Some of the biggest pros of playing the fullback position I think is the fact that even player that likes defense can join attacks. There are many fullbacks that have a lot of assists as well.

However, with that comes a lot of responsibility and some other cons we need to talk about. For ex. as a fullback, you need to have great stamina to be able to play the whole match. Also, sometimes it's very risky to join the attack because it could backfire easily so you have to be smart about that.


Very rewarding position
Fullbacks can join the attacks whenever there is opportunity for it
Very fun to play


Great stamina is required
A lot of responsibility

Do fullbacks tackle?

Some of the most common questions I got asked when it comes to fullback soccer position is, whether fullbacks tackle or not.

So do fullbacks tackle?

Fullbacks can and do tackle the opposition players if there's an opportunity to get the ball away from them. They have to calculate everything precisely in order to tackle correctly, otherwise, they could foul and give the enemy team a free-kick. A slide tackle is usually the last option for fullbacks as it's risky.

You see, slide tackle is definitely much riskier play by fullbacks - however, if done correctly it can be very rewarding (and also satisfying).

But generally, you want to stay on your feet in order to keep up with the enemy player. You are always more useful on the feet.

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