In soccer there are four basic positions: Goal Keeper, Defender, Midfielder and Attacker.
Of these four positions there are two speciality positions. The Stopper which is a speciality player that can be placed on defense or the midfield. The Sweeper is a special defensive player.
A Stopper connects the defense and the midfield by protecting the defensive 1/3 of the field before situations get too dangerous when the opposing team is attacking. However, when the ball starts moving up field, the Stopper then supports the midfielders on the offensive half of the field often through passing and ball movement. If you choose to play this Stopper more as a midfielder (like in a 3 – 5- 2 formation), it allows for more flexibilty on offense. Overall the Stopper position is designed to stregthen your midfield.
The Sweeper position, like it’s name, sweeps up anything on the defensive half of the field. Think of this player as the last line of defense that protects the goalie and goal. This player should have a strong understanding of funneling the ball and then clearing it quickly.
Each team fields 11 players. Each team will have one goalie and the remaining 10 players’ positions are determined by the formation a team chooses to utilize.
Team size is also dependent your child’s age. Can you imagine 22 six year olds playing at once?! The number of players and the decision to play with a goalie will be determined by your league. Some examples:
U6 teams might field 3 players and there will be no goalie.
U8 teams might field 5 players and no goalie.
U10 teams might field 6 players and one would be a goalie.
U12 teams might field 8 players and one would be a goalie.
U14 teams will play with the full 11 players.