What Position Is Striker in Soccer?
A striker is strategically placed near the opponent’s goal to try and score as many goals as possible for the team.
Any other player can score during the game, but the striker is the most likely to score or create scoring opportunities for the team.
Anyone playing in the striker position needs speed, accuracy, and a high level of agility. That’s why some of the best soccer players of their generation, the likes of Brazil’s Ronaldo and England’s Alan Shearer, excelled in this position.
Strikers traditionally wore jersey number 9, though this has changed over time.
With the way soccer positions are set up, number nine is usually up against the opposing goal. Although the jersey number nowadays does not reflect the positions played, the striker position remains.
The striker is the team’s attacker. They are placed closest to the opponent’s goal to maximize their chances of attacking successfully.
Nevertheless, they don’t work in isolation. Soccer is a team sport. So, when not in the best position to score, they at least create scoring opportunities for other players.
What Does a Striker Do in Soccer? Striker’s Main Role
The primary role of a striker is to score goals. The striker’s role is to figure out how to get the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net.
Just as the main role of a goalkeeper is to block goals, the goalkeeper and the striker are pinned against each other and have contradicting roles.
That being said, there are other tactical roles a striker plays. They all contribute to them or the team scoring goals; hence, they’re equally important.
Being Available for Passes
One of these roles is being available for passes, both long passes, and short passes.
The players in the field work to get the ball to the striker so they can score.
And the striker’s role is to make themselves available for passes from their teammates so that they can finish the set play with a goal.
Strikers are also expected to create space on the opponents’ side.
Creating space for the striker and other forwards increases the team’s attack capability.
Creating space might look like drawing the opponents’ defenders away from their goal or distracting them so another teammate can shoot toward the goal.
Take Control of the Game
In addition, a striker has to be aggressive and take control of the game.
By design, this player is meant to be fed the ball, but a great striker like Poland’s Robert Lewandowski does not just wait for the ball–they go out and look for the ball to take control of the game and give themselves and their teammates a better scoring chance.
What Makes a Striker? Characteristics of a Striker in Soccer
A striker carries the team and should be able to demonstrate leadership skills.
As the person to whom the ball is directed, they should be able to read the game and guide their teammates on the best plays to maximize the opportunity.
Since strikers are primarily tasked with scoring goals, the team’s morale rests with them.
With good leadership skills, they can motivate their teammates and psyche them up for the next attack until they find a win.
Confidence is critical for any striker.
As much as soccer is a physical game, it’s also mental. If the confidence of a striker is lacking, the team will suffer a great deal.
The striker has to be confident that they are fit for the role. They have to be confident in their technique to make a winning play.
However, confidence is not just a matter of belief. Confidence is built over time with deliberate practice. If, in the beginning, the striker could not handle a hard ball, that would lower their confidence levels.
But with sufficient training, they can build up the skill to handle such a ball and, alongside, their confidence.
Practice and good coaching are the baselines of player confidence, especially in soccer
Good practice under professional management reinforces one’s belief in their skills and eventually boosts their confidence in the game.
Strength and Stamina
Moreover, a striker has to be physically strong and have a lot of stamina.
Remember, the striker is up against aggressive defenders; if they are weak, they have no chance.
Nonetheless, their physical strength and energy should maintain their agility. They should be able to move swiftly, kick the ball past the defender, and position it for the perfect goal shot.
What Skills Does a Soccer Striker Need?
Various soccer skills are essential to all footballers, but even more so for strikers.
One of them is touch. Touch is also referred to as “ball control”–the ability to command the ball to do what you want it to do.
A striker needs an excellent touch to direct the ball precisely where they want it to go. Touch is not an inborn talent; it’s built over time. With enough practice, any player can improve their touch.
A striker must make use of a variety of touches that are common on the soccer field. They include:
- Outside of the foot
- Inside of the Foot
- Soft foot
- Hard balls
These touches give this player more ball control to materialize the goals they are expected to score.
Another essential skill for strikers is speed. However, speed for a striker is more than just being able to run quickly. It includes:
- Fast running: This is the ability to run faster than the opponent.
- Explosive running: The ability to achieve great speed in an instant
- Quick feet: The ability to switch feet quickly while dribbling and running
- Fast mind: The ability to see a scenario, analyze it, and find a solution within a blink
- Fast mobility: the ability to maneuver quickly between defenders
What’s the Difference Between Forward and Striker?
The difference between a striker and a forward is that forwards are all attacking positions, including midfielders and wingers.
A striker is a player in the position closest to the opposing goal and the one tasked with scoring goals for the team when opportunities arise.