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What are the Different Soccer Positions?

By Phil Shepley
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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The main types of soccer positions can be a little more difficult to understand than in other sports. The reason for this is that the positions can sometimes change depending on where the other players are on the field. Another factor in determining soccer positions is the size of the team, which can vary between three and eleven players depending on the league and age ranges of the game.

The simplest of all soccer positions to understand is that of the goalkeeper, or goalie. This player’s job is to defend the goal from the opposing team, and there is only one goalie on the field during the game. Aside from a couple of exceptions, the goalkeeper is the only soccer player who is allowed to touch the ball with his or her hands during the game. This player will also usually wear a colored shirt so he or she can be identified from the other players.

Other soccer positions that defend the goal from the opposing teams are the fullbacks. There are usually two or three fullbacks on the field at a time, who play close to their goalkeeper in order to prevent the soccer ball from making it into their goal. In a sense, whenever the opponent has possession of the ball, every player on the team is forced into the role of being a defender, but the fullback usually remains a defender for a majority of the game.

The forward is the soccer position that plays closest to the opponents goal, and is the primary scorer of the game. Another of the soccer positions is the midfielder, who mostly plays around the center third of the soccer field, and can play either offensively or defensively. All of these soccer positions, including the fullbacks, can score goals depending on the situation, and each position can be further clarified as “left” or “right” to avoid confusion during the game. Other variations on the names of the different soccer positions that describe them in more detail include wingers, stoppers, sweepers and more.

All of these soccer positions can be utilized and arranged on the field in different types of soccer formations that are usually decided upon by the coach. The type of soccer formation that is used is dependent on many factors that can vary greatly from game to game. These factors can include the size of the field, the number of players and the opposing team’s choice of formation, to name a few. The different soccer positions along with the many styles of play add to the overall excitement of the game of soccer and contribute to its continuing popularity throughout the world.

Sports&Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon126703 — On Nov 13, 2010

i stink at soccer but i have to play for p.e.

By FuzzyDJ — On May 06, 2010

Man I love soccer. It's so fun. I play defense.

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