Soccer is first and foremost a team game, so it's fair to say that every position is important. However, with each position having different requirements and responsibilities, some are more important than others. So what is the least important soccer position?
The least important position in soccer is the fullback. This is because fullbacks have fewer responsibilities than any other position. The fullback position rarely impacts a game compared to other positions.
Now you know that the fullback is the least important position. But why exactly is this? And do the worst players in the team play at fullback? Find out the answers to these questions and more in this article!
There are a lot of positions in soccer. With only eleven players in a starting lineup, each position plays an important role for the team.
With that being said, there are some positions that are more important than others when it comes to impacting a soccer game.
The position which impacts games the least is fullback. This means fullback is the least important position in soccer.
There are usually two fullbacks in a soccer game, one on each side of the field. These are known as right backs and left backs.
Although both roles are important, they are not as important as other positions, such as the goalkeeper, striker, midfielders, or center backs.
(Click here to find out what the most important position is in soccer)
There are many reasons why the fullbacks are the least important positions in soccer.
Fullbacks are certainly needed in a game, but here is a list of reasons why they are less important than other positions.
Fullbacks are defensive players who play on either side of the center backs. They are tasked with providing support to the center backs and do this in many different ways.
Firstly, fullbacks need to help keep a straight back line with their center backs. This is to help the defense catch attacking players offside.
They also help center backs by making tackles, stopping crosses from being played into the penalty area, and positioning themselves to stop wingers from running at goal.
Fullbacks are sometimes also asked to join in with the attacking play. Occasionally, they will overlap the wingers to cross the ball to the strikers.
The unifying theme of all these responsibilities is that they are all subordinate to other positions. Defensively, they are secondary to the center backs when it comes to stopping shots on goal.
Fullbacks are indeed asked to try and block crosses and shots, and they are also responsible for clearing the ball out of danger.
However, the fullback is still second to the center back when it comes to defensive tasks.
Due to the fullback's position, there is usually a center back ready and waiting to make up for any errors that might occur in the fullback position.
This means that most of the pressure is on both the center backs and the goalkeeper when it comes to defending the goal. The fullbacks have very little pressure in comparison.
The same can be said for attacking.
Fullbacks can be used as extra attacking players if the team is set up in the correct way to utilize them.
But even then, fullbacks are less likely to be involved in attacking play than wingers and strikers.
So, once again, the pressure for scoring goals and creating chances lies with two other positions before the fullback.
Fullbacks are less important than the other positions because of these lesser responsibilities.
Another reason why a fullback is the least important position is because they have so little impact on a game. This is because they don't have much ball possession.
According to a study that focused on particular areas of a soccer field, fullbacks see less of the ball than most other positions. The only outfield position that touches the ball less than fullbacks are forwards.
This is to be expected as forwards are constantly challenged by the opposition defenders every time they're on the ball.
The reason fullbacks have less ball possession is that they are on the part of the field where there is much less play with the ball than in other areas.
Research shows that over 55% of an average team's possession is played through the center of the field. The remaining percentage is split on either side of the field, with less than 20% being played down either wing.
With fullbacks basically playing as wide defenders, this means they end up not touching the ball as much as players who are positioned more centrally.
Fullbacks seeing less of the ball than other positions means they are less likely to contribute to assists or goals. Essentially, the fullbacks are in a place where they can have the least impact on the game.
A popular formation in modern-day soccer is the back three. This formation has three center backs instead of two and eliminates the need to even have fullbacks on the team.
Instead of fullbacks, a team using this formation will choose to utilize players called wingbacks. Wingbacks are essentially a hybrid of wingers, wide midfielders, and fullbacks.
A wingback will often start in a similar position to a fullback, but they will have much more freedom to get forward and help the attack.
They are free to do this because the extra center back can get across the field to fill in for the usual role of the fullback.
Wingbacks are often confused with fullbacks. But this shouldn't be the case, as modern-day wingbacks have more in common with wingers than fullbacks.
The fact that some coaches decide to use this formation to eliminate the fullback position is one of the stronger arguments that it's the least important position in soccer.
The final reason why fullbacks are the least important position is how much ground they cover compared to other positions.
According to a study that examined how much each position runs on average during a game, fullbacks cover an average distance of 9,888 meters (10,813 yards) a game.
Compared to a lot of sports, this is a lot of running. However, fullbacks are one of the least running soccer positions compared to other positions.
The same study determined that midfielders cover an average distance of 10,611 meters (11,604 yards) during a game of soccer. It is making them the soccer position that runs the most.
It's also confirmed that wingers cover an average of 10,253 meters (11,212 yards) per soccer game. And strikers cover an average of 9,945 meters (10,875 yards) per game.
All of these positions cover more ground per game than fullbacks do.
Given everything we know about the fullback position, you may wonder whether the worst player in a soccer team plays in the fullback position.
That's a reasonable assumption, and it's probably the case for lower-level soccer teams. But on elite-level teams, the fullbacks may be among the best players on the team.
There's no greater example of this than Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool team. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are both excellent fullbacks and two of the best players on that team.
Similar can be said for Bayern Munchen, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and many more teams who utilize top-quality fullbacks.
It's worth remembering, though, that these teams often control the majority of their games.
This means they have a lot of ball possession and can use their fullbacks more like wingbacks without needing to revert to a back three.
With most other teams, the fullback is rarely a top player.
In fact, there have been many times where players have been moved from either center back to fullback or winger to fullback. This is usually because they have not been good enough in their original positions.
Moving a player to fullback can often hide a player's weaknesses.
This would undoubtedly lead to the fullback being the least important position for most soccer teams.
Although every position in soccer is important, the fullback position is statistically the least important. This is mainly due to fullbacks having fewer responsibilities compared to other players on the field.
In some cases, a team will avoid using fullbacks altogether by moving to a back three and using wingbacks instead.
More often than not, most soccer teams will have some of their worst players at fullback. However, this is not the case for the elite teams with more ball possession than most.