If you want to win the game, you’ll need to have a solid team in the midfield. If you speak to anyone that knows anything about soccer, they’ll tell you the same thing.
Think about it. Your kidneys are important for your body to function, but without the lungs, heart and the brain, your body wouldn’t be able to function the way it should. The same can be said about midfielders in soccer.
The midfielders in soccer are the ones that largely determine how the game goes. It’s a taxing job, but it’s an essential one. If you want your whole team to perform well, having some spectacular midfielders is vital for providing inspiration.
Midfielders have a lot of different things to do out on the soccer pitch, however. It doesn’t matter what moves the rest of your team play, those moves are going to need to go right through your midfielders.
Attacking, defense - you name it. If you want to have a smooth transition in your team, if you want the game to have good tempo and most crucially, if you want to keep possession of the ball - you need midfielders.
There’s a lot of weight on a midfielder's shoulders in every game of soccer. These players travel quite some distance across the pitch.
Arguably, they are the ones that are the most intimate with the ball, and they’re the ones that have the most passes in the team.
It’s also not a job that gets a lot of recognition. After all, do soccer newbies really know the names of any midfielders?
How many people will remember those that act as a middle ground between the rest of the players, or those who do a phenomenal job defending?
Most people who are new to soccer will remember players like the goalscorers or the goalkeepers. Those players are the ones that are given the most praise and recognition.
Or they will remember the players that did an excellent tackle, or something else that’s noteworthy in a particular game.
Those players are essential, of course, but if you don’t have a solid team in the midfield, your entire team will fall apart. If you want to win the game, you’re going to need good midfielders.
What Traits Do Good Midfielders Possess?
So, we’ve established that midfielders are important. But what qualities does a midfielder need in order to be successful?
In truth, a midfielder really needs to be a jack of all trades. They need to have a range of soccer abilities, such as defending and attacking. These skills are crucial for ensuring that the game goes smoothly.
If you want to influence the game as a midfielder, there are a couple of key traits that you need to possess:
1. A thorough understanding of the game, and knowledge of correct positioning
It’s vital that a midfielder is in the right place at the right time.
If you’re a midfielder, having a spectacular understanding of the mechanics of soccer is helpful, as this will help you to know where to be to receive passes and to defend.
Having this knowledge will help you to ensure that you are in the right place to keep control of the ball.
It’s crucial that you don’t make the wrong moves when you’re a midfielder. There’s no use in pointlessly sprinting up the field.
In fact, it could even be detrimental to your team for you to do so. You need to know what your team expects from you at every moment.
Likewise, if you need to attack then you need to make sure that you do so at the right time in order to avoid any careless risks.
2. Discipline and a knowledge of a midfielder’s role
A midfielder has a lot of responsibilities. As such, they need to really understand the things that are expected of them.
A midfielder needs to provide support to the strikers and the wingers, helping them to make opportunities to score a goal.
In addition to that, the midfielder also needs to help protect the ball and they need to have a great deal of discipline. This makes the role completely vital on the field.
Should a midfielder end up neglecting part of their duties, the game could be lost. It’s essential that a midfielder understands what they need to do when they are playing soccer.
3. Spatial Awareness
If you’re a midfielder, you can’t just stand there and stare at your feet for hours. No - you need to know what’s going on around you at all times. You need to be looking around you so that you can be prepared for your next move.
If you are prepared, it will then be a lot easier for your team to maintain possession of the ball, and it will also mean that it’s harder for your opponents to score goals because they have taken the ball from you.
This isn’t the only reason why it’s important for you to know what’s going on around you, however. If you’re constantly alert, you’ll also know where your fellow team mates are.
It’s sort of like chess - if you know where all of your pieces are, you’ll have a much easier time trying to figure out your subsequent moves.
As such, it’s very clear that fully understanding your surroundings at all times is a vital skill to have if you’re a midfielder.
4. Can Perform Under Pressure
Being able to perform under pressure is a desirable trait in any profession. It’s even more important for midfielders in soccer.
Any midfielder worth their salt knows how to stay calm when things are getting dicey, and they know exactly what to do in order to successfully execute their next move. You also need to have ridiculously good technique.
If you can perform under pressure, you are much more likely to help your team to stay in possession of the ball.
A midfielder must have excellent passing skills, and they know how to execute their next move without panicking. It’s a lot easier for a team to score goals if its midfielder doesn’t panic in vital moments.
It’s an essential skill for a midfielder. If a team’s midfielder can’t do this, then a team will very quickly begin to lose the game.
5. Finely tuned decision making skills and a love of the game
A midfielder needs to absolutely love the ball. You will always want it in your possession, and fight for it as if it were your own child.
A midfielder moves into positions on the field that will allow them to take possession of the ball, creating great passing opportunities for the rest of the team.
Not only that, but a midfielder can move and pass with ease - there’s no overthinking involved. They have such great technical skills that the chances of any pass going awry is slim too.
A midfielder is great at making decisions too, quickly and efficiently weighing up all of their options before making a swift and impactful decision. They do this under an immense amount of pressure too!
This trait, alongside the others we have mentioned, will help the midfielder to ensure that their team is victorious.
6. High endurance
As we have previously established, the stakes are high for a midfielder. As such, they need to be incredibly fit, with a great deal of stamina that will last for the entire duration of the soccer game.
If you don’t have a lot of endurance, your performance won’t be as good towards the tail end of the match.
As such, you may begin to make mistakes that can be detrimental to the game. Having excellent stamina is thus essential for the sake of your performance.
You’re going to need to sprint towards the ball to attack, run back to defend and tackle, or you may need to run out to the wings. These things all require a great deal of endurance, and your fitness needs to be in good shape as a result.
7. Be a fantastic player across the board
A midfielder needs to be a jack of all trades with a wide range of skills. You need to be a very talented soccer player to be a good midfielder.
If you’re defending, your tackles need to be consistently successful. You need to be able to take on even the most challenging of players on the opposing team, and you need to be able to correctly utilize the space that you have.
Not only that, but you also need to be creative with a good strategic brain in order to help in the last third of the pitch. You should also be great at shooting - some opportunities simply should not be missed!
A Midfielder’s Roles and Responsibilities in a Soccer Game
You may have already gathered this by now, but a midfielder is critical to a team’s success.
With that being said though, you may not be aware about the key responsibilities that a midfielder has during a game of soccer.
So, what does a midfielder need to do out on the pitch? Here’s everything that you need to know.
1. They execute transitions between defense and attack
As a general rule, each player on the pitch has his own goals. A defender will need to remain in certain spaces to defend the ball, and they need to mark the attackers from the opposing team.
A forward or a striker needs to receive passes and score goals and need to be able to handle opposing players that may be a threat.
Naturally, it’s important that someone can act as a middle ground between these two kinds of players.
Unsurprisingly, this is the role of the midfielder.
Any plays that are made by the defense or the attack will go through the midfielder. This includes momentary retreats, attacks, regroups or switch ups.
If players in the back have acquired the ball, the midfielder will then need to give the defenders on the ball passing options in order to play the ball back up the pitch.
Usually, a central midfielder stays back in the final third of the pitch as the other players move up the pitch. Someone needs to stay behind for those critical moments when the attack and defense need a middle ground player.
2. Keeping the ball and determining the tempo of the game
As we have established already, the main role of the midfielder is to act as a middleman between the attack and the defense. This is not the only thing that they do, however.
The midfielder is also well known for maintaining the possession of the ball and determining the way that the game plays out.
A midfielder needs to do a range of things. For instance, they will need to look for different scoring opportunities, pass the ball from one side to another, and in some situations they may also need to navigate the ball into potentially dangerous places.
A midfielder is intelligent and is more than capable at making quick and effective passes. As such, they help the attackers to make great moves too.
There are a few ways that midfielders help to give the attackers opportunities to run through with the ball. For starters, they help to speed up or slow down the game to suit the needs of the team.
They also help to alter the approaches taken, and they will move the ball in between the defense and the attack in order to infuriate and confuse the opponents.
Sometimes a midfielder will also help to get teammates out of some sticky situations. They are known for thinking quickly and making smart decisions, after all.
If you ever see a player that’s a little stuck, it’s likely that they’ll ask the midfielder for a hand.
Midfielders are pretty good at coming up with last minute moves to get themselves and other players out of bad situations, and this can help them to maintain possession of the ball even in the worst situations.
3. Preventing Attacks from the Opposition
A lot of holding or defensive midfielders are tasked with the responsibilities of preventing the opposition from attacking.
Their main job is to act as a shield to the defense and to intervene in any attacks, after all. The midfielders on a team are usually the first line of defense before the opposition can even get to the defenders.
A midfielder that is good at his job will be aware of any potential threats and will make every effort to stop them. The last thing that a midfielder should be allowing is for the opposition to gain traction, since this can threaten the defense.
In the final third of the pitch, a midfielder has to give cover to any defenders, and they need to intervene in some situations. A midfielder in the center of the pitch also has to cover the center back if they have changed position.
4. Help to Score Goals
You will often find that a playmaking midfielder is one of the main people making assists out on the field.
If a striker doesn’t have a trustworthy playmaking midfielder on his side, he’s less likely to score and as such, less likely to win the game.
Not only that, but a holding midfielder is also essential for making assists.
A midfielder needs to be able to make perfect passes to help the strikers to score. If the midfielder is talented enough at doing assists, the opposition barely stands a chance.
It’s not sufficient to just make assists, however. You also need to have the capability to make your own goals. These can come as a result of things like free kicks, long shots from outside the box and more.
Now, it goes without saying that a midfielder isn’t always a spectacular goal scorer. A midfielder does need to be able to make the job of a forward or a striker just a little bit easier though.
Top Tips for Success As A Midfielder
After reading all of that, you’re now aware of some of the skills that you need to possess as a midfielder. But how can you hone those skills and become an even better midfielder? Here are a couple of tips to help you out!
1. Be Alert
As we’ve already said, it’s essential to be constantly aware of your surroundings when you’re a midfielder. Make sure that you’re always looking over your shoulder to see what’s going on.
Keep your eye on the ball, and keep on looking for new opportunities and challenges. It can be tricky to do, especially since you have so many responsibilities, but it certainly becomes easier with time.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
Shooting, dribbling and passing - all crucial skills in soccer. You need to be confident with your footwork if you want to get results.
It can be hard to get the experience with the ball since you don’t spend as much time with the ball as your other teammates do. This is why it’s so crucial to take every opportunity that you can get to spend time with the ball.
If you know what you’re doing with your feet, you can pass much more efficiently. You can just do one touch passes and get better results. Practice makes perfect, and this is especially true when you’re a midfielder.
3. Work On Your Team Work
Having an awareness of your teammates and their challenges is important too. For instance, consider your team member’s dominant foot. There’s no use in passing to their right foot if they work primarily with their left.
Consider where they prefer to receive the ball so that they can work to their strengths. Your team will have more control over the ball if you know how your teammates operate.
Your teammates are less likely to lose the ball if they are playing to their strengths, and you can help with that. You minimize the chances of making mistakes if you know your team well.
4. Move Into Spaces
In soccer, there are players all over the pitch, so it can often be difficult to find the right place to play in.
If you are passing, however, you should use that as an opportunity to move into a new space. This will help to provide them with a passing angle. You’ll also get to spend more time with the ball.
5. Work On Your Endurance
Your life is going to be difficult if you aren’t fit enough to keep up. Hit the gym a little more often during the week - you’ll find that your game will improve as a result.
Those are just a few ways that you can dominate on the field as a midfielder. With practice, you can take the soccer field by storm with your impressive skills!