I recently had a conversation with one of my friends. His 7 year old was interested in playing soccer but was not sure what position he wanted to play. It’s a dilemma every player faces. What position is right for me?
The truth of the matter is, that it does not really matter what position you start out as. Especially at such a young age, because you are still developing and still learning the game. In fact, many professional players start off playing different positions when they are young and end up playing something different when they get older.
Fundamentals Come First
My reply to his question was simply, “It doesn’t really matter at his age, the important thing is that he starts playing and learning the basics.” Someone who starts playing soccer before the age should be focused on the fundamentals of the game. Learning the fundamentals such as ball control, dribbling, passing and shooting will make any player more versatile.
In high school, most of my teammates played more than one position. In most cases we played out of position due to necessity. Players like Tim Howard, an American goalkeeping legend, started out as a forward when he was a kid.
If you are set on helping your kids figure out a position from the beginning then the only way to figure that out is by playing. Grab a soccer ball and start playing with your child. Have them play in goal as a goalie, have them defend against you and even have them try to dribble past you to score. They can then decided to play whichever position they find the most fun.
Another way to choose would be to have your child find a professional player they really like. Often times, players want to emulate their heros. I for instance, wanted to be a left back because I loved watching German all-star Philipp Lahm. I ended up playing left midfield instead because my team had a need at the position.
Ultimately, you want your child to have fun while playing. There is no stronger encouragement than when a kid is having fun at what they do. This applies to adults as well. If your child has an affinity for a certain position then by all means, encourage them to get better at it. There are numerous of videos found online that go into detail about positioning and the role of each position.
If they do not end up deciding before joining a team, then no big deal. I am sure their future soccer coach will help nudge them in the right direction.