Goal keeper: The job of the goal keeper is to keep the ball out of the goal their team is defending. The goal keeper, also known as the goalie, or "keep," is the only person on the field allowed to use their hands. The goal keeper wears a different color shirt from their team and the opposing team. They also wear goalie gloves to protect their hands from sharp pain of the ball. Goal keepers often kick the goal kicks, although sometimes a defensive member will take the kick. They are not permitted to use their hands outside of the 18-yard box, but they are allowed outside of the box. The goalie is the second person in charge on the field.
Sweeper: If there is a sweeper they are the last defender on the field, not counting the goalie. Their position is in between the defensive line and the goalie, making the bottom of the diamond shape. They always stay behind the defensive backs. Sweeper is often in charge of the field. The person playing the position is able to see the whole field and what is going on, so they are basically the coach on the field. The sweeper is the one who tells each player where they are supposed to be, who they are marking, to move up when they are supposed to, etc. The sweeper is often told by coaches to yell at the other players if they are not where they are supposed to be (see 4-4-2 or 4-4-3 formations).
Stopper: If there is a stopper their position is in between the mid-field line and the defensive line. The stopper makes the top of the defensive diamond. They usually "mark" the other teams center mid-fielder or center forward. They are the third person in charge on the field, after the goal keeper and sweeper. The stopper usually ends up roaming all over the field and has the responsibility of distributing the ball to the wings.
Right/Left Full Back: The full backs are positioned in between the sweeper and stopper. The two defensive backs make the outside of the diamond shape. Their jobs are to "mark" the other teams forwards. They usually stay on their half of the field, but sometimes go onto the opposite side when they are following their player. One of the fullbacks jobs is to throw in the ball from out of bounds.
Center midfielder: The center-mid roams all over the field, doing the most running of anyone on the team in a game. They are in charge of transitioning the ball from one side of the field to the next. The center mid-fielder marks the opposing center mid-fielder, and sometimes the center forward depending where the two are in the field. If a team is playing with two center midfielders, the two need to communicate with each other in terms of who is marking who and if they are offensive or defensive. The center mid may score goals, seeing as though they are an offensive player.
Right midfielder: The right midfielder is an offensive and defensive player. They are in charge of transitioning to offense and defense at any time. They mark the other right midfielder. The right midfielder generally stays on the right wing of the field, sometimes even touching the sideline. Right mid may also score, or help to score goals.
Left midfielder: The left midfielder is an offensive and defensive player. They are in charge of transitioning to offense and defense at any time. They mark the other right midfielder. The left midfielder generally stays on the right wing of the field, sometimes even touching the sideline. Right mid may also score, or help to score goals.
Forward: The main job of the forward is to score the goals. The forward generally stays on the opposite side of the field than they are defending. The forward is not in charge of marking anyone, but instead gets marked by the opposing outside backs. Depending on the formation a team is playing, there could be two forwards, three, four, etc. Most teams play with either two or three. The forwards do not typically stay on one designated side of the field, but instead switch around and weave in and out of each other.
NOTE: Unlike some other sports, all positions in soccer are allowed to go anywhere on the field
Like many other sports, in the game of soccer there are numerous formations teams can set up depending on their strategy for that particular game. Therefore, the positions can vary depending on what formation they are playing. Formations are named depending on the number of players in the particular area. The goal keeper is never counted in the name of a formation, therefore all the numbers of the formation add up to 10, since the keeper is not counted and there are 11 players on the field. Some common formations are a 2-3-5 formation, 4-4-2 formation, 4-3-3 formation, 3-5-2 formation, and a 3-4-3 formation. All these formations add up to 10. The first number of the formation is the defensive line, including the sweeper if there is one. The second number is the mid-field line. The final number is the offensive line. Teams may not always play with a sweeper. If the team is in a formation that does not include a sweeper, than the the team is playing a "flat back." This means that the defensive line is a flat line, rather than having the sweeper directly behind the defensive line.
Copyright 2008. This page last modified on Tuesday, June 3, 2008 1:36 PM
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