The Hardest Position In Soccer

Post title over image of soccer positions

There are multiple different positions in soccer, and they all require slightly different skillsets. Knowing which soccer position is the hardest out of all the options can be hard to figure out. In this article, I’m going to show you what the hardest position in soccer is and explain why.

Goalkeeper is the hardest position in soccer. Not only does a goalkeeper have to perform under more pressure than any other player, but they must also possess a unique skill set, as well as facing a higher level of competition than any other player.

Although what is considered hard to one person may differ from another, I want to show you why I believe this position is more demanding than any other.

Once you get to the end, you may discover a newfound appreciation for the goalie on your team!

Why Goalie Is the Hardest Soccer Position

If you ask most soccer players what the hardest position to play in during a soccer game is, they will undoubtedly say their position is the hardest!

Every player likes to think they are working more for the team than anyone else!

However, if we look objectively at it, there has to be one position that is harder than the rest.

In my opinion, there is one position that stands out compared to the others.

The position of goalkeeper in soccer is the hardest position for any soccer player to play for three reasons:

  1. The position of goalkeeper requires a unique skill set.
  2. There is higher competition for goalkeepers.
  3. Goalkeepers must perform under more pressure than any other player.
soccer goalkeeper
A goalkeeper saving the ball

Each of these reasons deserves a more in-depth explanation, so let me explain why these factors make goalkeeper the most challenging position on the soccer field.

Playing Goalkeeper Requires a Unique Skillset

No other player on a soccer team has the freedoms or limitations that a goalkeeper has.

I recently wrote an article listing the 8 soccer rules that apply solely to goalkeepers because the requirements placed on a goalkeeper are considerably different from the rest of their team.

The most obvious difference to most onlookers is that the goalie has the freedom to use their hands. No other player or position in soccer has the freedom to do this.

There are restrictions on when and where a goalie can use their hands. You can find more out about that in my article – Where and When a Soccer Goalie Can Use Their Hands But as a general rule, a goalie can only touch the ball with their hands within their own penalty area.

The freedom to use their hands means a goalie has more options for how they interact with the soccer ball.

  • They can catch the ball
  • Block the ball with their hands
  • Punch the ball
  • or throw the ball

These are all options that are not available to the rest of the team.

goalkeeper hands and ball

The best goalkeepers will take advantage of these options and use them all for the benefit of the team.

But to be effective at using these options, a goalie must spend time working on these skills and regularly practicing them.

This means they have to train on a wide range of different skills to their teammates and learn techniques that only apply to their position.

Learning these skills and being highly effective at using them is one reason that goalie the hardest position in soccer.

Goalkeepers Face Higher Competition Than Other Players

The second reason that goalkeeper is harder than every other soccer position is that they face higher competition for their place than the rest of the team.

When you look at the positions on the soccer field, you will have noticed that there are multiple outfield players but only one goalkeeper.

In a soccer game, the rules only ever permit one goalkeeper to be on the field of play at one time. And a team must have a goalie on the field at all times.

While most players on the team can be moved into different positions at different times, goalkeepers only ever play in the position of goalkeeper.

This makes the competition tough!

Just imagine for a moment that you are trying out to be the goalkeeper on a team and there are 10 other people also trying out for that same position. Due to the rules of soccer, only one of the 11 players trying out can be selected as a goalie.

If you’re gonna win that spot, you better be good!

But now imagine a situation where you are trying out for the position of a midfielder, and there are another 10 players also competing for that position.

To start with, there are usually multiple midfielders that play in a team at one time, so that increases your chance at getting in the team.

But then add to that the fact that if you don’t get selected as one of the midfielders, it’s much easier to move a midfielder into defense or attack than it is to change the position of the goalkeeper.

If there are 11 people all competing for an outfield position on a team, there’s a good chance they could all be offered a spot.

A goalie only has a 1 in 11 chance of being selected.

You can see why playing goalie is so hard when the competition is so much harder.

Goalies Face More Pressure Than Any Other Player

The third reason that goalie is the hardest position in soccer is that there is more pressure on a goalie than any other player.

A goalkeeper’s role in soccer is to stop the ball from entering the goal they are defending. They are expected to do everything they can to prevent their team from conceding a goal.

This puts a serious amount of pressure on them!

three goalkeepers

If the goal is scored, then the first player everyone looks to is the goalie.

Should they have done better?

Did they make the right moves?

Where they in the right position?

The goalie is the last line of defense for a team, and this responsibility comes with a lot of pressure.

A goalie is often expected to orchestrate the defensive players in front of them as well.

Due to their position at the back of the team, they have a unique perspective on the soccer field. They can see everything that is happening and where every player is.

With this advantage comes the responsibility to communicate with the other players on their team and instruct them about where to go and what opposition players they should stay close to.

But this also presents a considerable opportunity for mistakes to be made.

  • The goalie could communicate poorly
  • They could read the game badly
  • or they could simply be unaware of what’s happening

These would all have a negative effect on a team, and a goalie that doesn’t do well in these areas would quickly lose their place in the team.

There is no doubt in my mind that goalkeeper is the hardest position in soccer.

Playing as a goalkeeper is a challenging and demanding role.

My Personal Recommendations

Having established the hardest position in soccer, you may be interested in the easiest position. If so, check out my article – The Easiest Position in Soccer – you may be surprised about the answer!

If you’re interested in being a better soccer player, you need to check out this soccer fitness guide.

And if you want to know how to choose the best soccer jersey for you, have a look at my Soccer Jersey Buyers Guide.

Ben Clayfield

Hi! My name's Ben. I've played, watched, read about, and enjoyed soccer throughout my life. I really enjoy finding out more about the game I love and sharing it with you all. Find out more about me here - Ben Clayfield

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