In this article, I want to talk about positions on the pitch so the next time you are at a game and someone says, “Christ we need a true 9 or our left back is struggling.” You can say, “That is bullocks!” These are in order of which you should remember first.

9 – Striker. Central forward. Goal scorer. Plays high and central stretching the defense vertically and providing space for the team to play behind. Target player for a final pass and goal. Good examples are Ronaldo, Erling Halland, Benzema.

Wingers – Forwards who play in wide positions. These players are typically fast dribblers who want to beat their matched defender and get in crosses or look to score themselves. Good examples are Vinicius Jr. for Real Madrid, Mo Salah for Liverpool, or Johnny Russell for SKC.

6 – Defensive midfielder. Used as a pivot person to receive the ball centrally from the back line. This position requires hyper awareness of the pitch and opponents as misplays often lead to goals for the opposite team. This is currently Remi Voltair for SKC. Before it was Illie Sanchez (who went on to win the MLS cup for LAFC!) Busio also played this position.

8 – Central midfielder. Box to box player that focuses on control and possession. Winning loose balls and looking to distribute. Like the 6, pitch scanning and awareness are essential. Great example is Luka Modric for Real Madrid.

10 – Attacking midfielder. This position also plays centrally but moves forward into attack. This position frequently scores goals. Good examples are Eric Thommy for SKC or Bruno Fernandez for Man United.

Fullbacks or left and right back – Outside positions in the 4 of any back 4 formation. Most MLS teams play with a back 4 with 2 centerbacks and 2 (outside) fullbacks left and right. Well-known fullbacks are Graham Zusi for SKC (right back) and Anthony Robinson (left back) for Fulham.

Center backs – Inside 2 positions of a back 4 or every position of a back 3. Center backs are the last line of defense. Must be big, strong, and scary to strike fear into the opposing teams forwards. See Virgil Van Dyke, early Sergio Ramos, or Andreu Fontas for SKC.

Hope I’ve helped your soccer vocabulary. Now where is our true number 9?

Cheers.

Mike