Soccer is a sport of constant motion. You’re always on the go. In a professional match, there are two halves with 45 minutes of continuous action. There’s no chance to slow down and second-guess any moves. In soccer, you flow with the game and make adjustments when needed.
Forget about timeouts; it’s all about thinking on your feet.
The midfield is an area of the pitch that requires plenty of running. In the middle of the pitch (hence the name) there can be four or five players in a midfield formation. Midfielders are usually passing the ball, finding their attackers and creating scoring chances.
“The midfield is everything,” professional soccer player Lindsey Horan says. “That’s where everything starts. The midfield is there to set the tempo and do whatever they can to keep the game moving.”
TYPES OF MIDFIELDERS
There are three different types of midfielders, too. Here are the job duties for each one:
- Defensive Midfielder: Usually stays behind the attack, helping out fellow defenders when necessary.
- Central Midfielder: This player is a big-time passer and can also drop back for defensive duties. However, central midfielders primarily stay in the center of the pitch, focusing on creating chances.
- Attacking Midfielder: This player will usually drive up the left or right sidelines, or straight up the middle. Look for them inside the penalty box, acting like a faux forward. Their primary job is to attack the opposing defense.
Horan says that midfielders need to have the best vision on the pitch. “They are in the middle of the field and can distribute and know what’s behind them, what’s to each side of them and what’s in front of them,” she says.
Since being a midfielder involves a lot of passing, they need to be well-rounded players who can rotate their body in whatever direction the ball is heading toward them. Midfielders need to be quick on their feet. Horan notes that midfielders can receive passes in front of them from forwards, behind them from their defenders and in the air.
“At any time that they’re getting the ball, they know that they can play it at a different angle and play it to a different side,” Horan says.
Midfielders can line up in different formations. Without forwards, there would be no cycle of connecting passes and creating opportunities to score. Learn more about midfielders, and other positions, with these tips on the roles and responsibilities of each player.
Not entirely sure what your role is in a specific formation, like the flat or diamond midfield? These Pro Tips show you where you should be and what your job is to keep the game running smoothly.
Now you’re ready to go and dominate the midfield. Boost your midfield mastery by learning how to maximize your first touch with fellow professional Becky Sauerbrunn. Looking to improve your passing and receiving skills? Learn tips from Division I college coach Randy Waldrum on receiving the ball under pressure.