Tuesday, May 3, 2016

8v8 Soccer Positions Explained: Forward

Last in the series of 8v8 3-3-1 positions is the center forward, or striker.

Forward (CF)

Forwards are the most celebrated players in the team because they are often the ones who score goals. Accuracy, head ability, and ball control are the typical qualities of a forward. A forward does not have to do as much work as the midfield or defense but he must be able to convert when his teammates give him the ball.

Center-forwards (CF) are positioned closest to the opponent’s goal. They have two roles: first, they score goals through passes from teammates; second, they distract the defense to give room for the attacking midfielder or winger to attack.

A striker must be brilliant at receiving and controlling the ball, must be strong, and capable of winning the ball in the air. Skills at playing with the back to the goal is a prerequisite.

In our 3-3-1 scenario, a striker is the tip of the spear. When the opponents are attacking and have the ball in our zone, the CF will still stay upfield, usually in-line with their defenders. See the following diagram:

The opponents in blue have the ball in our zone on our right side. You can see the CF in the center circle in line with their defenders but not offside. If our right fullback is able to win the ball, he can pass up to the right midfielder and then get a sharp pass through the opponents defenders into the space behind them, allowing our striker to run into space and attack the goalkeeper one-on-one, where the odds are strongly against any goalkeeper. As mentioned earlier, control is key for a striker, especially dribbling and shooting while on the run.

When our defense holds and we begin our counter attack, the CF will be in position for a breakout if a through-pass gets made. The striker needs to be aware of his positioning and make sure he's not offside. We had more than a few cases in our first game where our forward was caught offside and it killed our attacks, including one goal called back.