LESSON 5 – ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES FOR EACH POSITION
Do you need clarification about the responsibilities and roles of each position? The following guide will help you understand the roles and responsibilities of each class. This guide is for a 4-3-3 configuration for a 11v11 match (U13+). However, the functions remain the same regardless of the number of players. You can view the various formations by visiting this link.
Different positions in US Soccer are now assigned numbers to explain their roles better. As players age, you can tell them they play as a #7 forward/midfielder.
- Characters: Fearless and good at catching, athletic, and vocal.
- Roles & Responsibilities: Must be able to pick up the ball from the ground, around other players’ feet. They prefer to get the ball with their hands rather than relying solely on their feet to save shots. Assist in keeping the ball out of their goal and organizing their defenders to prevent an image from happening. It is a difficult position to be in. Children will often feel guilty when they score a goal when in reality, the ball beat all other players on their team before it got to them.
RIGHT DEFENDER and LEFT DEFENDER (#2 and #3).
- Characters: Excellent at 1v1 tackling. Fast, loves to move forward and attack as much as she defends.
- Roles & Responsibilities: In modern football, outside defenders (#2+ #3) can be attackers just as well as defenders. It would be best if you encouraged them to move forward when your team has possession of the ball and get back when your opponent does not. They often compete with fast players who love to dribble, so they need to be strong 1v1 defenders and keep up with speed. Also known as “outside back,”
CENTER DEFENDERS (4 AND #5)
- Characteristics: Strong and Big. Excellent in the air and 1v1 tackling. Must have exceptional organization: good speed and ability to pass.
- Roles & Responsibilities: This role is between the left and right defenders. It organizes the defenders to keep the ball from reaching the middle of the field. They must be able to make intelligent decisions about who/when they pass and dribble the ball. It is essential to keep possession. Losing it means the opposing team has less time until they score. You must be strong and courageous when facing attackers. Also known as “Center backs.”
CENTRAL DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER #6
- Characteristics: You must be disciplined and a good tackler. You must be a good passer and have a calm personality.
- Roles & Responsibilities: The #6’s part is to be in between the attacking midfielders and the backline. They are responsible for disrupting the opponent’s attack and preventing them from getting to the defenders. Your team without this role will make it difficult for attacking teams to score by leaving too much space between midfielders or defenders. The #6 must communicate with their teammates and make safe decisions about who they pass the ball to when they have the ball. They must keep the ball if they have possession.
CENTER MIXED (#8)
- Characters: Strong passer, creative with the ball at his feet, good endurance. You should be the most technically-minded player on your team.
- Roles & Responsibilities: The center midfielder links your forwards and your defenders. They should be mobile and able to move into space. They should be encouraged to use their freedom to make dangerous passes, dribbles, or shots. Because they have the ball at their disposal, they are more accessible than the defenders and can play with it. It’s also less dangerous for the team to lose it. The #6 to #9 space is filled by the center midfielder, who can move freely across the field. This player can be designated as a #6 (as in the visual example) or an additional #10.
RIGHT MIDFIELDER/FORWARD AND LEFT MIDFIELDER/FORWARD (#7 AND #11)
- Characters: Quick, enjoys taking players on 1v1, willing to defend, good passer, and loves to shoot.
- Roles & Responsibilities: These players provide width to the field and should aim to move behind an opponent’s outside defender, either by dribbling on the ball or receiving a pass. You must be able to attack quickly and be an intelligent player. It would be best if you always looked to pass to someone who can score or dribble and shoot themselves. For example, if they are playing outside forward, they should drop back to midfield to defend. They should be able to fall back to the backline, even if they are playing as an outside midfielder in a 4-4-2 formation.
ATTACKING THE MIDFIELDER (#10)
- Characters: Comfortable with the ball at his feet, creative, loves to score goals and assist others. Mobile and always looking to find space.
- Roles & Responsibilities: Your most creative player. They should be looking for ways to get through the defenders of opposing teams with a pass or dribble. They should be able to roam the offensive half of the field and create havoc when they get the ball. They should be able to find themselves in the space behind the center forward but have the freedom to move wherever they need to win the ball.
CENTRAL FORWARD (#9)
- Characteristics: They are very mobile in their movements. Robust, fast, and able to shoot. They should also be aiming to score goals. It is essential to understand space and how it can be used.
- Roles & Responsibilities: The #9 should be your goal scorer, and you should always look for new ways to score. They must be mobile as they will be more challenging to defend against. They should connect with them to make it easier for them to pass the ball back to their teammates. The #9 is the highest player on the field.