Each soccer position requires a different skillset, and the truth is that some are easier to master than others. Over the years, I have played in every soccer position. I can tell you from experience which position is the easiest to play in and why that is. Here is the position I believe is the easiest in soccer.
The easiest position in soccer is the position of full-back. This is because the full-back position carries relatively little responsibility or expectation and has minimal contact with the ball compared to the other positions in soccer.
Soccer fans have debated this topic for years. What is easy for one person, and what is hard for another is obviously subjective. Many people will have a different opinion on this.
But let me explain to you my reasons for believing the full-back is the easiest position in soccer to play, and maybe you’ll find yourself agreeing with me by the end!
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Reasons the Full-Back Is the Easiest Position in Soccer
I have played full-back multiple times during a soccer game. It is an essential role for any team, and a full back can significantly impact a game.
But I will admit that on some days when I didn’t feel my best, I sometimes hoped the coach would put me in as a full-back because I knew that in this position, I could get away with not putting so much effort in! (Don’t follow this thinking, kids! This was not a good attitude!)
The reason I thought this was that I knew from experience, playing full-back would be a little easier than playing in any other position. Unlike playing goalkeeper, which is by far the hardest position in soccer!
Let me give you four reasons why this was the case.
The Full-Back Has the Least Contact With the Ball
Research shows that full-backs have the ball less often than most other players on the team. The less time a player is in contact with the ball, the fewer decisions have to be made, fewer actions to be taken, and ultimately, less for the player to do.
This lack of contact with the ball means they have fewer opportunities to affect a game’s outcome, for better or for worse.
And the lack of opportunities to make decisions means less pressure on a player from the coaching staff and fans and less overall responsibility.
Now, this can be a disadvantage if you have a player who is great at making crucial decisions or using the ball effectively, but if you are looking for a position that provides the least opportunity to interact with the ball, then the position of full-back has to be considered the easiest position.
The Full Back Runs Less Than Most Other Players
There is no question that the goalkeeper is the player that runs the least out of all the other players on a soccer team. Their position on the team requires they stay in one specific area of the field, and it is rare to see them move too far away from there. Find out about the 8 rules that every soccer goalie must follow here.
But apart from a goalie, the full-back is one of the players that has less running to do than most other players on the soccer field. (If you’re interested in who runs the most, the answer is – midfielders.)
This position’s requirements mean that there is a relatively small area of the field that a full-back has to cover. That area is to the right or the left of the central defenders and, usually, from just the defensive goal line to a little before the halfway line.
There are a few occasions when the full-back will move beyond the halfway line. This is different from central defenders who regularly run-up to the opposite end to take part in a set-piece. The full-backs tend to stay nearer their own goal.
This also means that a full-back doesn’t need to be as fit as other team players.
It’s to their advantage to be as fit as possible, but the truth is that the full-back requirements are less than most of the other positions, making it an easier position to play.
The Full-Back Carries Less Responsibility Than Any Other Player
The role of a full back also carries less responsibility than any other position.
If we look at some of the other positions for a minute, I think you’ll see what I mean.
A striker has the responsibility to score goals for the team. Without goals, the team cannot win any games. The responsibility of this role is often heightened in a close game where there are few opportunities to score. On these occasions, the pressure on a striker to make every chance count can be huge. Find out more about strikers in this article I wrote.
A central midfielder has the responsibility of controlling a game. The central midfielders in a soccer team are often known as the engine room of a team because that is where a significant amount of the action happens.
The ball spends most of the game with the midfielders as they pass the ball around the team, prevent the ball from going past them, and work to creatively distribute the ball up to the team’s forwards. If you want to find out the 11 essential roles for any midfielder have a look at this article.
The central defenders are the last line of defense before the goalie. They must put their body on the line to stop the ball from getting past them. They are expected to effectively communicate and orchestrate the movement of the rest of the defense. You can find out the 21 qualities of every great soccer defender here.
The goalkeeper must prevent the ball from entering the goal. Every time a team concedes a goal, the first person everyone looks at is the goalie. Were they in the right place? Did they do all they could do? The goalie often shoulders more responsibility than any other player on a team when a goal is conceded.
In light of these responsibilities, you can see why the role of a full-back is considered the easiest.
When it comes to responsibility, the full-back:
- Is not expected to score goals
- Is not expected to control the game
- Is not expected to be the last line of defense before the goalie
- and they are not expected to stop the ball going in the goal in the same way that the goalkeeper is
There Is Less Expectation on a Full Back
When you think of the players that really stand out on the soccer field, you rarely think of the full-backs.
The players that often get the glory are the strikers, the wingers, or even the goalkeepers. The full-backs are the players that typically sit more in the background. They are the functional members of the team. There to do a job, but not to stand out.
This naturally means that the fans have a far lower expectation of what a full back does than they do about what a defensive midfielder does.
This lower expectation can be both a good thing and a bad thing.
The lower expectation means the fans and the team don’t expect too much from the full-back when they have the ball. This removes some of the pressure than other players live with throughout each game.
But conversely, it can also mean that a full-back doesn’t push themselves to meet high expectations placed on them. This can hold a player back from being the best they could be.
The lower expectation of a full-back means they have less to live up to. They can get away with more than other players making this position easier to play than many other positions.
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Conclusion and Recommendations
As I said at the beginning of this article, the decision over what position is the easiest in soccer is ultimately a subjective opinion. There is no way to definitively prove one position is easier than another. Each position has it’s pros and cons.
You may or may not agree with me on this topic, and that’s OK! One of the beautiful things about soccer is that many people can have different ideas and opinions about areas of the game, and all are welcome!
Understanding the positions in soccer is one of the most important aspects of the game. To help with this I created a complete guide to soccer positions. You can check it out here. And if you specifically want to know about youth soccer positions, check out this guide I put together.
If you are interested in just defensive soccer positions, then I recommend you check out this guide.
And if you want to be the best player on your team then you should take the opportunity to be a fitter, stronger player, and start my 30-Day Soccer Program today. It could be exactly what you need to go to take your game to the next level.