When playing soccer, there are many different positions that you can be assigned to. Whether you already play soccer and want to change positions or want to start playing soccer as a winger, you may be asking; how can you be a winger in soccer?
To be a winger in soccer, players must stay along the sides of the field unless moving the ball to another player or towards the goal. Wingers must have great endurance, be extremely fast, and be able to watch and communicate with teammates while running along the field.
More information about what you need to do to be a great winger in soccer is included below.
How to Be a Winger in Soccer
Know Where to Be
Wingers tend to stay along the sidelines of the field so they can protect the wings of said field, hence the name “wingers”, but that doesn’t mean that they never go to the center of the field. When you are protecting the sidelines, stay in a wide position unless you see an opportunity to score. You need to be able to analyze where you need to be and when as a winger.
However, you also need to be aware of where you are and where you are kicking the ball at all times. Wingers are not allowed to cross the touchline or kick the ball across the sidelines. (Source)
Communicate with Teammates
Communication is key when playing soccer, especially for wingers. You need to be able to communicate with your teammates and coach while running, watching the ball, and analyzing potential shots you can make once you get the ball. If you don’t communicate with your teammates, you may miss that they are going to pass the ball to you and lose a great shot.
As you are running, watch your teammates. If you know them well or have played with them for a long time, you will likely be able to anticipate their next move based on their body language and positioning.
You can also communicate with your teammates through hand signals and various calls. You likely won’t be able to hear your teammates very well unless they yell, which isn’t a good idea because your opponents will also be able to hear them yell and anticipate their next moves.
When playing soccer in a winger position, stick with your teammates. Run with them as they run along the field, and stay behind them when they go to the middle. You may not be right behind them, but your position is extremely helpful and will help defend your team’s players.
Watch your opponents as you are running and watching your teammates. Look for openings for you or your teammates to get the ball, and take the opening when possible. If you aren’t close enough to take the ball from an opponent, communicate with your teammates that there is an opening and where it is. Be quick about it, as the opportunity to get the ball from an opponent will not last long.
Be Fast and Agile
Wingers need to be extremely fast and agile, so increase your running speed and overall agility if you want to become a winger. (Source)
As a winger, you will need to get to the ball before other players, even though you are on the sideline. You will also need to prevent the ball from going out of bounds when people kick it too far to the side. You need to be prepared for anything to come your way, which means you need to be fast and agile. If you aren’t fast enough, you won’t be an effective winger and you may be moved to another position.
Have Great Endurance
Wingers run for almost the entire game, so as a winger, you need to have a great amount of endurance and be extremely fit physically. Outside of practice, run long distances and don’t stop unless you absolutely have to. When running these long distances, try running uphill and downhill. Although soccer fields are flat, running up and down hills will help increase your endurance and make you physically fit. (Source)
If you are looking to improve your soccer fitness, check out Our Guide to Getting in Peak Soccer Shape.
Be Unpredictable to Opponents
As a winger, you will need to be unpredictable to your opponents but predictable to your teammates. If you are unpredictable to your opponents, they won’t be able to defend against you, which increases the odds that your maneuvers will be successful and that your team will win the game.
Oftentimes, wingers keep the ball to the sidelines, then kick it to one of their teammates. If you go closer to the center of the field to make a goal or kick the ball to a teammate, your opponents will be confused and won’t be able to take the ball from you as quickly as normal. (Source)
There are many things that you need to be and do to be a great winger when you play soccer. If you currently don’t have refined winger skills, practice will improve them over time, so join a local soccer team, even if you aren’t currently a great winger.
Is a Winger a Midfielder or a Forward?
Typically, wingers are forwards. However, midfielders can and regularly do play out wide and provide offensive support from the wing. These midfielders who play wide are typically called Right or Left Midfielders depending on the side of the field they are deployed on.
What is the Difference Between a Winger and a Wide Midfielder?
A winger is more of an offensive attacker, playing primarily in the offensive third of the field. Conversely, Wide midfielders play more in the middle third of the field and play more of a balanced role between defense and offense than wingers.
Is it Easy to Be a Winger in Soccer?
It is incredibly hard to be a winger in soccer. It is considered one of the hardest positions to play in soccer, but many wingers enjoy the position that they play. Wingers have to be aware of everyone and everything at once so they can defend the sidelines properly.
They also need to be able to anticipate their teammates’ next movements and be aware of opportunities that they have to make a goal. Wingers can make goals, and they often do.
Wingers are not often caught in the middle of the game or involved with game skirmishes, but most prefer it that way and choose to be a winger because of that fact.
To become a winger, develop the skills that were mentioned above. When soccer tryouts are held, try out for a local team that you want to join. You can decide to try out for multiple positions or just try out to be a winger, it is up to you.
Do Wingers Need to Be Strong?
While strength is always a great attribute to have, being strong is not a core requirement for being a good winger. Many of the best wingers in the world are smaller players known more for their pace, endurance, and technical skill level than their strength.
Being a winger is all about technical attacking, pace, and endurance. Being strong is more of a nice to have attribute than a requirement for being a good winger.