Soccer Positions Numbers And Roles – Parents Guide

soccer kid number 4
Soccer kid wearing number 4

A lot of new soccer parents might wonder about the soccer positions,  numbers, and roles that their kids are playing in their team.

Known as squad numbers they identify the player and the role of the position in the 11 man squad.

Nowadays these numbers don’t have much significance as team tactics changed over time.

Team positions do not follow any guidelines at all as they can increase or reduce the number of defenders and the midfielders during the match as a game strategy.

Lionel_Messi wearing number 10
Lionel_Messi wearing number 10

Some players prefer to wear their favorite numbers instead of following the squad numbers.

For me, I always wear number 4 ever since I was a kid because this number appeared twice on my birthday date and not because I played as a right defender.

A lot of players and kids like to wear number 10 because a lot of popular soccer stars like Pele of Brazil and Lionel Messi of Barcelona FC wear it.

However, in professional soccer changing number is not that easy due to Football/Soccer Association and club rules.

And they still use these numbers to indicate positions and roles.

There are basically 5 player positions in the team regardless if it is a team of 11 players or a 9-a-side kids team.

The following is the traditional numbering system used to identify the position and an 11 a-side line up of the players:


Jersey NumberPlayer Positions
7 & 11Wingers
6, 8, & 10Midfielders
2, 3, 4, & 5Defenders


The general line up of an 11 a-side soccer team
The general line up of an 11 a-side soccer team

Striker – No. 9

The striker is the player who is playing up at the front scoring goals for the team.

Strikers are quick runners and skillful in ball dribbling and can shoot the ball accurately from any direction.

They can receive ball crossing with their feet and head and direct it into the goal.

They can think and act quickly and strike when the goalkeeper least expect it to.

With the help of the wingers and midfielders, the striker can engage them to get around the opponent’s defenders and beat the off-side trap to score.

Strikers normally stay around the opponent’s goal area but also careful of not being caught off-side.

Wingers – No. 7 & 11

Wingers, also known as flankers also play alongside the striker, but they are positioned to the far left and right of the striker.

They receive the passes from the midfielders and the defenders and run along the sideline deep into the opponent’s territory before crossing the ball to the striker to score.

Their role is to pull the opponent’s defenders to themselves leaving his or her striker free to receive the cross ball and score. The wingers can also score goals.

They can retreat and assist the defense when the team is under pressure from a counter-attack.

Wingers need to be fast runners with skillful in ball control and be able to strike when they can find the opportunity.


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Midfielders – No. 6, 8, & 10

The midfielders control the game and have a choice to push the ball through to either the striker or to the wingers on the sides.

They can kick the ball with either their left or right foot and needs to think fast and pass the ball accurately.

The Midfielder can also score goals when the opportunity arises and can also act as the first line of defense when the opposing team counter-attacks.

The midfielder is the player who has the ball most of the time and decides whether to slow down the game or step up the pressure.

Most midfielders are the team captain because they are strong leaders who can talk to his or her players and give orders.

Defenders – No. 2, 3, 4, & 5

The defenders are positioned around the team’s goal protecting the goalkeeper.

They defend the goal area and stop the opposing striker from trying to score.

Kids Playing soccer
Kids Playing soccer

They are strong and aggressive players who can tackle the ball away from the opponent’s and can use their body weight to contest for the ball.

They do not dribble a lot but they need ball control skills and be able to pass accurately to the midfield and the winger or back to their goalkeeper.

They are also powerful headers who heads the ball away and strong legs to kick the ball out of the goal area.

When well organized the defenders set the off-side trap, it will force the opponents to into off-side position, a soccer rule infringement.

When that happens the game will be stopped and a free kick is awarded to the defending team causing frustration to the attackers thus losing their game plan.

They must also communicate clearly with they goalkeeper otherwise they might kick the ball into their own goal or leaving the ball only to be taken by the opponent and score a goal.

Goalkeepers – No.1

The goalkeeper is notable for wearing a different colored jersey from the rest of the team and can use his or her arm in the penalty box during the match.

The goalkeeper is the player keeping the opponent team from scoring goals.

Skillful goalies can be as nimble as a cat as they dive spectacularly to save the shots fired at them and be strong he or she can withstand the pushing and shoving at the goal during corner kicks.

The need to give instructions to the defenders when there is a free-kick near the goalmouth. this important so that the defenders can stand directly between the ball and the goal, therefore blocking the kicker’s view and the ball’s path.

The goalkeeper is a position that is compulsory for every soccer team and if they are red-carded they have to be replaced but one player must be taken out of the team. This will leave the team one player less.

Excellent Teamwork Leads To Victory

Soccer trophyWhen all the players performed their assign role in the team it will work like a well-oiled machine.

All the players will have confidence in each other’s skills and abilities which will lead to victory.

The numbers on the jersey still play its role in identifying the player position and role in the team.

However, due to a lot of game strategies and tactics, you will find that one of the wingers is actually the main striker.

It also helps in identifying players when they don’t have their names on their backs.

Besides, wearing your favorite number does bring luck when you least expect.

You might also be interested to read the following:

Soccer Training Equipment For Kids

5 Fun Soccer Warm Up Drills (and Warm Down)

What is your favorite soccer number, and why?

Let me know in the comments below.



Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

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8 thoughts on “Soccer Positions Numbers And Roles – Parents Guide

  • July 30, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    I love soccer, the post is good, i played when I was in school i was good at it

    • July 31, 2019 at 2:01 am

      Hi Jasmine, its good to know.
      Please stay fit, it’s good for you. All the best.

  • July 30, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    I really like the article. It brings life into football, even though I’m not a fun of football, I found it fun to read and easy to follow. The ideas flow in a logical manner making it very easy to follow and relate with.
    One thing that isn’t very clear to me after reading the whole article is whether the number on the jersey is given according to position or according to a players preference. At the beginning of the article, it seems like any number that a player likes, at some point towards the end, the number matters, then towards the very end, it’s a players choice.
    This was a bit confusing to me and I don’t know what to make of it even now.

    • July 31, 2019 at 2:21 am

      Hi David thanks for your constructive feedback on my post.
      Changing numbers depends on the football/soccer association your club comes under. You can find that in Wikipedia.
      Some clubs don’t allow changing numbers during the season.
      In the setting of kids soccer training, you need to ask the coach.

  • July 30, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    My cousin is a soccer player, he is 16 years old and he is good at it. He is a striker and got number 9, I never knew they are related to each other before I read your post! Strikers are amazing but personally, I believe wingers 7&11 are the most important part for scoring goals as they help the striker to achieve that.

    I loved reading your post it was so informative and fun to read.

    • July 31, 2019 at 1:35 am

      Hi Mohammad, number 9s are strikers. The player who is expected to score goals.
      The winger position (7 & 11) is quite challenging for me because you will run and dribble. Without a good crossing from the wingers, the striker might never score a goal.

  • July 31, 2019 at 2:20 am

    Nice to see someone write about this, I can just refer my friends to this site to learn about soccer positions. Nice & fun read.

    • July 31, 2019 at 4:26 am

      Hi Ronald, thanks for your remarks.
      All the best,


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