Becoming the best possible soccer player requires a lot of different skills, as well as a lot of dedication and constant practice to perfect and improve your capabilities.
And here is the thing, different soccer players will excel at different things, all while trying to be as well-rounded as possible to be the full package.
It’s also important to remember that you can’t make it to the top by solely focusing on your own skills. You have to be able to play within the team, coordinating and collaborating to optimize everyone’s skills, and not just yours!
Working with a good coach is also vital, as they will have the experience and the insight to guide you through your skills to focus on the ones that will serve you the most.
But what are the most important skills to have as a soccer player? Well, as we mentioned, there are many different skills that can prove to be invaluable during soccer. But you can’t focus on all of them at once!
So here are the seven top soccer skills that are the absolute most vital for soccer players, and focusing and improving these will help you reach the top of your capabilities, almost guaranteed!
1. Ball Control
Soccer is all about moving a ball around, being able to run with it and shoot it to score. So it is no wonder that ball control is one of the most important skills that all soccer players must learn.
In fact, it will be one of the first skills you learn, because if you can’t get by with the ball at your feet, then how are you going to play at all?
By ball control, we must often refer to the ability to lightly kick the ball so that it goes to wherever you are directing it. That way you can run across the feet, with the ball always at your feet as you direct it.
Control is vital because if you kick it the wrong way, the ball might end up a little out of reach, and then another player might sweep in and steal it from you.
With ball control, it’s also all about receiving the ball. So if another player passes it to you, you have to be able to receive the ball by stopping it in its tracks, without having it bounce away again.
Once the basics are covered, ball control is all about improving technique and learning more advanced forms of control so that the ball ends up being a part of your feet, and you can make your way across without losing it in any way.
This takes a lot of practice and a lot of patience. Professional soccer players make it look easy when they control the ball, but there is a lot of nuance to it, and a lot of specialized technique!
2. Passing the Ball
Being able to control the ball yourself is super important, but in soccer, it’s all about teamwork. This means that knowing how to pass the ball effectively can be the make or break of a match.
The skill to pass the ball to other teammates in a suitable way will ensure that they are able to receive it well so that the gameplay can be successful, and the opposing players don’t steal the ball away.
Truth is, passing the ball isn’t always as easy as it looks, and it requires a lot of skill. You have to shoot it in the right way, with the right accuracy, and the right strength, so that the ball reaches the other player in the right exact spot.
On top of that, during a match everyone is in constant movement (except maybe the goalkeeper), so you will often have to calculate the spot in which the other player will be by the time they receive the ball!
Passing the ball can also be done short distance, or long distance and players need to be able to do both in order to become the best!
3. Good Positioning
There are eleven players on a soccer team, and each player will have a role that comes with a position within the field. Although, of course, the players can then move around to where they are needed most, depending on how the match develops.
But a skill that is often overlooked but that proves vital, is having good positioning and awareness of the space around you.
Soccer players often make decisions within a fraction of a second, and they have to be able to get through the gaps left unprotected, or they need to rush a vulnerable area within their own defense.
Being aware of your surroundings and the positioning of the rest of your team will help you better prioritize where you should be and where so that you can be of the most use possible to contribute to the team and get yourself a victory.
With this skill, also comes the ability to quickly communicate with your teammates, so that you can work in tandem with them and coordinate strategies.
Essentially, this skill is all about optimizing teamwork, and ensuring you are in the right place at the right time, so that the team has a better chance of winning!
4. Stamina and Speed
It’s no secret that soccer players have to be physically fit in order to be at their best throughout an entire soccer game.
They’re not exactly short, and a soccer game involves a lot of running and a lot of moving about, pushing your body to the limit. And on top of that, you have to be focused, aware, and ready to react within a split second.
So stamina and speed are a skillset that all soccer players have to have, regardless of their position within the team. Being faster than the opposing team can be the difference between making it to score a goal or not, and stamina begins to show as the game advances.
Those that begin to tire will start to make mistakes, and will no longer be at the top of their abilities. So when the coach tells you to run those laps...you probably should!
Stamina and speed are also pretty easy to improve and keep up, as you can dedicate a fraction of your training time to simply rubbing laps or practicing your acceleration!
Another extremely important skill that you will need to perfect if you want to become one of the best soccer players is footwork.
This goes hand in hand with ball control, but it takes it to a more advanced level and it includes things such as dribbling the ball to get it through the opposing defense as you make your way to score a goal.
It’s all about knowing how to dodge and trick opposing players, taking the ball with you without losing it. There are also plenty of fancy tricks to do with footwork that can look pretty impressive, with most professional soccer players having their own signature moves.
Footwork is definitely a skill to master in order to take it to the next level, and it requires a lot of practice, a lot of technique, and a lot of repetition while you try again and again.
6. Aim when shooting
The main purpose of soccer, and the thing that you have to do in order to win a soccer game, is to score goals. That’s the whole point of the match, and it’s what all the players are working towards, as a team.
So having a good aim and knowing how to shoot the ball is by far one of the most essential skills to become the best possible soccer player.
It might not seem like it, but there are many different ways to shoot and kick a ball, and a lot of technique and foot positioning are involved to get it right.
But here’s the thing, getting it right can be the difference between scoring the goal, or the ball going somewhere else.
During a soccer match, there aren’t that many openings to score a goal, so learning how to shoot at your best, at every single opportunity that you get, can single you out as a reliable and professional player or not.
Practicing your aim until it is perfect, is super important so that when you’re in the middle of an intense match, with everything happening at once, you can rely on the skillset and muscle memory to aim true and score.
It is all well and good to want to become the best possible soccer player, and mastering all of the above skills is a step in the right direction in order to ensure you have the capabilities when the time comes.
But there is one skill that rules them all, and without which you will be very unlikely to achieve mastery of anything: discipline.
Improving your skills and achieving advanced levels of technique requires a lot of dedication, and you need discipline in order to make yourself practice day after day.
Especially when sometimes that practice can be boring, or the results can take ages to appear. It is very easy to give up or to try and rush through the work.
But with the right amount of discipline, you can make yourself stick through it all, until you come out on the other side, having perfected your soccer playing to be the very best.
The best soccer players in the world have a track record of being hard-working and dedicated, with a positive attitude and the fortitude to keep on going no matter how hard things get.
That is what you need to reach the top, and that is what you need if you’re going to become the best soccer-playing version of yourself possible.
There are many skills that are needed in order to be a good soccer player. But amongst them, the top seven skills are ball control, passing the ball, good positioning, stamina and speed, footwork, aim when shooting, and discipline.
If you are able to improve and master those seven skills, you will have the makings of becoming a great soccer player, and everything else will come hand in hand with them all.