Soccer Positions Explained

Football, or soccer, is the biggest sport in the world right now. With over 4 billion fans worldwide, soccer has more fans than the second and third most popular sport (cricket and hockey) put together. While kickball games similar to soccer have been played since ancient times, the game of football as we know it today was conceived off in Victorian England, and has rapidly grown in popularity since, until it became the massive, global, phenomenon that it is today. Soccer is also the most popular sport among amateur players. 

Being so popular, many people are curious to get into soccer, either as fans, or even as amateur participants. The following are a few explanations as to the positions that soccer players hold within a game.


A forward is the position of players who play nearest to the opposing team’s goal. The main duty of a forward is to score goals, with minimal defensive responsibility. Most football clubs include one forward in their formation, however, it is not unheard of to include two or three. There are also some unorthodox formations that don’t include any forwards.

In soccer, forwards can be separated into three subcategories. Striker, Center Forward, and Winger. The striker is the most common kind of forward, whose main duty, as the name suggests, is to strike to ball and score goals. Their placement on the field is straight down the middle, ahead of the midfielders. The most popular striker in football currently is Cristiano Ronaldo.

Center forwards play deeper than strikers, and often replace strikers when the manager decides to go for a team with no strikers. Wingers are forward who, as the name suggests, guard the left and right of the field.


Midfielders are the player who navigate the middle of the field. The midfielder position contains the widest array of positions, including left, right and center mid, as well as attacking and defensive mid. The name of the positions tells you all you need to know. The left mid guards the left midfield, the right is in charge of the right midfield, and the center is in the middle. Attacking midfielders often run ahead of the midfield, and score goals, while defensive midfielders are in charge of joining the defense when the opposing team is overwhelming.


The defense is separated into three. The center-back’s job is to protect the ball, and make sure it doesn’t reach the goalie. The full-backs are counters to the wingers, guarding the left and right flanks, while the wing-backs, like the full-backs control the width of defense, however, this position is much more rarely introduced. Defense now is a team game. With the entire team pressing the opposing team in a group.


The goalie is one of the most important position, as a good goalie can make or break a game. As the name suggests, the goalkeeper’s job is to protect the goal from the opposing team’s forwards. In today’s modern game though, the goalkeeper is becoming a key part of the possession game and the attack. Top keepers now have to be good with both feet. And now there’s even a sweeper keeper role. Goalkeepers are often the hero when they make a big save but one simple error can cause their team to lose a game.

Watch this video to learn about soccer positions.