Picking a soccer position when you are new to the sport can be quite difficult.
Especially when either you are interested in playing various positions or simply don’t know where to start.
There is also a chance that you are not sure what is required to play each position too.
Now I had this problem when I first started playing as a youngster, as I knew I had certain qualities.
However, I wasn’t sure which position would suit me.
Years later, though, I have a good idea of what positions work for me and which ones I can play better than others.
But I’m guessing you want to find out which soccer position you should play a lot sooner.
So going off my experience through playing in different roles on the field, I am going to hopefully help you within this post find the right position for yourself.
I will give you an idea of what traits and qualities you will need to play each position as well as some questions to ask yourself, so you can figure out which one you would be most interested in picking up.
Table of Contents
Which Soccer Position Should You Play?
Despite there being 11 players on the pitch, there are multiple positions that can be played through a range of different systems and formations within the game.
Now you may know that there are four main positions on the field, you have:
However, from there, apart from goalkeeper there are specific positions within them that you can play.
So the best place to start is to pick an area you have an interest in playing and study it to become better at it.
If you have no clue where to start, then I would start by asking yourself the following questions:
What Are Your Strengths And Traits?
Whether you are new or have been playing for years, almost every footballer has specific strengths and traits.
So if you are currently in the phase of picking a position, one of the best places to start is to evaluate your strengths.
Are you tall and physical?
If so, you could potentially make either a great target man as a forward or a solid centre-back in defense.
Let’s say you are small and fast, then being a playmaker or a winger could be a great place to start.
Being agile can make playing these positions hard to defend against, as you can turn more quickly than someone who is not agile.
Just look at players like Messi and Dybala, to name just a few.
So ultimately, within your first few sessions of playing or using any previous experience of playing the game, you want to consider what you are good at.
That will narrow down the positions straight away, giving you an excellent base to start at, of maybe 1-3 to go with initially.
What Do You Enjoy Doing When Playing Soccer?
Many footballers like to put the ball in the net, which makes sense, because who wouldn’t.
However, there is a lot more to soccer than simply scoring goals, and with even some of the best players in the world, they have found more satisfaction in completing other roles on the field.
So this makes this question an interesting one, as asking yourself it will help you get an answer on what exactly you enjoy when playing.
If your pride and joy are passing the ball, and controlling a game like Sergio Busquets and Toni Kroos, then a midfielder is a great place to start, for example.
If you even so much like preventing goals, then potentially looking into being a goalkeeper like David De Gea and Manuel Neuer could be a position to focus on.
At the end of the day while the previous question of identifying your strengths will help you.
No matter what they are, you still want to make sure you enjoy your time on the field.
For instance, I know people who are great goalkeepers and would likely go far as one if they pursued it.
But one or two don’t actually enjoy playing it despite how good they are in that position.
So while you still want to get minutes for a club and you want to play in a position that you are good at.
Its important to know that soccer is about having fun, especially when you are getting started or playing at a lower level.
Settling On The Right Position
Once you have come up with one or two positions, perhaps from answering the questions in the first section, then the next step is to explore them further.
Chances are you are interested in playing them, so its in your best interest to learn more about that position so you get a better grasp of it.
Not only from a playing point of view but from a mental aspect too.
To help you do so, I would recommend doing the following things.
If, after going through the steps that I am about to mention, leaves you thinking unsure, that is perfectly okay.
You just have to choose another position and make that your focus instead.
Testing Out A Position
Now first things first, you are going to want to test out playing the position.
This way, you get an idea of what its like on the field to play it.
You could start by playing it in training.
Whether that be through selecting it when doing specific drills.
Or slotting into the position when playing any matches within training.
This will do two things for you:
- Give you a better understanding of the role and what it takes to play it (i.e. the running required)
- Give you a brief idea of whether you enjoy it or not.
I say brief because you won’t know entirely whether you like it until you have played a full match there.
That is because a full game or two within that position will give you the best idea on whether you like playing it.
Along with things like the proper positioning, awareness, time on the ball, etc.
Asking Others For Advice
Another great way to settle on a position is by asking others for their thoughts on what position to play.
While ultimately you will decide where you play, getting other people to chip in is helpful as you will hear what they think.
Its always said that when you watch a game, you see the game differently.
So if you talk to your teammates or even your coach, they may see areas in your games that would make you better in other positions.
This was the case for me when I started playing youth football, as I would play centre-back.
Because of how tall and fast I was, my coach suggested that I try midfield for a few games.
In those few games, I instantly found myself enjoying it.
I liked seeing the ball more and enjoyed having the attacking and defensive role that comes with playing in the centre.
So what I am trying to say here is that having some guidance from others can help you choose or settle in a position.
What Does It Take To Play Each Position?
Now, if you are in a position where you know your strengths and what you enjoy doing on the pitch,
However, if you aren’t sure what position would fit you, then that is completely fine.
As in this section, I will take you through each of the positions that can be played on the field.
By the time we have gone over all of them, you should hopefully be interested or leaning towards one or two.
The goalkeeper is an entirely different role when compared to other positions on the pitch.
With the focus being more on your hands than your feet, and with you being between the ball and the goal, there is, therefore, a fair amount of pressure on you.
That’s not to put you off, though, as playing in goal can be pretty rewarding, especially if you make a match-winning save or block a penalty kick.
But it would be silly of me to say its easy as if you ask any goalkeeper, they would say it really isn’t.
To give you an idea of what it takes to become a goalkeeper, I have listed a few important traits you will need.
Now while having good reactions anywhere on the field is key, it is so important for goalies.
The reason for that is the margin for error is so tiny.
A slight movement in the wrong direction or simply being too slow can be the difference between keeping clean sheets and conceding goals.
So training your reactions and staying focused is imperative when playing as a goalkeeper.
2) Keep Level Headed
Another important trait of being a goalkeeper is making sure to keep level-headed.
While this certainly applies to any position when they make a mistake, it is important to keep your head up.
If you make a mistake that leads to a goal, you have to move on and be determined to make up for it.
Its so easy when you concede a goal to beat yourself up.
However, the best goalies are defined by how well they can pick themselves up.
3) Guide Your Teammates
Being a goalkeeper, you are the furthest back of all the players.
This means you get to view everything in front of you, and therefore you can do all the organizing.
A good keeper will be vocal and organize their team, whether by sorting out a wall to block a free-kick.
Or telling their teammates to clear their lines when they aren’t aware of the pressure coming from the opposition.
Put simply, to be a keeper, you will need to be vocal frequently throughout a match.
4) Be Relaxed On The Ball
Now years ago, a keeper would never be told to hang on to the ball.
It would always be instructed that they put their foot through it, not dilly-dallying for even a second.
However, football isn’t the same game it was years ago, as formations and tactics have evolved.
As a result, many teams now use their keepers as ‘sweepers.’
They will get them involved with centre-backs, often passing back to them.
They will also be encouraged to pass the ball out from the back to build up attacks instead of just sending it long every time.
So if you are interested in being a goalkeeper, I wouldn’t neglect the ball work, as being good with your feet is quite key in modern-day football.
You could be great at reflexes and reactions, however without the correct positioning, and you will struggle for consistency.
Having good positioning is key because it helps keep a keeper in the right place to save shots.
Centre Back is a position with a lot of responsibility, as they are the players situated just in front of the keeper and therefore need to protect them and stop the opposing team from scoring.
However, while there is a lot of focus on a centre-back being demanding, its a position where the traits required to play it have changed a lot over the years, as the game has evolved.
Years ago, the focus was having centre-backs that were very solid and physical and would put their foot through everything.
Meaning that when a center back received the ball to feet in the past, they would typically be instructed to get rid of it as soon as possible.
However, this has shifted as your modern-day centre-back is required to do more than just a physical presence.
They are required to be good on the ball, as centre-backs nowadays see a lot of it.
Through either keepers playing out or teams recycling backwards to retain possession.
1) Not Be Afraid Of A Tackle
Centre-Back was one of the first positions I ever played, mainly because I was just getting into the game and wasn’t confident on the ball.
So instead, I was put into a position where instructions were simple, and all I needed to do was hold a good line and put in a tackle when needed.
When you play as a centre-back, you will frequently get run at by opposing players, so it will be your job to tackle and stop that attack.
Some attacks, though, will be stopped by the defensive midfielders in front of you.
However, if they get past the midfielders, its then on you to stop that potential goal from occurring.
No matter if its putting a foot in or sliding in, you shouldn’t be afraid to lounge in when of course, its required.
2) Decision Making
From playing centre-back for a couple of years in my teens, I realized how playing this role is so much more than tackling and preventing goals.
You need to be able to make the right decisions at the right time.
While this does apply to many positions, making the wrong decisions as a center-back can lead to your defense being wide open and giving opportunities to the other team to score.
Some of the best centre-backs are the best because they hold a great line and make the right decisions at the right times.
If you are thinking of playing this position, while its important to understand this, you should also know that this comes with experience.
Good examples would consist of Diego Godin and Thiago Silva,
Both physical center-backs don’t have a ton of pace but make up for it through how well they real the game.
Goalkeepers and center-backs are in a position where they see everything that is going on in front of them.
Due to this, its important that they are vocal and communicate with their teammates to make sure they are in the right positions or if there is any danger.
When I first started playing as a full-back, it was the center-backs and the keeper that helped me out.
They told me when I had a player pressing me, when a player was making a run that needed to be watched or if I was just in the wrong position.
Since they are in the perfect position to spot everything, its therefore key they are the ones that speak up when they notice something that needs addressing in the game.
So if you are interested in playing as a center-back you must be ready to talk and even shout in order to keep things organized at all times.
If you don’t know where to play, however, don’t want to play a difficult position, then I would recommend Full-Back.
That is because the position is somewhat easy to play, you don’t get pressured on the ball compared to other positions, and the majority of the game is in front of you.
With that said, you will still need to have some traits to play the position, especially if you want to do so well.
1) Fitness Levels Are Important
From playing different positions on the pitch, I found that along with playing centre midfield, you do have to put in a shift at full-back.
Being in that position, you will constantly be bombing forward.
But when you are not helping to defend, you are getting forward supporting your wingers.
While every team has its tactics, which means you may have different instructions for a full-back, you will typically need to do plenty of running.
So if you are thinking of playing full back, then getting your fitness levels is a must.
Otherwise, you will end up feeling gassed out before you even make it to halftime.
2) Technical Ability
When I first played full back, I didn’t realize how important technical ability is for playing it.
While you won’t be frequently receiving the ball with your back turned, or have as much pressure put on you as a centre midfielder might have to deal with.
You need to be able to take the ball under control efficiently and pick a pass.
Whether that be simple passes down the line or into midfield, or even putting in crosses within the final third.
You must be comfortable on the ball and not panic with passes or lumping the ball away as you get it to feet.
As I covered in this post, where I have taken you through everything you need to know about defending, there are several positions within midfield that you can play.
One of those is a defensive midfielder, which as the name of the role suggests, requires you to be primarily defensive while playing in midfield.
1) Be Able To Defend Well
It goes without saying that to play any defensive role, you must show defensive qualities and be able to protect your defense and goal.
They will sit in front of the centre backs to offer that extra protection and stop relentless pressure on the defense.
Doing things like intercepting, slide tackles, breaking up attacks, retrieving the ball and relieving the pressure of the defense.
2) Run Several KM Per Game
When I first started playing defensive midfielder came as a shock at how intense the role was.
I had an idea that midfield would require running around.
However after playing it I realised how hard you have to work to play it.
The several kilometers you have to run is hard enough, but constant tackling can take it out of you if you don’t have the fitness levels.
Saying that though, it can be such as rewarding position to play, as doing a last-ditch challenge before starting up an attack that ends with a goal can feel great.
A few good examples of tireless defensive midfielders include Wilfred N’Didi and N’Golo Kante, two players who cover every blade of grass.
This shows how hard the top players within this position have to work to play this position.
Fitness and defending is a deal-breaker, so if you aren’t quite there in both departments, you may want to consider other positions.
For a defensive midfielder, it is key to have good positioning and be able to identify the places to be at the right time.
When defending, it is key that someone playing here can stay in shape to prevent the opposing players from running through them easily.
With these players being in front of the centre-backs, its also good if they can put themselves in the right position to receive passes.
Not only does this allow a team to control the tempo, but it creates a foundation to start attacks off.
The winger is one of the most fun positions to play on the pitch.
In this position, you will be playing a wide role, supporting your strikers and being involved in attacks.
I have played this position a number of times during my career, and its one I enjoyed due to the freedom you get.
Being involved in attacks, chipping in with goals, and even taking on players are just a few reasons why this is one of my favorite positions to play.
However, while it is a great position to play on the field, there is some things you will need to know to play it.
1) Ideally Need To Have Pace
While its not absolutely important, to play as a winger, you will need to have some pace.
Since this role consists of beating opposing players often, you will need that burst of speed to take them on.
If you don’t have any, you will find it hard to get past players or even just swing crosses in.
Now while wingers these days will typically have pace, it is possible to play it without being the fastest player on the pitch.
As if you can make up for it through your positioning and decision-making, you can make up for not having that extra pace.
However, with that said, if you can work on improving your speed, it will make playing the position both easier and more enjoyable.
2) Help Out Your Full Backs
While most attacking players don’t want to track back all the time, a requirement of wingers is that they can help defensively when required.
When you are defending, its important to get back and help your full-backs by doubling up.
As a result, you are going to need high energy levels to get back when needed but also break fast when attacking.
3) Good At Dribbling
Since you will be in the attacking third and be trying to create attacks, its therefore important that you can hold onto the ball well.
Now dribbling is one of the main traits needed to be a winger, as since the role consists of many 1v1 battles, being able to not only get past someone but hold onto the ball becomes quite key.
4) Be Able To Create Chances
While playing as a winger, you will find yourself in situations where you have opportunities to score.
What is more, important is being able to set up chances.
Playing out wide, you will be responsible for crossing into the box, so making sure you have good technique with your crosses to find your striker is essential.
Not just that, but being able to pick out a through ball to set up a chance for another attacking player is vital too.
Centre Attacking Midfielder
A centre attacking midfielder will play just behind a striker and will have the role of creating attacks.
They will be the spearhead of attacks, which means you will typically have the most freedom of any player on the pitch.
However, its also a challenging position to play, as there are lots of skills and also plenty of practice that is needed to play this position well.
Having spent some of my most recent seasons in this position, I will give you a few of the primary skills required for this role.
1) Comfortable On The Ball
Firstly you need to be comfortable on the ball at all times.
If you aren’t you and you are someone who feels a lot of pressure to the point where they just want to boot it away, then this position is not for you.
You need to be able to receive the ball under pressure and still keep hold of possession.
Whether that be than getting a pass off or dribbling with the ball.
The reason why this is so key is that when you play in this position, you are going to be closed down by your opposition fast.
As not only are your likely going to be in their territory when creating attacks, but with them recognizing that you are the attacking midfielder they want to stop you from building any attacks.
2) Accurate At Passing
I remember back when I started playing football when my father used to tell me to practice my passing.
He would say hit a back against the wall repeatedly every day, to improve your control and accuracy.
Since I was more interested in shooting and because I found it so tedious being young I didn’t keep at it consistently.
However, when I then started playing the attacking midfielder role, in my early teens I realized how much he was trying to help me.
When you play in the attacking midfielder, one of the key skills you need to have is passing.
You need to be able to find someone consistently, without overhitting the ball or just misplacing it.
If I had kept at it for longer when I was younger I would have got that headstart, but instead, I didn’t start focusing until I started playing the role.
With the role requiring you to be accurate with passing, it is therefore, is a good idea to prioritize learning this skill if you are looking to play this position.
The last position that you can choose to play as striker.
Now a striker is a player who is further forward and is responsible for scoring most goals.
While attacking midfielders and wingers will get involved in goals, most clear-cut chances will fall the way of strikers.
So, as a result, to play this position, you, of course need to be able to shoot.
Knowing what types of shots, the power, and even when to shoot are just a few of the things you will need to know about when playing this position.
1) Composure In Front Of Goal
It goes without saying that to be a striker, you need to do the one thing expected of you, and that is put the ball in the back of the net.
Now while playing football down the park, it may be easy to score.
In an actual game, it is a lot different.
Not only is it more serious, especially if you play at a high level.
But you don’t get the chances and opportunities as frequently as you may do playing in the local cage, for example.
As a result, its important that you are able to shoot the ball into the net when presented with the opportunity.
Strikers are one of those weird positions, where while everyone wants to play it because they want to get on the scoresheet.
Its also one where you can go ages without even touching the ball.
In fact, in some cases, a striker can be limited to just 1 or 2 chances in a game, especially if the opposing team is very good.
So if scoring is like second nature for you, then that is a good sign that striker is your position.
I have highlighted movement with many positions I have spoken about above because it is an essential aspect of the game.
The right movement and the willingness to make those moves is the difference between teams winning and losing.
Therefore, if everyone is making the right moves, it gives your team a good chance of winning that game.
Now, as for striker, movement is needed to play this position well.
As if you stand stationary upfront, you will simply stay in the centre-backs pocket and will struggle to receive the ball.
However, if you can come to the ball and present yourself as an option as well as get in behind, it not only helps your teammates get the ball to you, but it gives the defenders something to think about.
So if you are looking to play striker, you must be willing and have the energy levels to keep defenders on their toes and constantly be looking to make things happen in the final third.
A few good examples of some top pros who are great at this are Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Aguero.
They are always making clever runs, including short darts here and there, to make themselves difficult to mark and, of course, to get goals.
How To Get Better At A Chosen Position?
Once you have settled on a position, you may next be wondering how exactly do I become better at playing it.
Now its normal when you first play somewhere to have no clue what you are doing.
It happened to me in the past when I was young and new to football.
I would be put in a position on the field however have no clue how to play it or what to do.
Of course, being in football for years, you gain a much better understanding of the sport, where even if you don’t play a position, you learn the basics of what it takes to play it.
However, if you are new to football, it can be a struggle knowing how to play a position and then how to get better at it.
So in this section, I am going to take you through some tips that will help you become better at any position you set your mind to.
Straight off the bat, there is no better advice than to practice.
The more you practice, the easier it becomes, to the point where understanding your role becomes second nature.
Now its okay for me to say practice is key, and that’s what you should do, but you may not even know where to start.
So the best place to start from is to simply look at what is required to play your position of choice, of which the above section should give you a good idea of the skills needed.
You then need to look at the vital skills required for that position and do drills and training to improve it.
For instance, let’s say you wanted to become a striker.
However, your shooting isn’t up to par or at the level required to play it for a local side.
Well, what you can do is grab a ball or a few of them and head down to a local pitch and shoot them at the goal.
If you wanted to practice penalties, you could take them repeatedly, until you get to a point where you are consistently hitting your target.
Alternatively, suppose you wanted to practice long shots.
In that case, you could position the ball 30 yards away from the goal and continually practice doing that, to the point where over time, you are hitting shots with great accuracy and power.
That is just one example. However, this can be applied to any position you wish to play.
Sticking To One Position
Another great way to get better at a position you have chosen is to play it week in and week out.
I know some players who will play in goal one week and then next week striker.
While that is completely fine and it works for some, what is better, especially if you just want to get better at a specific position, is to play it.
By doing this, you will become used to the position and the roles needed to play it.
You will also get that much-needed game experience faster playing in just that position too.
Where this can get tricky is when your manager doesn’t want to play you where you want to go.
This can be because he already has someone who is doing a great job, or they think your best-suited playing somewhere else.
In this situation, and this tied to the section earlier where I spoke about settling on a position, you can talk to them about your desires and how you want to get practice playing a certain position.
Now, of course if you are playing for another team, the manager may want to put you in a certain place where they think you play the best, which is linked to the section above were settling on a position.
Studying World-Class Footballers
Another great tip is to study some of the best footballers in the world that play the position you want to play.
The professionals have you would expect to play every area of that role to a high level.
So due to this, there is a lot to learn through simply studying them.
For instance, if you wanted to become an attacking midfielder, then someone like Kevin De-Bruyne is a great one to watch.
You could look up videos and compilations of how they play on YouTube.
Or you try and catch a few of the games where they are in action.
By doing this, you can pick up things they do, learn more about the role and implement aspects of their game into yours to improve yourself.
If you came into this post not knowing what position to play, I hope this guide has helped you out.
Now if you have any questions or still need help with finding your soccer position then do let me know below!