How to Play Halfback in Soccer


Halfbacks in soccer find themselves between the fullbacks and the forwards. They are called upon to hold the midfield and to be the link between the defensive and the offensive ends of the pitch. Halfbacks must be fast and energetic, with legs that will last a whole game. Although mostly used to hold the ball and feed it to the offense, halfbacks may at times move up to play a more aggressive role. At times a halfback may even be called upon to score. More often, though, they will play the important role of overseeing the game from midfield. Astute halfbacks become the center point of the game, exercising a full field control.

Learn to Play Halfback in Soccer

  • Take possession of the center of the field, and play offense or defense as required by the flow of the game.

  • Move up to support the offense. The halfback mainly feeds the ball to the forwards but may occasionally be asked to take a shot at the goal.

  • Fall back to assist the defenders in protecting the goal.

  • Hug the sidelines. The so-called wingers pick off loose balls and steer them to the offense. Wingers also use their speed to dribble the soccer ball forward.

  • Divide the field up and play by zone. More sophisticated teams have left, right and center halfbacks. They stay in their own areas and facilitate the movement of the ball around the pitch.

  • Read the defense as an offensive halfback. Relying upon superior speed and an ability to pick out the overall defensive scheme, an offensive midfielder sets up many of the shots of the forwards.

  • Grab the ball from the other team as a defensive halfback. The defensive halfback acts as a conduit from the purely defensive players who surround the goal to the offensive halfbacks.

  • Cover the center of the field aggressively. The halfbacks who cover the dead center of the field are often the nerve center for the entire field.

  • Recognize that some of the most important plays on the field will be accomplished by halfbacks. The majority of many games is played in the middle of the pitch.

Tips & Warnings

  • Halfbacks in soccer are now routinely know as midfielders.
  • Depending upon the sophistication of the team, midfielders (halfbacks) can be divided up into several smaller, more defined groups.
  • The smaller groupings of midfielders are generally designated by the area of the midfield that they cover (center, side, wing) or by whether they defend the goal or attack it.

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