The purpose of the midfielder is primarily on the offense to build-up the attack and create goal scoring opportunities. When possible midfielders will also score goals. On the defense, midfielders primarily disrupt or stop the other team's build-up and then effectively transition onto the attack once they gain possession of the ball.
Characteristics of an Effective Midfielder:
Solid Foundational Skills
Midfielders must be able to with confidence trap every ball passed to them and then effectively pass the ball to the tactically intelligent space. The trapping challenges for midfielders is great and comprehensive. They can receive quick short high tempo passes and long floating passes. In every case the good midfielder is able to effectively and rapidly transition the ball to a good passing position or effectively pass the ball one touch. The importance of trapping and passing for a midfielder cannot be over stated. Additionally, great midfielders are able to take long range shots that are powerful and accurate. A great midfielder should be able to effectively accurately hit the goal from 25 yards and further out. On top of these skills, the great midfielder is also a solid defender and defensively dominant in the midfield. She needs to be able to win the 50-50 balls and control the midfield.
Key Skill Summary
- Short passing
- Long passing
- Long range shooting
- Mark players
- Steal the ball
Game Intelligence - General of the Field
The great midfielder is often the General of the game. She is the team's game coordinator both when attacking and defending. Her soccer intelligence is such that on the defense she is able to anticipate where and how the other team will attack. On the attack, she can see where opportunities are for her team to advance the ball down the field and create scoring opportunities.
Because of her game intelligence and the fact that as a midfielder she is integral to both the offense and defense, the great midfielder is also a master coordinator. She effectively communicates with her team mates to ensure that the team is unified in their awareness and actions. She must be able to coordinate individual players actions to ensure that the team is playing in a unified manner.
No position on the field requires greater soccer fitness than midfield. It is important to understand what soccer fitness for a midfielder requires. The soccer midfielder needs to make 10-50 yard sprints time and time again for the entire duration of the game with minimal rest in between. Occasionally, the great midfielder will even be required to run the entire length of the field. In addition to this, the midfielder is regularly challenging the players on the other team for control of the ball. This requires a physical toughness to endure regular "shoving matches". This fitness not only enables her to continuously make these runs through the duration of the game, but enables her to make good tactical decisions through the duration of the game and especially in those vital last 15 minutes of the game.
Thoughts from a Great Midfielder
The Rage community has been blessed to have many great players with the teams and friends of the Rage. One such friend of the Rage who has played with us is Dallin Glade. Below are some of his thoughts and recommendations on what it means to be a great midfielder. Here is what he shared.
The key thing in this video is watching how it's not always about making a dangerous play, run or finding the ball but how he creates time by finding pockets of space to sit in (see video at 2:30). By doing this he never puts his team in a compromising position and has plenty of time to receive a ball and play a pass.
This video gives really solid information on the very basics of the midfield position and looks at some common mistakes. The overall premise is to hold your position! don't go crazy running everywhere! Find those easy pockets of space, communicate, and play easy passes.
This video is all about in-game scenarios. It shows just how important it is to space yourself. Going off of that idea I would also emphasize just how aware these players are of everything going on around them. Being engaged especially is what separates great players, constantly be checking your shoulder and communicating.
The drills in this are exactly what midfielders are doing in-game constantly. The passing and receiving then turning are great things to practice. I would also add that as you do this drill you should be practicing keeping your head up and looking over your shoulders this eliminates just going through the motions and makes it so you have to be fully ENGAGED I like to even call out names and communicate as I would in-game during these drills.
And of course, always be doing the 1000 touches drills to help with first touch and getting more comfortable on the ball.
Main Points of focus
- movement and positioning (specifically finding open pockets of space)
- simple play.
- being engaged looking over shoulder, head up, and communicating.