Maybe the popularity of the game estimated in more than 250 million fans worldwide, makes that the sport to be named in several ways. Soccer in the USA or Football in other parts of the world, is a game in which tactics plays a great role. If you talk about tactics, soccer position numbers are important to understand the different jobs that players execute in the soccer field.
The use of this nomenclature help, mostly coaches and players, to simplify the mutual understanding of the theory that the different tactics and strategies that are involved when planning a game.
So let’s explained now the different meanings of each functions, and the numbers associated to them.
History Of Soccer Position Numbers
Positions,Numbers, And Functions
For sure this is the most defensive position in soccer and the job of the goalkeeper is to negate the opposite side the chance to score a goal. Beyond that the goalkeeper should organize the defense, and give birth to new attack moves. Lately with the success of Pep Guardiola, several coaches have given to the goalkeeper a more preponderant function, becoming an extra field player.
The goalkeeper differentiates itself from other players wearing a different shirt color and also gloves.
Also is the only position in the field that can use his or her hands, but restricted to the 18 yard box area.
Famous goalkeepers that are recognized for their performance are for example: the never forgotten Russian player Yashim, the Italian crack Dino Zoff, the German star Sepp Maier, and in our days the endless Italian Gianluigi Buffon and the Germany national team goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer.
2-3 Left And Right Outside Back
It is very common that outside backs are also players who have defensive skills. Their mission is to support the attack as often as they can, doing sprints across the strip most of the time of the game. Some people say that the outside back players are the people that run the longest distance in the game, but in modern days even the strikers show an amazing physical deployment.
Even though they get a great deal of support from the defensive midfielders, they also have to handle the defensive aspect of the game efficiently, overlapping both functions in order to contribute to the team’s game.
Recognized right outside back players are for example Cafu, the Brazilian player that excelled the position like nobody, and Dani Alves, other modern Brazilian player, considered one of the best in his position.
4-5 Right And Left Center Back
Center back players stand out for their tall height, fast sprint, and powerful body. Also they must read the game cleverly, have leadership ability and distribute the ball effectively.
There are exceptional players that without being tall have displayed remarkable ability as a sweeper like the Chilean defender Gary Medel.
A good center back has the ability to anticipate plays avoiding the possibility that opposite team attackers create dangerous situations.
There are also center back that have been famous for the opportunistic attacking abilities , like for example the German “Kaiser” Franz Beckenbauer.
When these players recuperate the ball normally they feed the playmakers to continue the play in course.
6 Defensive Midfielder
Personality and leadership are important personal attributes for a defensive midfielder to be successful. Add a huge deal of stamina and strength and you will have a world class player in this position. The position demands to encourage teammates to release their energy to work harder in the field and also to be the example of generosity and service in order to achieve the common goal of the team. In extreme circumstances leadership is basic to display a good teamwork.
The performance of the defensive midfielder often affects the performance of the whole team, and when the player underperforms is especially notorious.
The main job of the players that play in this position is to force opponents to commit mistakes, and in this way recuperate the ball.
The other task is to get rebound and loosen balls behind the forwards line, passing the ball to the creative players.
8 Center Midfielder
Another key position in the soccer game is the center midfielder, and its role is to balance the attacking, and defensive effort to support the forward line, and also help in the pressure of the opponents when they are managing the ball. Even though, trying to recuperate the ball is important for these players, they are also involved in the creative job of the team, and eventually they can score goals.
Some requirements for players that play this position are for example: Passing ability, which must be exceptional or sending balls towards the corner direction to support the job of the wingers.
Center midfielders play in the busiest area of the pitch, so it is important their capacity to hide the ball from the opponents, and find the way to continue the play in favor of their team.
They are also known for their long distance shooting capacity, which is helpful when teams face an extremely closed defense.
The attacking midfielder position demands that the player be involved in most of the important plays of the game, taking responsibility of the creative aspect of the game and also scoring goals for the team. The location of these players is in an area a little further of the midfield, and behind the attacking line, meaning that the main part of the role is having an influence in the attacking aspect of the game.
Normally the most skillful players of the team occupy this position, and they need to be prominent in passing, dribbling and shooting.
When talking about the attacking midfielder position, the name of the game is take responsibility, because the success or the failure in a game will be considered their responsibility.
Most of the greatest soccer players have played in this position like for example the amazing Brazilian player Pele, the outstanding Argentinian player Diego Armando Maradona, and lately Lionel Messi from the same country.
Many soccer teams use 2 wingers in their formation, running across both strips of the field. Normally they are deployed in the widest locations of these strips, and require having a strong management of the ball, especially in small spaces. Velocity is other of the most required features in a winger, who normally displays agility and strong pace.
Nowadays is very common that wingers that have some defensive skills become out back players, whom play attacking and defensive roles at the same time.
The most popular formation in which wingers are use is the 4-3-3 formation, in which their mission is to attack deeply to open the opposite defense to facilitate the job of the players that occupy the attacking midfielder and the forward positions. Nevertheless, their function is not to score goals, in reality world class wingers show a great deal of scoring abilities.
The job of the center forward in soccer is to be focus solely on one thing: to score goals.
As the name remarks, the position is the most advanced in the field, and the only extra precaution that is required is to avoid the possibility to be caught in an offside position by following closely the positions of the opposite side defenders.
Some coaches demand that players who play this position stay near the midfield line when their team is on defense in its own half, and be conscious of the action to score a goal when the teammates create a goal opportunity.
In modern day coaches also require that center forward be the first line of defense, pressing the opposite players to avoid the creation of new plays.
Also modern soccer often make the forwards retreat themselves to look for balls near the midfield line, due to the excessive defensive tactics that some teams use.
Soccer Position Numbers Recap
As you can see, formations in soccer are many, but we have focused in the most classical of them to analyze the soccer position numbers that used on it.
Of course in modern days numbers position are not always applied ,and even superstition plays a role in the election of numbers by soccer superstars whom use their status to demand a determined number in the team.