Soccer Positions

In soccer there are four basic positions: Goal Keeper, Defender, Midfielder and Attacker.

Of these four positions there are two speciality positions. The Stopper which is a speciality player that can be placed on defense or the midfield. The Sweeper is a special defensive player. 

A Stopper connects the defense and the midfield by protecting the defensive 1/3 of the field before situations get too dangerous when the opposing team is attacking. However, when the ball starts moving up field, the Stopper then supports the midfielders on the offensive half of the field often through passing and ball movement. If you choose to play this Stopper more as a midfielder (like in a 3 – 5- 2 formation), it allows for more  flexibilty on offense. Overall the Stopper position is designed to stregthen your midfield.

The Sweeper position, like it’s name, sweeps up anything on the defensive half of the field. Think of this player as the last line of defense that protects the goalie and goal. This player should have a strong understanding of funneling the ball and then clearing it quickly.

Each team fields 11 players.  Each team will have one goalie and the remaining 10 players’ positions are determined by the formation a team chooses to utilize.  

Team size is also dependent your child’s age. Can you imagine 22 six year olds playing at once?!  The number of players and the decision to play with a goalie will be determined by your league. Some examples:

  • U6 teams might field 3 players and there will be no goalie.
  • U8 teams might field 5 players and no goalie.
  • U10 teams might field 6 players and one would be a goalie.
  • U12 teams might field 8 players and one would be a goalie.
  • U14 teams will play with the full 11 players.

15 Responses to Soccer Positions

  1. renzo attard March 27, 2010 at 4:49 am #

    i would like to know some typical formations for Under 12 playing 9 aside

  2. peter mdaki April 3, 2010 at 4:01 am #

    i would like to know how the mildfilders play

  3. lawal sulaimon May 11, 2010 at 6:29 am #

    you guys are fantastic with all this easy explanation keep it up

  4. paulmichealin May 19, 2010 at 3:21 am #

    thank you . its very usefull to coach my players

  5. Iman August 27, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    Teach me a superb skills.

  6. Lindy August 29, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    How do you start off ur first practice with 6 yr olds?

  7. Rob August 31, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    Hi Lindy,

    If you’re coaching six-year olds chances are good that very few, and maybe all of your players have never played soccer on a team before. It’s likely that they’re nervous as this is a new and intimidating environment for them and they want to do the right things in front of their parents, who are probably watching from the sidelines. I would make the first practice VERY light and fun. Don’t have the children give long-winded introductions and histories of their experience. Simply go around and ask each of them to say their name and then go right into making them feel comfortable. Tell them you’re happy to have them on your team and that you’re nervous too. Start building their confidence by having them line up and kick a ball into the goal or get them into pairs and have them kick the ball to each other. The idea is to do something that gets them over their “scared” feelings and makes them feel they’re being successful. Go heavy on the compliments and don’t do any major teaching on the first day. You’ve had a successful practice if the kids are smiling at the end and want to come back next time.

  8. kabeta joseph May 2, 2012 at 4:00 am #

    lam a Ugandan citizen,a youth coach.lam a resident of walukuba among few place in Uganda were footballers are produced.currently were about to experience scarcity of players due to negligence of youth structure.and i know this can affect our region and all country at large.i could like every football supporters come to our rescue.
    i kindly request you to direct me where to find this football soccer books in Uganda,Jinja.i will be very pleased if assisted by you.
    NB;DVD ON soccer formation,drills,skills etc.

  9. dom October 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    i have ages 7-11 most inexperienced im wondering what size field should i use we are playing 5 v 5 becuase we dont have enough for 6 v 6
    should i keep it simple and do
    1 goal keeper
    2 defenders
    2 forwards ??????????????

    any info or suggestions would be appreciated

  10. Rex Kumbou October 29, 2012 at 5:06 am #

    Thanks alot for you great coaching tips. I as a player and coach I’m now looking forward to a greater challenge since my team have won Minor Premier this weekend and now moved up to the Premier League. I just can’t wait to use your helpful tips together with my own programs since starting them off in 2007. I will still contact you with your help. Thanks alot. Rex, Coach, Murat FC, Lae, Papua New Guinea.

  11. phyothiha December 1, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    Thanks a lot.

  12. Joselito Pimentel February 7, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Hi I am very glad and thankful I found your website, I am teaching in our community a basic soccer for kids 16U to 9yrs old.I only had a non-formal seminar for basic coaching from our Class-C coach and that’s where my interest of coaching in our community kids starts.From then on I started searching sites to get more printed drills for coaching and I found Surefiresoccer very easy to follow and teach, and it really help me…

    Thanks to Surefiresoccer!

  13. reba July 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    Wow so much to read!

  14. reba July 3, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    I’m nor so good at soccer so stuff like this comes in handy!


  1. How To Play 7 Aside Soccer Goal Size U12 | Soccer Training Pro - November 17, 2014

    […] Soccer Positions – Surefire Soccer – … – Soccer Positions. In soccer there are four basic positions: Goal Keeper, Defender, Midfielder and Attacker. Of these four positions there are two speciality positions…. […]

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