Soccer Center Midfielder Guide

The center midfielder is every team’s main passer of the ball.

The center midfielder must by skilled, but can get away with less speed than other positions.

A good center midfielder has good awareness. He knows where he’s located on the field, where his teammates are located, and where the other team’s center midfielders are located.

A great center midfielder can make a huge difference in games. He can help the team retain possession and set up wingers and forwards with great passes.

This article will cover the top traits of a good center midfielder and provide some tips to help you succeed at the position.

5 Traits of a Good Center Midfielder

These are the top 5 traits that good center midfielders possess possess (in order of importance):

1. Passing Ability

The center midfielder must make short passes on the ground, long passes over the heads of the forwards, and passes to the corner flag for wingers to run onto.

Passing ability is vital to a center midfielder’s success. They should have good technique and good vision. In other words, center midfielders should be able to see a good pass quickly and pass the ball accurately.

Read our article, How to Pass a Soccer Ball for more information.

2. Ball Control

The center of the pitch is a crowded, chaotic place. Make a bad touch and the ball will get stolen before you can blink.

Good center midfielders can receive the ball well. They can keep the ball close to their body, away from defenders.

Read our article, How to Receive a Soccer Ball to learn more.

3. Dribbling

Good center midfielders can dribble into open space, turn well, and beat players.

A center midfielder with good dribbling and passing abilities is devastating. Defenders will give you space (since they know you will beat them if they apply intense pressure) giving you more time to look up and pass.

Read our article, How to Dribble a Soccer Ball and How to Do Soccer Moves and Tricks to learn more.

4. Shooting Ability

Good center midfielders can finish.

When you can shoot well you can pass the ball to a teammate, run towards goal, receive a return pass from your teammate, then blast the ball past the keeper.

Center midfielders should focus on shooting from outside the box. They should be able to score from medium and long distances.

Read our articles How to Kick a Soccer Ball and How to Shoot a Soccer Ball for more information.

5. Shielding Ability

Center midfielders are constantly under pressure.

A good center midfielder can shield the ball when dribbling. He can turn, shield, then pass to a defender.

Good center midfielders use there body to protect the ball. Shielding gives them more time to find an open teammate.

Read our article, How to Shield a Soccer Ball to learn this valuable skill.

6 Soccer Center Midfielder Tips

1. Keep Moving

This tip is important for all positions, but it’s especially important for center midfielders. If you don’t move around constantly you will an easy mark. If your team passes the you ball, you will be under pressure immediately.

Run to the ball. You should always be an option. In other words, every position should be able to pass you the ball.

Make a run after you pass the ball. Use the one-two pass.

2. Play quickly under pressure

A good opposing center midfielder will mark you tightly. You may only have the chance to play a quick one touch pass – even after making a good run.

Learn to make quick, good decisions. The better competition you play against, the less time you will have.

You need good awareness to play quickly. When you are off the ball look around constantly to get a general idea of player’s locations.

Get in the habit of looking up quickly after receiving the ball. Ideally, your intention before you receive the pass.

3. Find Space

The middle of a soccer field is crowded.

Find space so you have more time to make decisions and dribble.

Finding space isn’t difficult. Run to open space whenever you can. Put yourself in a good position and you will be more effective.

4. Shoot when near the box

Sometimes you have the ball and the opposing center midfielders are behind you. The defenders are focused on the forwards. You have space to dribble before reaching the defenders.

Many center midfielders waste this scenario. They don’t dribble forward (since they will run into defenders) and don’t have a good passing option.

They hesitate and the opposing center midfielder comes in from behind and steals the ball.

Take a touch and shoot the ball when you are near the box in this scenario.

5. Develop Vision

Vision is how well you see potential passes. For instance, a great center midfielder can quickly determine the best pass to use.

For instance, lets say the other center midfielder and forward are open. A center midfielder with average vision would make the easy pass to feet. A center midfielder with vision would recognize that most of the defense is on the left side and play a through ball to the right winger.

Try to improve your vision every game and practice.

Think about all the options available, lift up your head, and scan the field quickly. You will develop vision overtime.

6. Play the simple pass

Center midfielders often become obsessed with playing “the big pass.”

“The big pass” is a through ball played through the air to a forward running at the goal or a winger who cuts towards goal. This pass leads to a breakaway. It’s brilliant.

But the other team expects this pass, especially if you try to force it over and over. This pass is also difficult to pull off as you need to time it correctly (to avoid an offsides call), put the perfect amount of pace (so the pass doesn’t get kicked away or picked up by the goalie), and your teammates need to make great runs.

Using advanced passes is great, but playing the simple pass is often the better choice.

Passing the ball around the field will make defenders irritated and fatigued. Gaps in the defense will emerge. Then, you can do a brilliant pass.

Have patience. Play the ball to the open man. Do one-twos. Play the ball back to the defense.

7. Switch the field

“Switching the ball” means playing it towards the opposite side of the pitch.

If you can receive a pass from one winger, take a touch, then switch the ball to the other side of the field you will be effective as a center midfielder.

Look for the switch. The defense is often focused on one side of the field (even when you’re playing against good teams).

22 thoughts on “Soccer Center Midfielder Guide”

  1. Hey, I am 12, each time i play midfield, i have many opportunities to score, but i don’t because i either don’t think positive, don’t run fast enough or I get discouraged and i don’t usally get fast enough to defense when i do get there, i don’t get fast enough forward what can i do to fix these problems?

  2. Hey, Grace!
    We’re the same age. I think you’ve kind of already answered your question… Stay positive and stay moving.
    This is what I have to say:
    Know where you are physically and mentally, keep track of where you are and of who you are in the game. Don’t get super worried about the actual hesitation of shooting. If you can get it there, focus on THAT. Because if you take the shot with focus and skill, you are at least closer to getting a goal than if you hesitate. My mom always says the answer is always no if you don’t ask, and I think here this is true.
    For the speed, I have a question. Without the pressure of the game, are you fast enough? If you know that you are fast enough, think on that. You are fast enough.
    If not, don’t despair, just work on it until you can do the above.^

    I hope these aren’t old tips. And I hope they serve you well.

  3. Hey, I’m Enock. I play midfield(6) but i have a problem of turning with the ball to switch swings or to a different direction. I mostly lose confidence and feel nervous i might lose the ball to opponents. This is what i mostly lack to get great and better. Please advice.

    • Hi Enock!
      Try using your opposite foot to steady the ball and to help you. Stay strong through the game and keep your mind clear. Make hard passes through the air to your players.
      Hope this helps!

    • Hello Enock don’t lose hope ,believe in your self ,start practicing forward play games.
      Then decide where to put /pass the ball before receiving it .decision making is key in a game.
      Then as a 6 position well according to where the ball is,you will be improving day by day +256702429585

  4. Hi im Greta. I’m 13. I usually play defense but my coach switched me to a mid-fielder last game. Is there any tips on how to get past the defense? And any on getting the ball into the air? I can get into the box but the defense is always too strong for me to get a ground shot through. And I can’t get passed them either. Help?!

    • Hi Greta – Thanks so much for your comment. You have some excellent post ideas. Let us see what we can come up with for you.

  5. Hi I am Savannah i have played for about 9 years . i am 13 and played junior varsity last spring and currently in rec. I am a very versatile player and here are some tips for you all. Defense you should be able to clear the ball to the outsides,if one defender gets beat make sure to drop back behind in case the other defender gets beat ,push up to catch the other team offside, make sure to dribble the ball to the outside. Dribbling the ball to the outside is very important for all positions but especially for defense because your in front of the goal.For midfield cover the open spaces and be able to help both defense and offense.For offence make sure to work on your speed, watch offside, and go wide. Goalie make sure you call for it so your teammates can back off. Use your voice to tell the defense were you want them to be especially for penalty kicks and corner kicks. If you can pick up the ball do it, kick goal kicks and punts to the outside of the field. For all positions be aware of were the ball is at all times, don’t watch the ball go to it, don’t be afraid of the ball, go to the outside, and be aggressive.

    To get pass the defense you need to be quick on your feet, control the ball, go to the outside and out smart them. As for getting the ball in the air do not do not do not use your toe. Use your laces so it will be a controlled strong shot and aim for the corners not to the goalie.

    Hopefully this works give me a shout out if anyone has any more questions

  6. Hey Iam Kris nd i like to play Midfield expecially the Kevin De Bruyne role, where i play as a second striker sometimes nd get in front of goal but i usually have problems with turning effectively in order to lose the opponent on my bck nd the opponents can read my body faints easily too………………pliz help

  7. Hello,Am Saeed and am a centre midfielder.The problem I have in playing is I always want to play long passes and short passes has become difficult for me.What can I do.HELP!

  8. hi brandon here i play midfield 8 i have problems with shooting the ball with power from distance and sometimes when i pass the ball over the defenders it curls away from the target. sometimes i also find it difficult to find a pass and it results in me kicking the ball aimlessly

  9. I’m kelvin.
    Am 14 yrs.. I’m good in midfield but my problem is that I do not have good vision..I have good dribbling,shooting,opening,passing and ball control but my problem is that of vision..
    Please help

  10. Am Ryan am 13 I play as an attacking midfielder I have a problem with passing most times and I can’t track back most of the time,when my opponent regain possession what should I do

  11. Am farid am 16 i play as a diffensive midfielder, am aggressive,determined,hard working, but i find my self passing the ball aimlesly some times

    • farid you just need to calm yourself and look around if you are under pressure you can give the ball to the goalkeeper put if u have some space , just move the ball forward and give a pass to someone Free.

  12. hi my name is chidi I am 14 am having some difficulties of being a mid fielder it’s very hard to lift the ball from the ground into the air it’s very difficult. please advise me.

  13. My name is Jonathan am 17,am a midfielder I get tired easily when playing is there any training advice I can get here in order to get me up.


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