An entire team effort in soccer usually makes a difference. However, certain positions are more important than others. Having key players who perform well every single night in these positions usually set teams up for success.
What are the most important positions in soccer? This is a ranking from the most important to the fourth most important. Take a look at the best teams at any level, and they usually have talent at these four positions.
A goalkeeper is the last line of defense for any team. While goals are scored on entire defenses, a great goalie can bail out even a subpar defense a lot of times. Very few teams are successful without having a great goalie on their side.
This position is so important that it is the only one in soccer left that requires a specialist. They work with their own dedicated coaching staff, and entire teams are trying to scheme ways to figure out how to get the best of an opposing goalkeeper.
To have success as a modern goalkeeper, it’s more than just stopping shots. They also can ignite an offense with passing moves and making the right decisions on counters. Goalkeepers are more athletic than ever before.
The great thing about goaltenders is that they tend to play at a high level for a long time. They don’t have as much wear and tear on their body running up and down the pitch. They do have to jump around and sacrifice their body when protecting the goal, but they might only get a few tries per game.
2. Centre Back
It’s very difficult for a team to win consistently without a centre back who gets the job done. There’s nothing in the rulebook that says a centre back is necessary, but modern formations pretty much make it crucial to have somebody play that position.
The main goal of a centre back is to prevent the opposition from scoring consistently. By keeping the offense away from the goalie in the first place, they can help eliminate any scoring opportunities. The best centre backs can cut down on attacks from the opposition, while also setting up players ahead of them on offense.
There should be no surprise to soccer fans that centre backs are often called upon as team captains. They need to be communicative, as they are the bridge between the goalkeeper and the midfield. Teams with a lot of talent can have trouble if they are not all on the same page.
The responsibilities of a centre back has shifted over time, especially with very attacking teams. However, even the best teams still find a quality centre back to be absolutely vital.
3. Central Midfield
The midfield has been referred to as the engine room, among other nicknames, in soccer. Teams are always looking to control the midfield, as that leads to wins. Central midfielders play a huge role in doing exactly that.
There’s no such thing as a prototypical central midfielder. Some are focusing on positioning and quality passing. Others will position themselves to have playmaking opportunities and find deep passing opportunities to open up the offense.
Teams are willing to pay a lot of money for great central midfielders. The best ones can do a little bit of everything, and they are highly adaptable to the team they play for.
Having strength as the central midfielder is becoming more and more important these days, since so many other teams are looking for physicality to gain an edge.
The sexiest position on this list is the striker. Strikers are always going to score the most goals, and teams are always looking for ways to put the ball in the back of the net. Even if they don’t have as many responsibilities as some of the other positions on the field, it’s still important to score to win.
First and foremost, a central forward needs to have outstanding accuracy when they get scoring opportunities. There might only be a handful of scoring opportunities in 90 minutes, and the central forward will get a chance or two most of the time. Consistency matters, and finding separation from defenders will provide outstanding value.
Just being a threat as a central forward can open up opportunities for other players on the field. If a team doesn’t have a strong central forward, there’s a chance that the defense can play a prevent-styled option to cut down on goals altogether.
The very best teams in the world still have at least one dependable central forward on the roster to get a goal when they need it. Everything else on the team can be solid, but most don’t want to settle for scoreless draws.
Why Goalkeeper is the Most Important Position
The goalkeeper is not only the most important position but it’s also considered the hardest position in soccer.
Modern soccer relies heavily on the goalkeeper. Not only can they change a match single-handedly, but they can see the entire field and position the rest of the team the way they want to.
A goalkeeper is more than just a player when they are out on the pitch, they need to be a leader and a coach while sacrificing their body every single game. The great teams aren’t surviving without quality goaltending.
Can a Soccer Team Survive Without Quality At These Four Positions?
Soccer teams at the highest level are going to find it very difficult to have success if they don’t have strong players at these four core positions. Maybe one or two can be average, but they need a star at one of these positions to compete.
There are small subtleties that make all the difference in the world in the soccer world. Teams are always looking for some type of edge, and they will exploit mismatches as much as possible. Without any real talent at these positions, teams will find it very difficult to keep up with the best of the best.
The teams with the highest budget will always pay a premium for these positions for good reason. They know as well as anyone that quality costs money. They would rather spend a little bit of a premium here instead of falling behind their competition.
For players who excel at these positions, they are always in for a pretty healthy payday when their time comes.