Everyone dreams of being the star player on his team. Whether it’s reaching the penalty box just in time to put an aerial cross behind the keeper with an acrobatic kick.
Or, eyeing down a sweet corner kick rebound to score a 40 yards screamer with a volley. Even reaching the opponent’s box on a counter to score a powerful header.
We all have our favorites!
But it takes a little more than such one-time marvels to be the star player on your team. To carry a soccer team, you need to be consistent with what you do.
Be it scoring goals, making assists, launching key passes, or defending like a wall. Consistency will eventually bring you into the spotlight!
- Can One Player Carry a Soccer Team?
- How to Carry a Soccer Team?
- Carry a Soccer Team as a Striker
- Carry a Soccer Team as a Midfielder
- Carry a Soccer Team as a Defender
Can One Player Carry a Soccer Team?
It’s not crazy to wonder at times whether one player can carry a soccer team or not.
One-player teams in soccer are usually an indication of a weak side and unhappy fans. And very rarely do such teams perform well and can achieve something solid.
But when such a tale becomes a reality, the team player reaches legendary stardom among fans. And such one-man armies have thrashed their opponents and left the spectators in awe time and again!
A most recent example of such a team is Portugal in the 2016 Euros. Though they had other world-class players, no team would’ve feared Portugal if it wasn’t for the Cristiano factor.
And to rewind the clocks even further, Diego Maradona stunned the world as he single-handedly revived Napoli from ashes in the 80s and made them a formidable force to reckon with in the Italian league.
So, yes, one player can carry a soccer team and make all the difference needed to win matches and tournaments.
But it’s very rare to see a player with such a skill who can make up for the ten other players on his team all alone.
How to Carry a Soccer Team?
Now, coming back to carrying a soccer team. I know being consistent with what you do is too vague a policy to lead a soccer team with.
So, I’ve decided to build a few more details around the guideline I gave earlier in the article. Let’s now break down the roles we play soccer in so that you can skip to the heading that suits you the most.
Whether you’re a striker, midfielder, defender, or goalkeeper, if you have an unmotivated team at hand, you can take the lead and carry your team in the following ways!
Carry a Soccer Team as a Striker
A striker is the main infantryman of a soccer team!
As a striker, you naturally stay deep in the opponents’ formation. You notice the defensive lapses and are in the best place to benefit from them.
And as a forerunner, you have the sweetest spot on the pitch for scoring goals and making assists. The entire team looks out for a running striker and tries to put the ball at his feet for scoring a goal.
Now, as a leader, the best thing to do is to capitalize on these opportunities. Instead of falling back with every fading play, you can stay ahead and lead your team.
Scoring goals is the only way to win matches in soccer. As if you didn’t know that already!
But since we’re talking about carrying a soccer team as a striker, scoring goals is where you begin. You’re the closest player to the goal, and some leadership here can translate into many conversions.
However, this requires a high skill of soccer playing. A striker’s defining characteristic is scoring from various angles with either foot or head. And this is something you need to perfect!
Also, the positioning of a striker is crucial. Being at the right place at the right time is everything you want as a striker carrying the team.
Though scoring a goal is every soccer player’s top priority, you may not always be in the best position to do so.
Knowing when to let go of the selfish desire to try your luck against the keeper, and passing the ball to a teammate in a better position to score a goal, is essential for carrying a team.
As a leader and a better player, you want your team to win matches. And from the scorecard’s perspective, every assist you make is a goal counted for your team.
You build the team’s chemistry by assisting your teammates and inspiring them to do the same.
And since you’re not too far away from the goal as a striker, your assists are close-ranged and have a higher chance of finding the back of the net.
Pressing and Pressure Tactics
Strikers often lose their focus on the match when not having possession. Scoring goals and making assists is the top priority, but what to do when you don’t have the ball?
Carrying your team as a striker also means creating space for the rest of the team to play in. You can stretch out the defense by launching fake runs or taking a defender out of his position.
These pressing and pressure tactics force a weakness in the opponent’s defense. And if you’re quick enough to run around a defender that’s out of position, you can benefit from these gaps.
Applying pressure on the opponent’s defense and midfield is the best way to carry a team instead of standing idle or falling back as a striker.
Carry a Soccer Team as a Midfielder
The midfield is the backbone of a soccer team. This is where the game’s pace is controlled and where most of the attacks begin.
When you’re carrying a soccer team as a midfielder, your performance needs to be different from that of a striker. Yes, scoring goals and making assists are important, but that’s not always an easy pick for a midfielder.
A midfielder controls the possession for the team, widens the game, and plays the players in the best positions to score a goal. And that’s exactly what you, too, should look for when carrying a soccer team!
Long before an assist converts into a goal, the ball is won somewhere in the midfield.
Controlling the possession is making interceptions and playing smartly with the ball. It is preventing the opposing players from getting a touch on it and finding your players at the other end of the pass.
You should always be the most composed and patient player as a midfielder carrying the team. Dribbling past a nearby player and finding an open player for a pass is what you should do the most.
Launching an aggressive run through the midfield usually ends with you losing the ball, so it’s best if you stay away from it when you can.
Instead, you can hog the ball to draw in a few players and make space for your teammates to receive a pass. Or, play another midfielder to attract the defenders and open up spaces for an attack.
Beautifully struck and timed key passes are a midfielder’s trademark trait!
Since you have the time to look up with the ball, you have the best judgment for passes as a midfielder.
A lob pass to a wide winger, a through ball to a sprinting striker or a curving cross to a positioned attacker are some of the key passes you can look out for in a game.
You can carry your team quite well by making such key passes during a game. And if you’re making plenty of them, you’re likely to gain a goal for your team.
Playing in such a role always pressurizes the defense and gives your team the confidence for scoring goals. And as a leader carrying your team, that’s exactly what you want!
A soccer game is generally played on the attacking front and the defending one. And your job as a leading midfielder is to connect these two opposites of your team.
Being agile on the field and open for passes from the defenders should be your top priority. Being an easy man to find on the field opens the game up for your teammates too.
And if you’re receiving the ball often, you can carry the game forward and include the strikers in your attack.
This way, you connect your defenders to your strikers and coordinate the game. Also, being available for back passes and playing open players to stretch out the defense is good match coordination too!
Defensive Support and Ball Recovery
The midfield is quite an important role for a soccer player to play in. You need to fall back deep and pick up arms to join the defense quite often.
And not only that, you have to squeeze your way in forward to get a shot at the goal time and again too. That’s a lot of areas to cover!
As a midfielder leading the team, you must fit into this mold of an agile midfielder. However, you can refine your central position by choosing an attacking or defensive role.
As the names suggest, a defensive midfielder contributes more towards the defense and an attacking midfielder joins the attack more often to get classy assists.
So, pick your spot on the midfield before you step into the arena and give it your best, whether it’s an attacking position or a defensive one.
Carry a Soccer Team as a Defender
A defender is often the best person to carry a soccer defense and guide team tactics.
He’s the wall that denies the opposing side their aggressive runs and attacks. And has the best view of the game among all the players.
You can notice the opposing side’s tactics and strategies well enough from such a deep position. And when needed, you can also advise your players to switch positions or change tactics.
But since you’re a defender first and a leader carrying the team later, here’s what you should be doing in a live soccer game!
Though this goes for all players alike, avoiding bookings is most important for a defender.
Since a defender is the one most likely to throw a tackle or push other players off the ball, he’s more likely to be called out for foul play. And that’s where you need to be the most careful.
Because you cannot carry your team by making it a player short and viewing from the bench!
With that said, you can’t avoid such daring acts to prevent a goal-scoring opportunity for the other side, either. So, where’s the equilibrium here then?
The best game plan here is to learn to throw a clean tackle and a legal push. You’re allowed certain challenges in soccer. So, look them up and practice them to contribute your best while avoiding cards.
Use Defensive Skills Effectively
Stopping an attack and recovering the ball are your top two priorities as a defender. And when leading your team, doing so skillfully becomes even more important.
Soccer has some serious rules and reservations about contact between players. No wonder the trend of fake diving soars in soccer more than in other sports!
However, there are also legal ways to shoulder barge or tackle other players. And a legal challenge lets you recover the ball while avoiding a booking for sure.
On the other side of the spectrum, managing the defensive tactics is also your responsibility as the team’s leader.
Speaking of defensive coordination, let’s switch to the next heading!
Coordinate the Defense
Coordinating the defense is your biggest obstacle as a defender carrying your team!
It is very easy for skilled strikers to lure defenders out of their position and open up gaps. And if you’re not paying attention, you might as well concede goals from making such mistakes.
The task here is to be vocal in the defending line. Call out your teammates for staying in position. But when a defender must cover a striker, filling in his spot is what you should do.
Having a solid defending line is crucial for carrying a soccer team. And coordinating with your fellow defenders to cover up for each other’s lapses is what builds a wall-like defense.
Look for Offensive Openings
Keeping up the defending line and steering clear of bookings is a top-preferred performance for a defender. But if you want to carry your team even further, you can make offensive openings.
And the best place to start offensive plays is from the sides by pairing up with a winger.
When your team is pressing hard, you can cover up some distance and take the winger’s role. While doing this, you allow the winger to run deeper ahead and make more space.
Other than that, you can also try launching long balls to strikers breaking free of their marker.
Starting an offensive movement right from the defense makes you carry a team in two ways. Firstly, you’re keeping up the defending line, and secondly, you’re making way for more goals scored.
Carrying a soccer team comes from playing your best at the position you’re playing in.
Only when you carry out your role in the team well can you expand your game and make an impact on the pitch to win matches.
However, here’s a quick rundown of the above points in some brief words.
As a striker, your main contribution to the team is scoring goals and making assists. You need to get the scorecard to sing in your favor!
Whereas when you’re a midfielder, your focus should remain on maintaining the game’s pace and controlling the possession at the center.
And as a defender, keeping your side from conceding goals is your biggest contribution to the team!
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!