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Basic Football Roles: DEF, MID, FW

Forward (FW)

The forward has 1 simple task: score goals. The ways to do that we will discuss later. Some tactical setups require the forward also to provide pressure from the front. However, to keep it simple, the forward generally stays up the field and is the person who you want on the end of your final ball.

Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, Michael Owen

Midfielder (MID)

The midfielder is tasked with being on both sides of the play. They contribute to both attacking and defending. There are many different types of midfielders: from holding midfielders to inverse wingers. We’ll get to the more advanced topics a bit later. The term midfielder is a little vague because of the many sub-roles it has. There are also some midfield positions that play up the field like a forward, such as in a false-nine setup. Don’t let all of these terms confuse you. Before we start breaking down the midfield role, all you need to know is that they are the link between defense and attack.

Kevin de Bryune, Paul Scholes, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Pirlo, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane… the list and variety go on and on.

Defender (DEF)

The defender’s main job is to defend the goal. Some defenders can play a more attacking role, especially on the outside (the 2 full-backs on the left and the right). However, their main priority is defending their team’s goal. Any other roles assigned to the defenders depends completely on the tactical instructions. Defenders try to stop the opposition from scoring first and help the attack and build-up play second.

Carles Puyol, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, John Terry, Virgil van Dyke, Vincent Kompany, Dani Alves, Patrice Evra, Marcelo, Roberto Carlos, Jordi Alba

Goalkeeper (GK)

The goalkeeper, or goalie, is tasked with being the last line of defense in stopping the ball from going into the net. Each team has 1 goalie, and usually, keep 1 goalie as a sub. The goalkeeper usually stays back in their own penalty box, in order to protect the goal. The goalkeepers are the only players that can use their hands to save or hold the ball while in play. They are restricted to the penalty box to use their hands, however.

Also, goalies have a different kit than that of a regular player: goalies use gloves to strengthen their fingers for shot-stopping and better grip to pick up the ball during the game. Additionally, they must wear a jersey that is a different color from their own team’s, the opponent’s, the opponent team’s goalkeeper, and the officials. This is done to differentiate between a regular field player and the goalkeeper quickly.

David de Gea, Petr Cech, Gianluigi Buffon, Peter Schmichel, Jan Oblak, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen


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