What is the soccer midfielder position?
Welcome to another soccer position series that I am currently embarking on to educate parents who are new to soccer.
Like I always said that soccer is a team sport and the success of any team depends on the players performing their duties.
You will learn that there are different types of midfielders in soccer and not a position held by a single player.
In this post we are going to cover the following:
- Where Is The Midfielder Position?
- What Are The Roles And Importance Of A Soccer Midfielder?
- What Makes A Good Midfielder
- Gear Required For A Midfielder
- 10 Great Midfielders Of All Time
Read on to find out more.
Where Is The Soccer Midfielder Position?
In kids’ soccer, the midfielder can be 1 or 2 players but in youth and adult teams, they can be 3 or 4 players, depending on the format they are playing.
Midfielders can easily be identified on the field because they will normally be wearing jersey numbers 6, 7, 8, and 10.
So basically they are playing in the middle of their own half or territory.
If you look at the diagram below you will see the midfielder standing between the striker and the central defender (blue dot).
What The Roles And Importance Of A Soccer Midfielder?
The midfield position plays a vital role in the team.
The following are their primary roles:
- Receive the ball from the defenders and pass it to the forwards
- Receive the ball from the forwards and pass it to another forward
- Disrupting the opponents forwards and midfielders
- When the opportunity arises they can score goals as well
- Taking free-kicks and penalties
- Taking throw-ins
There are lots of descriptions given to the midfielders because of the role they played.
They are called “playmakers” or the “engine” of the team and it is rightly so.
They are like the link between the defenders and forwards.
The midfielders controlled how the game is played by retaining the ball and passes it to create goal-scoring opportunities.
If the midfielder finds the goal open they can score goals.
When the forwards cannot find a way through the defenders they pass back to the midfielders who are always ready to offer support.
They act like a chess player that makes calculated moves on his or her opponent ~ the best I can describe!
The midfielders also helped in defense by disrupting the opponent’s midfielders and forwards.
And if the defenders are under pressure they ran back to defends as well.
Midfielders are skillful in taking free-kicks, penalties, and assist in taking throw-ins.
Below is the definition of a Midfielder by Wikipedia:
What Makes A Good Midfielder In Soccer?
Some midfielders are naturally talented but most need to learn what it takes to be a good midfielder.
The following are critical talents that a player must possess:
- Situational awareness
- Creativity – create/spot an opportunity
- Make a decision under stress
A midfielder needs to have an overall awareness of the situation around him or her.
Knowing where the teammates and opponents are positioned will enable him or her to decide who to pass the ball to and when.
Also knowing where the opponent players are will avoid giving the ball away easily or directly passing the ball to them.
Midfielders need to be creative on how to play the ball with the aim of opening up the defense and presenting a goal-scoring opportunity for the forwards.
It includes placing the ball strategically so that the forwards can run to collect it or strike it to score a goal.
This is especially true when the opponent defenders are setting up the off-side trap meant to force the forwards into an infringement.
Or, if the game is concentrated on the left side where the defenders are focusing their effort, the midfielder can switch the game to the right.
This creativity can cause the defenders to be frustrated and disorganized.
They say a midfielder can be slow but if he or she is creative, the game can be won.
Make Decision Under Stress
Decision making is one of the biggest responsibilities of the midfielder because they determine how the game is played and a goal is scored.
The midfielder has to make decisions quickly and act upon it because the defenders will attack him or her in n minute.
That is why the midfielder needs to keep calm and not easily panic and lose the ball.
Talent, when combined with skills, makes the midfielder a coach’s first choice and an asset to the team.
The following skills cannot just be ignored:
- Ball Passing
- Ball Dribbling
- Shooting – outside of the box
- Retain ball/shielding
Ball passing is the midfielder’s primary weapon to utilize in any game.
An effective midfielder passes accurately to his or her intended target otherwise the defenders will intercept it.
The midfielder must know which part of the foot to kick with and what part of the soccer ball.
He or she can opt for a low ground pass or a high ball to get around the defender and reach the forwards.
Dribbling is the ability to run with the ball while controlling it with the left and right feet.
This can also include maneuvering around the defenders.
The midfielder can also score goals when the opportunity presents itself.
These goals are normally long accurate shots scored outside the 18-yard box.
They are also excellent free-kickers and penalty kickers.
David Beckham is an excellent kicker that can score from long distance and a good free-kicker too.
Using the left and right feet to kick and pass makes you a complete midfielder.
Related: How To Kick A Soccer Ball
A midfielder with good ball possession skills can retain the ball even when he or she is surrounded by defenders.
By retaining the ball, the defenders will naturally run towards the midfielder, leaving their goal territory exposed.
This presented an opportunity to pass to the forward to score.
A good midfielder can utilize this tactic effectively without losing the ball.
Useful Tips To Be An Effective Midfielder
- Keep the game moving
- Not afraid to shoot to score
- Read the flow of the game
Keep The Game Moving
Soccer is not a stationary game, the ball is always moving forward or backward towards your own territory.
The midfielder must be always on the move to avail him or herself for the defenders or the forwards to pass the ball to him or her.
The rule is to always be available for your defenders and forwards when they need you.
You are the point man, the boy or girl they go to when they are in trouble.
Not Afraid To Shoot To Score
Be careful not to overdo it, or you will be seen too greedy.
But if a midfielder can spot an opportunity to score do not be afraid to make an attempt.
If you are confident of your kicking ability then it the best time to show your coach that you can be count on.
Read The Flow Of The Game
A good midfielder has the ability to read the flow game of the game and decide on how to capitalize on it.
Counterattack is a good example.
The opponents build up attack on your team and their defenders have also moved forward leaving a gap in front of their goalkeeper.
As soon as your defenders got the ball they pass it to the midfielder.
The midfielder sees that the defenders are not in their positions and decides to capitalize on it.
By pushing the ball forward to the striker, or left and right to the flankers, a goal-scoring opportunity will present itself with only the goalie to beat.
Gear Required For A Midfielder
- Soccer Cleats
- Shin Guards
Midfielders run a lot and a good soccer cleat must be able to support the player’s performance on the field.
The studs provide traction and balance, therefore, look for Firm Ground (FG) cleats.
They should be made of molded rubber.
Comfort is also an important factor when choosing soccer cleats.
Check out the inner linings of the cleats if they are made soft materials such as neoprene.
Also do not forget the insole, the soft material that protects the sole of the feet ~ some are removable.
I recommend you check out the Concave Soccer Cleats here.
Shin guards or shin pads protect the shin, the area between the knee and the ankle.
A good shin guard should be strong to absorb any impact and comfortable to wear.
Check out my shin guards review here
Other required gears are sock, shorts, and shirts.
Typically they should be lightweight, breathable, and comfortable.
The most used and recommended material is polyester.
10 Great Midfielders Of All Time
According to FourFourTwo.Com, the top 10 midfielders in 2019 are:
1. Kevin De Bruyne ~ Manchester City FC and Belgium
2. N’Golo Kante ~ Chelsea FC and France
3. Frenkie de Jong ~ Barcelona
4. Bernardo Silva ~ Manchester City and Portugal
5. Miralem Pjanic ~ Juventus and Bosnia
6. Toni Kroos ~ Real Madrid and Germany
7. Sergio Busquets ~ Barcelona and Spain
9. Fabinho ~ Liverpool FC
By now you should fully understand the midfielder position and appreciate the important roles they are playing in soccer.
The midfielder receives the ball from the defenders and goalkeeper and then distributes it to the forwards.
He or she decides which teammate to pass to and must always be available to provide support.
A good midfielder can have a huge impact on the team’s performance and success.