What Is The Hardest Position In Soccer? Top 8 Ranked!

Share it with others

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2023

What is the hardest position in soccer?

Soccer is a sport composed of several positions. However, many questions arise as to what the most difficult position is.

Let’s start by acknowledging that every soccer player considers their position to be the toughest. This is because each player is essential to the game, and their contribution makes a significant impact on the field.

However, if you look at it from a neutral perspective, you will find out that all positions are important, but only one seems to stand out from the rest.

So, is there a most complicated position in soccer? The answer is yes.

Let’s find out the top 8.

Quick Navigation

What Is The Hardest Position In Soccer?

The hardest position in soccer is the Central Midfielder. Midfielders play a crucial role in controlling the flow of the game, both on the offensive and defensive ends. They need to have a comprehensive understanding of the game, possess excellent technical skills, physical endurance, and an ability to read the game and make quick decisions under pressure.

Additionally, midfielders are expected to cover a large part of the field, which requires a high level of fitness, agility and work rate.

With so many responsibilities and demands placed on a midfielder, it is not surprising that this position is widely regarded as the most challenging in the sport of soccer.

Although each person can have their own opinion about this topic, I am going to explain to you in mere detail why the Midfielder is the hardest position in soccer-

Later in the article, you will find out the other 7 hardest positions.

In the meantime, here are 8 reasons why midfielder is the hardest position in soccer:

  1. The midfielder is the heart of the game.
  2. The physical demand of a midfielder
  3. Technical skills required of a midfielder
  4. Mental challenges of a soccer midfielder
  5. The midfielder touches more the ball than other players.
  6. Midfielder’s great defensive job.
  7. A midfielder needs great passing ability.
  8. Everyone can’t play as a midfielder.

Why is Midfielder the Hardest Soccer Position?

1-The midfielder is the heart of the game

The midfielder is the engine of the team, the heartbeat that drives the game forward.

But what many people don’t realize is that being a midfielder requires a unique combination of skill, athleticism, and mental toughness that makes it the toughest position in soccer.

A team can not have possession with a poor midfield. Plus, the midfielder is a key element for a team victory.

If a team is beaten in the middle, they could lose the game.

2-Physical Demand of a Midfielder

First and foremost, a midfielder must be able to play both offense and defense.

They are expected to support their team’s attack by creating scoring opportunities and maintaining possession, while also helping to defend their own goal and win back the ball when necessary.

This requires incredible endurance, as midfielders must constantly be on the move and covering large areas of the field.

3-Technical Skills Required of a Midfielder

What is the hardest soccer position - A soccer player dribbling the ball

Another aspect of the midfielder’s game that makes it so difficult is their technical ability.

Midfielders must be able to control the ball, pass accurately, and shoot with precision.

They also need to be able to defend effectively, make tackles, intercept passes, and block shots.

All of these skills require hours of practice and repetition, making it a physically and mentally demanding position.

4-Mental Challenges of a Center Midfielder

As a midfielder, the player is not only responsible for the physical demands of the position but also for the mental demands.

The midfielder must have a strong understanding of the game, including the tactics and strategies of both their team and the opposing team.

They must be able to think quickly and make split-second decisions, adapting to the flow of the game and anticipating the moves of their opponents.

Additionally, the centre midfielder must be able to communicate effectively with their teammates, directing them on the field and ensuring everyone is working together towards the common goal.

The mental endurance and focus required for this role are immense, and it is often referred to as the “brain of the team”.

The midfielder must constantly be alert and ready for the challenges that come with the position, both physically and mentally.

You can also read my full article about mental preparation for soccer players here.

5-The Midfielder Touches the Ball more than other Players

A midfielder is supposed to touch the ball more than any other player on the field.

This is because soccer/football is not just a game where you have to take the ball and run to the opposing side. Rather, soccer is a game that involves tactics to win.

One of the key aspects of a midfielder’s game is their involvement with the ball.

Midfielders typically touch the ball more than any other position on the field, making them the hub of their team’s play.

With more touches on the ball come more opportunities to influence the game and make key decisions.

Whether it’s passing, dribbling, or shooting, midfielders are constantly involved in the action and have the responsibility of dictating the flow of the game.

This constant pressure to perform and make smart decisions with the ball can be mentally exhausting, adding to the difficulty of playing that position.

6-Midfilder’s Defensive Job

What is the hardest position in soccer - 4 players fighting for the ball in the midfield

The midfielder’s role in defense is crucial to the success of the team.

They are often responsible for covering the spaces between the defenders and the forwards and breaking up the opposition’s attacks.

This requires a combination of physical attributes such as speed, strength, and agility, as well as tactical awareness and the ability to read the game.

Midfielders must be able to make quick decisions, tackle effectively, and intercept passes, all while remaining disciplined and avoiding fouls.

Additionally, they must work in unison with the defenders and forwards, communicating effectively and ensuring the team is organized and compact.

So, the midfielder’s defensive job is physically and mentally demanding.

7-Great Passing Ability

You can not play as a midfielder with poor passing ability.

Midfielders have to get the ball from defenders and be able to pass it to the forwards. This is usually done with long passes.

Midfielders are required to have a fantastic long passing ability. This is very useful when there is a counterattack.

Plus, long passes can easily break the entire opposing defense.

Some great examples can be T.Kroos and A. Iniesta.

8-Everyone Can’t Play In The Midfield

Everyone can’t play in the midfield. Everyone doesn’t have T.Kroos and Iniesta’s vision.

Yeah, that’s right.

Those payers don’t only have the great passing ability, but they also can know what to do next even before they received the ball.

Playing as a midfielder involves specific skills.

By the way, I have written an article titled “The midfield position in soccer“. You can read it a learn everything there is to know about that position.

When I am talking about playing as a midfielder, I’m not only referring to the central midfielder, but this can also be the number 6 Position.

However, If there is the hardest position, this means there has to be the 2nd hardest position in soccer. But what is it?

What Is The Second Hardest Position In Soccer?

The striker is the second hardest position in soccer. The striker has to make sure to score goals if they want to win the game. And the main purpose of soccer is to score goals. But this also involves several important skills which are not easy to master.

Unlike the midfielder whose main role is to get the ball from the defence and build up the play to create a goal-scoring opportunity, the striker has to find a way to receive the ball from the midfielders and score.

If you think it is easy to score goals, then you are wrong.

A striker is under constant pressure because if the team doesn’t manage to score, the striker will be considered as the main accountable as it’s his job to score goals.

Note that a striker can not always be blamed if there are no goals during a game.

What you should know is that some strikers have to wait for the ball on the opposition side. They don’t need to build up the play or dribble. Their role is to receive the ball and finish. But not all strikers do that. Other strikers are involved in the game construction.

So, if there are no goals in a game, it can also be because the striker has not been served properly by his teammates or the tactic imposed by the coach wasn’t good enough.

This is why I consider it the second hardest position in soccer.

Otherwise, it would be disrespectful to midfielders who have to do the dirty job.

Now that you are aware of the two most challenging positions in soccer, let’s discuss the remaining six that are also quite difficult.

Goalkeeper (3)

Goalkeeper is the third hardest position in soccer because they are like the guardians of the goalposts. They stand alone and are the last line of defense.

What makes this position tough is that they have to be ready to react lightning-fast to shots that can come from any direction.

Sometimes the ball might be flying right at them, while other times it might be curving and swerving, making it really hard to predict.

Goalkeepers need to dive, jump, or even stretch to stop the ball from going into the net. They also have to make split-second decisions, like whether to stay on the goal line or come out to challenge an attacker.

Their actions can decide the outcome of the game.

Full-back (4)

Full-backs have a big job. They need to stop opponents from making dangerous moves down the sides of the field and also help their own team attack.

This can be tricky because they need to be fast enough to catch up to speedy wingers, but they also have to time their tackles just right so they don’t give away fouls or leave gaps in the defense.

On top of that, they should know when to push up the field and join the attack, but also be cautious enough to quickly get back and cover their defensive position. It’s a balancing act between defense and attack.

That’s why it’s considered the 4th most difficult position.

==>> Read more about the Full-Back soccer position here.

Center-back (5)

Center-backs are like the giant walls in front of the goal. They have to use their strength and smarts to stop opponents who are trying to score.

One of the biggest challenges is marking opponents without fouling them. They need to be able to predict where the ball and their opponents will be, which requires a good understanding of the game.

Additionally, they often have to deal with high balls and crosses, using their heading skills to clear the danger.

Staying focused and making quick decisions are vital, as one mistake can lead to a goal.

==>> Read more about the centre-back soccer position here.

Winger (6)

The Winger is the 6th most difficult soccer position. Wingers are the speedsters and tricksters of the team. They need to be really good at dribbling, which means they can control the ball while sprinting and get past defenders.

But it’s not just about attacking – wingers also need to help out in defense, tracking back to stop opponents from advancing.

Their challenge lies in knowing when to take on defenders and when to pass, as well as maintaining their energy throughout the game since they cover a lot of ground.

Defensive Midfielder (7)

Defensive midfielders are the shield of the team. They stand in the middle of the field and have to read the game like a book.

Their main task is to intercept passes and stop opponents from launching attacks.

But that’s not all – they also need to distribute the ball accurately to their teammates. This requires excellent passing skills and a good understanding of the flow of the game.

It’s like being the conductor of the team, directing the play while protecting the defense.

Attacking Midfielder (Playmaker) (8)

Playmakers are the brain of the team’s attack. They need to be creative thinkers, capable of spotting gaps in the opponent’s defense and delivering pinpoint passes.

This is challenging because they often have opponents trying to close them down quickly.

Playmakers also need to control the tempo of the game – sometimes speeding it up with quick passes, and other times slowing it down to give their team a breather.

They are responsible for unlocking defenses with their vision and technique.

All these positions come with their own set of challenges and require specific skills, making them essential components of a soccer team. The difficulty also varies based on a player’s natural abilities and the team’s style of play.

What Others Think

As I said at the beginning of this article, each person can have their own opinion about the hardest position in soccer.

I have made some digging and found several other opinions about this topic.

For instance, according to yoursoccerhome.com, the goalkeeper is the most difficult position in soccer.

What is the hardest position in soccer - A goalkeeper trying to stop a ball

Here is what they said: “the goalie is the only player with a unique skill set, the goalie has more competition than any other player, and because the goalie is under more pressure than other players”.

But is goalie the hardest position in soccer?

Although it is their opinion because it’s probably based on their own experience, I would disagree and here is why.

Let’s explore each idea and I’ll give my personal opinion.

A-“The Goalie Has A Unique Skillset”

“The goalie is the only player allowed to catch the ball with their hands. Hence they have this unique skill set that other players don’t have”.

Here is my answer to this: The truth is that each player can try to do well as a goalkeeper but not each player can do well as a midfielder or striker.

This is because playing as a midfielder and striker involves harder skills than the goalkeeper.

We often see defenders playing the role of a goalie when the real goalie gets a red card and there’s no other substitution.

And they do well as a goalie.

A great recent example has been seen during the African Cup Of Nations that took place in 2022. During the knockout stage between Cameroun and Comoros, something strange happened. The three goalkeepers from the Comoros team couldn’t play due to covid and injuries.

So, the left-back Chaker Alhadhur had to play as the goalie.

It was his first time playing as a goalie and guess what? He gave an outstanding performance. Although Comoros lost 2-1, the score could have been worst without Chaker Alhadhur who is a former left-back.

This player has been able to help his team in a position he had never played before.

This confirms once again that the goalie can’t be the hardest position in soccer. Instead, the goalie is the most important position but not the hardest.

B-“The Goalie Has More Competition Than Any Other Player”.

Once again, yoursoccerhome.com made that statement.

What I would say is that the defender has more competition than any other player.

If you play in a soccer team or maybe just a Sunday league game, you would notice that there tend to be more players willing to defend than attack. There always seem to be more people who want to play defense.

This is because this position doesn’t require much like others.

C-“The Goalie Has More Pressure Than Other Players”

As I already mentioned earlier, midfielders and strikers have more pressure than a goalkeeper.

Although the goalkeeper is the one protecting the cages and has to stop every opposition shoot, this doesn’t mean they have more pressure than other players.

What about the striker who has to face strong defenders to score? What about midfielders who have to win the battle in the middle to ensure possession?

The goalkeeper doesn’t even have to run. All he does is stand in the cages and try to stop every ball coming his way. But I still consider it the third most challenging soccer position.

Wrap Up

The central midfielder is the hardest soccer position.

The midfielder is the heart and soul of soccer and one of the hardest positions to master.

It requires a unique combination of technical ability, physicality, and mental toughness that few players possess. But for those who do, the rewards are great, as they have the opportunity to control the game, dictate the tempo, and make a lasting impact on every match they play.

Of course, each person can have their own opinion about the topic because we all have different perspectives.

But I gave all the arguments as to why I think playing in the midfield is harder than playing anywhere else on the pitch.

I hope you have gained value from this article.

According to you, what is the hardest position in soccer? Share your ideas in the comment section below.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

You can also read the easiest position in soccer.

9 thoughts on “What Is The Hardest Position In Soccer? Top 8 Ranked!”

  1. Soccer is a unique sport and I enjoy watching it from time to time. I do notice how important each position is when it comes to making game-changing plays that can make a difference in winning a soccer match. Learning about each soccer player’s position is challenging but the more we get to know their role the easier we can understand the game entirely.

    Amazing post by the way. 

    • You are not wrong, soccer is a unique sport and each position has its importance. The hardest position can be the easiest for some. That’s what I love about soccer.

      Have a wonderful rest of the day

  2. Hmm, this is interesting and surprising! I would have guessed that the goalkeeper was the hardest position, but after further review, you make solid points about the central midfielder being the hardest position in soccer! The pressure that the goalie deals with is unique to that position, but it does seem more challenging to be an effective central midfielder!

    • Hi, Aly. I am glad you enjoyed the article.

      Each person can have their opinion about the hardest position in soccer. The goalie has more pressure only during a penalty kick. This is because he is going to face the penalty taker, and his entire team will count on him to make a save.

      But during the game, most of the time if the team concedes a goal, in most cases, it’s not the goalie’s fault but the defenders.

      Hence why I do not consider the goalkeeper to be the hardest position on a soccer pitch.

  3. Which position do you think is more difficult, CDM, CM or CAM? In my opinion, I think all positions are difficult. I use to be a LB but I would sometimes play LWB. I absolutely hated playing left wing back as I was constantly running. But like I said, there’s not one hard position in soccer 

    • Hi, Daniel. I think CM is a more difficult position than CDM or CAM. Let me explain…

      The CM is in charge of linking the defence to the attack. A CM has to make a lot of runs and make sure the entire midfield is under control. This makes this position more difficult.

      However, the CAM main role is to assist the attack. And the CDM main role is to support the defence only. Of course, a CDM can also support the offensive players, but this is not their main role.

  4. Happy to found this post. I like how complex you went with your descriptions. I can also bet, that you are ex or present soccer player! I played myself highest level and now still relatively high. I play as second striker, or offensive midfielder and I can agree on what you here described. Those two have a special importance for a game as in attack as well as in defence. However I do agree that all positions have their importance, and you can argue which one has higher importance(just see how the impact on the team one red card can have, right?) Thank you for this piece of info

    • Hi, Julius. Thanks for sharing your point. I totally agree with you that it can highly impact the team if a player receives a red card during a soccer game.

      You play offensive midfielder. So, you can relate that this is the hardest position on a soccer pitch. As you said, you have to do both offensive and defensive jobs.
      Have a nice one.


Leave a Comment