Are you confused about the responsibilities and roles of each position? The following guide will help you understand the roles and responsibilities of each position. This guide is for a 4-3-3 configuration for an 11v11 match (U13+), however the roles remain the same regardless of how many players are present. This link will show you how to place players in different formations.Different positions in US Soccer are now assigned numbers to better explain their roles. As players age, you can tell them that they play as a #7 forward/midfielder.


  • Characteristics: Fearless and good at catching, athletic, vocal.
  • Roles & Responsibilities: Must have the ability to pick up the ball from the ground, around the feet of other players. They prefer to get the ball with their hands, rather than relying solely on their feet to save shots. Assist in keeping the ball out of their goal and organizing their defenders to prevent a shot from happening. It is a difficult position to be in. Children will often feel guilty when they score a goal, when in reality, the ball beat all other players on their team before it got to them.


  • Characters : Fast, good at 1v1 tackling. Likes to move forward and attack as much as defend.
  • Roles & Responsibilities – In today’s game, outside defenders (#2+ #3) can be as attacking as they are defenses. You should encourage them to move forward when your team has possession of the ball and get back when your opponent does not. They are often competing with fast players who love to dribble so they need to be strong 1v1 defenders and be able keep up with speed. Also known as “outside back”,


  • Characteristics: Strong and Big. Excellent in the air and 1v1 tackling. Must have excellent organization. Good speed and ability to pass.
  • Roles & Responsibilities : This role is between the left and right defenders. It organizes the defenders to keep the ball from reaching the middle of the field. They must be able to make smart decisions about who/when they pass and dribble the ball. It is very important to not lose possession. Losing it means the opposing team has less time until they score. You must be strong and courageous when facing attackers. Also known as “Center backs”.


  • Characteristics: You must be disciplined and a good tackler. You must be a good passer and have a calm personality.
  • Roles & Responsibilities The #6’s role is to be in-between the attacking midfielders, and the backline. They are responsible for disrupting the opponent’s attack and preventing them from getting to the defenders. Your team without this role will make it difficult for attacking teams to score by leaving too much space between midfielders or defenders. The #6 must communicate with their teammates and make safe decisions about who they pass the ball to when they have the ball. They must not lose the ball if they have possession.


  • Characteristics : Strong passer, creative with the ball at his feet, good endurance. You should be the most technically-minded player on your team.
  • Roles & Responsibilities The center midfielder links your forwards and your defenders. They should be mobile and able to move into space. They should be encouraged to use their space to make dangerous passes, dribbles, or shots. Because they have the ball at their disposal, they are more free than the defenders and can play with it. It’s also less dangerous for the team to lose it. The #6 to #9 space is filled by the center midfielder, who can move freely across the field. This player can be designated to play as an additional #10 or a #6 as shown in the visual.


  • Characteristics: Quick, like to take people on 1v1, have good endurance, are willing to defend, and enjoy shooting.
  • Roles & Responsibilities These players provide width to the field and should aim to move behind an opponent’s outside defense by passing or dribbling. You must be able to attack quickly and be a shrewd player. You should always look to pass to someone who can score or dribble and shot themselves. If they are playing outside forward, like an example, they should drop back to midfield to defend. They should be able to drop back to the backline, even if they are playing as an outside midfielder in a formation like a 4-4-2.


  • Characteristics: Comfortable with the ball at his feet, creative, loves to score goals and assist others. Mobile and always looking to find space.
  • Roles & Responsibilities Your most creative player. They should be looking for ways to get through the defenders of opposing teams with a pass or a dribble. They should be able to roam the offensive half of the field and create havoc when they get the ball. They should be able to find themselves in the space behind central forward but have the freedom to move wherever they need to to win the ball.


  • Characteristics: They are very mobile in their movements. Strong, fast and/or agile. They like to shoot and should always aim to score goals. It is important to understand space and how it can be used.
  • Roles & Responsibilities – The #9 should be your goal scorer and you should always look for new ways to score. They must be mobile as they will need to be able to defend against opponents who move a lot. To make it easier for them to pass the ball back to their teammates, they should try to connect with them. The #9 is the highest player on the field.

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