What Is A Fullback In Soccer? What You Should Know In 2023

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There are numerous tactical roles and positions in soccer, with the fullback being the most noticeable. Typically, 11 players on the field will have their own positions and responsibilities. 

In modern soccer, this key defensive position gains more influence on the game and plays a critical role in the team’s success. So, what is a fullback in soccer?

What does a fullback do in soccer? If you are wondering about these questions, don’t skip this post. I will give you everything about this prevalent position, along with useful examples. Keep scrolling down to learn more!

What Is A Fullback In Soccer? 

The fullback is typically a defensive position that mainly plays around the right or left side of the backline. Therefore fullback is commonly known as left backs or right backs. 

The fullback plays as a normal defensive player that protects their goal from the opposing team’s attack. When your team takes back ball possession, the fullback will push forward and join the attack with other offensive players. 

For this reason, fullback players contribute heavily to both offensive and defensive play. They are the positions that move the furthest distance.

They will run along the left or right sideline of the soccer field and play mainly as a wing player. Fullback players have the right to push forward to near the opposing team’s penalty area to make lethal passes or even finishes.

Since fullback players have to move a lot and switch their position between the two field’s ends, they have to possess substantial stamina. In addition, a good fullback must have great skills, passing ability, and tactical knowledge. 

The Positions And Number Of Fullbacks

So, what positions is a fullback in soccer?

Most teams will utilize the 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formations that have two fullbacks playing on the right and left sides of the field. There are also formations that have no fullback at all. 

This means that the defensive players will spend most of the time at the backline to prevent the opposing team’s counterattacks. As they don’t join the attack, these players are not regarded as a fullback. 

However, the number of fullbacks is not ruled or limited to a certain amount. A team can have 1, 4, or 6 fullbacks if the coach wants. However, they will be counter-effective and rarely appear in soccer. 

A player can also start his role as a fullback at the beginning by participating in the team’s attack. However, the coach may change the plan and command him to stay only on the backline for better defense. 

At this moment, the player is no longer considered a fullback. It depends on the players’ role on the field that decides their tactical role, not necessarily their position. 

Why Is Fullback Important?

But what does a right fullback do in soccer? You may have guessed it right through the definition of this role. In the past, the team’s defenders mainly stayed at the backline and never pushed forward the upper half of the field. 

These players are known as the pure defenders, whose main role is to defend and counter opposing attacks. However, modern football prefers pressing tactics that require a higher number of offensive players. 

With two extra offenders (fullbacks) from the backline, your team will gain much higher attacking pressure and efficiency. This tactic is very favored by strong soccer teams that want to press less competent opponents. 

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Fullback Is A Crucial Role In Soccer Tactics

The Roles And Responsibilities Of Fullbacks

So, what does a right fullback do in soccer, for instance?

As a right fullback, you will play as a defender who deals with the opposing team’s left-wing offensive player. You need to tackle, hinder his movement and pass, and do everything a defender has to perform to protect the goal. 

When your team gains back possession of the ball and organizes an offensive attack, you will join the other offenders and push toward the upper field. However, you will mainly run along the right wing, not cut into the center.

It’s the case of counterattacks. But when the team is pressing, you will stay on the left side of the opposing team’s penalty area. Now you have two main options. One is to cut inside the center and perform lethal finishes. 

The other more common option is to pass the ball to the offender inside the center so he can make a headed goal or shoot. 

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You Can Either Pass Or Cut Inside To Strike.

How To Play As A Fullback

Learning how to play as a fullback can develop your tactical knowledge, skills, and even stamina. To be a good fullback, you must have substantial stamina and quick adaptation to different states of the game. 

Suppose you have very good speed and can run along the sideline from one end to another effortlessly. In that case, you have the potential to become a great fullback. The key to success is spotting when to move forward and backward. 

You have to anticipate when the opposing team is going to counterattack and when your team is pushing forward to act accordingly. Another state is pressing, which requires your position on the upper field. 

If you cannot react fast enough, there won’t be enough defensive or offensive players to ensure the team’s success. For example, if you don’t move back fast enough, the backline will be exposed to tremendous threats. 

By rotating effectively in these three states and contributing your best to both offensive and defensive play, you are considered a great fullback player. 

If you want a more in-depth demonstration of fullback playing, follow this video to learn more!


What is a fullback in soccer

A Fullback Must Have Great Skills And Speed.


How Many Fullbacks Are There On A Soccer Team?

Though fullbacks typically play as wing players, a team can have more than two fullbacks. It depends on the team’s tactical formation decided by the coach. For example, the prevalent 4-3-3 tactical formation has 2 fullbacks. 

Meanwhile, the 3-5-2 formation involves no fullbacks on the teams. A defensive player that doesn’t join the team’s offensive play is not regarded as a fullback.

Is It Easy To Play As A Fullback?

Fullback is one of the most important and demanding roles in football. You have to run much further than the other positions at a very high speed, which is very stamina-consuming. 

You must possess great speed, passing skills, and even finishing ability. In addition, core defensive plays like interrupting passes, tackling, and defending must also be cultivated. 

What Are The Defensive Roles Of A Soccer Fullback Player?

The main role of fullback players in the defensive state is to hinder the pass and movement of the opposing wingers when they have the ball. You also have to put pressure so they cannot get in an advantageous position to receive the ball. 

Sometimes defensive fullbacks can get in the penalty area to shelter the goal from finishes, depending on different game situations. 

What Are The Offensive Roles Of A Soccer Fullback Player?

Similarly, you have to put pressure on the opposing defenders and try to take the ball right on their backfield. When you have the ball, some options are passing to the strikers or making a lethal finish from the sideline. 

Offensive fullbacks can also participate in counterattacks, but it’s not uncommon. 

What Is The Hardest Position In Soccer?

Every position has a crucial role and contributes equally to the gameplay, requiring the players to master the skills and knowledge demanded by that position. 

However, the most demanding and difficult positions in soccer are central midfielder, fullback, and defensive midfielder. 

Final Thoughts

So that is everything I can give you on the fullback in soccer. Fullback is one of the most difficult and demanding roles in soccer, which demands great stamina, skills, and tactical knowledge. 

To sum up, a fullback primarily plays as a defensive winger that operates mainly near the sideline. He will run up and down the field to participate in counterattacks, pressings, and defensive plays. 

I hope that the information provided can satisfy you. If you are interested in soccer and other sports, consider visiting Scott Fujita to learn more.

Thank you for reading!

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