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POLL: What’s the most difficult position to play on a soccer team?

Who has a tougher job - offense, defense, or someone in between?

John A. Babiak - @Photog_JohnB

When I first thought about this question, I figured it would be pretty simple to choose - forward, midfielder, defender, or goalkeeper, right? But I realized that it’s not as simple as lumping all the positions together into four categories. There is no easy position in a sport like soccer, where most players are constantly moving the entire time.

When it comes to running around during a game, I found that midfielders run as few as 3-ish miles up to 9.5 (!) miles in a single game. Strikers spend the most time in a full-out sprint, with center backs at a close second. Then you’ve got the fullbacks. From both the Colorado Rapids and the US Men’s National Team, we know the impact that a fullback can have (or lack of a true fullback can have), so perhaps that’s the most difficult position? Fullbacks have to run the full length of the field, and get involved in both the offense and defense.

But it’s not all about the running. We know that soccer is also about movement off the ball, making runs, completing passes, etc. etc. etc., so how does that factor into the difficulty of the position? Is scoring more difficult than defending? Are they equally difficult, but in different ways?

My soccer background is in goalkeeping, and while I obviously don’t have pro experience, I have a grasp on the mental and physical complexities of playing that position. I would argue that mentally, goalkeeping is the 100% most difficult position, not to mention you can just as easily be the ‘GOAT’ as the ‘goat’ in a split second. If you do get scored on, the keeper is the one “responsible” and you have to be able to shake it off and get it together to stop it from happening again.

From the physical aspect of the positions, I’m torn between either midfielder and fullback. I lean towards midfield, especially when you consider the tactical skills necessary to be a midfielder as well. I don’t necessarily see a distinction between the attacking midfielder and the defensive midfielder as far as difficulty of the position, but I have a feeling some of you might, so I separated it on the poll.


What’s the most difficult position to play in soccer?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    (13 votes)
  • 6%
    (10 votes)
  • 19%
    Midfielder - attacking
    (32 votes)
  • 24%
    Midfielder - defending
    (40 votes)
  • 8%
    (14 votes)
  • 13%
    Center back
    (22 votes)
  • 21%
    (35 votes)
166 votes total Vote Now

If you can’t see the poll, the choices are: forward, winger, attacking midfielder, defending midfielder, fullback, center back, or goalkeeper.

After you vote, tell us what position you chose and why in the comments!