Soccer Center Forward Position: Is the Center Forward & Striker Same?

Andrew Kovacs

Soccer Center Forward Position

In the world of sports, Soccer follows some simple rules. Anyone can understand what’s happening in the play with little effort. 

The game has a simple lineup with three forwards, four midfielders, three defenders, and one goalkeeper. Players at each position serve specific roles to score more goals than the opponents. 

Each role is responsible for covering a specific area of the soccer field. How far the forwards will go depends on how tough the match is. 

In soccer, there are three forward positions and the center forward is one of them. Today, we will cover specifically the role of the Soccer Center Forward Position. 

Why Center Forward? Let’s find it out today! 

About Soccer Center Forward Position

The Center forward, by many people, is also referred to as the striker. This is because, unlike the other two forwards, the center forward leads at the top of the forward position along with the striker. 

The position of the center forward is at the forefront of the attacking line. However, this can change due to the course of the game, but never otherwise than the top of the formation. 

He opts to score goals for his team. Along with that, he also creates more scoring opportunities for his teammates and draws the defender’s attention. 

An important thing to note, the tactics of the center forward are affected by the formation they are in. 

In soccer, there are usually three leading formations, the 4-4-2 formation, the 3-5-2 formation, and the 4-3-3 formation. Other variations are 4-4-1-1 and 4-2-3-1 formations. 

Suppose, you are playing in the 4-4-1-1 formation. A center forward in this formation will basically support the striker and help him out. 

In other formations, you may have multiple forwards at the same level. With such formations, the center is more likely to attempt goals. 

Role & Responsibilities of The Center Forward  

Role & Responsibilities of The Center Forward  

It is up to the center forward to break forward and look for more scoring opportunities. But along with that, he plays some other roles too! Keep reading to find out! 

Score Goals

The primary job of the center forward is to put the ball into his opponent’s net. They are often like the “goal-getters”. A center forward can use his feet, head, or any part of the body to kick or hit the ball into the goal and make more points. 

Contain the Ball

Sometimes, the center forward gets a long pass from a teammate. In this circumstance, other players assign the center forward to contain the ball. He then uses his body to control the ball and keeps it near him. This allows the teammates to move forward and be ready to attack.

Create More Scoring Opportunities 

The center forward is a master at creating better scopes to score. It is also not uncommon for the center forward to move around and confuse the opponents, allowing more space for his teammates.
Upon receiving the ball, he can pass it to someone more credible to score or score the ball himself. 

Work At Defense

Soccer isn’t just about scoring; it’s also about preventing the other team from scoring. The center forward helps with this too!
In case the opponent team owns the ball, the center forward charges and then hassles the other party. It often stops them from getting into a comfortable position to score or pass the ball. 

Connects the Dots 

A great center forward helps “connect the dots” between the defense and the attack.
He receives passes from his teammates in midfield or defense and then either makes a pass to someone else or moves toward the goal to try and score.

In short, the center forward is the star player on the field. Players with the assigned role of center forwards are good shooters and also brilliant at passing. 

Is A Center Forward The Same As A Striker? 

Center Forward The Same As A Striker

Not really. In soccer, the terms center forward and striker are often used interchangeably to refer to the same position on the field.

The striker is the prime scorer of the match, while the center forwards create more scoring opportunities for him. 

Additionally, a striker stands near the opponent’s penalty box. On the contrary, a center forward doesn’t hold any specific position. Rather, moves along with the formation. 

The center forward genuinely focused on passing the ball between the defenders, while the striker does his job. 

Popular Center Forwards in Soccer History

Over the history of soccer, there have been many legendary center forwards with lasting effects on the sport. Here are some notable ones, 

Pele: One of the greatest soccer players of all time, Pele was a Brazilian center forward. He won three FIFA World Cups (1958, 1962, and 1970) with Brazil and scored over a thousand career goals. 

Diego Maradona: Even though he was better known for midfield brilliance, Maradona also performed as a center forward sometimes. His legendary “Hand of God” and “Goal of the Century” both came in the 1986 World Cup while he was captaining Argentina. 

Ronaldo: Both Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima (often referred to as “R9”) and Cristiano Ronaldo have been exceptional center forwards.

Ronaldo “R9” from Brazil was known for his speed, skill, and clinical finishing. He won two World Cup titles (1994, and 2002) and scored goals prolifically at the club level.

Lionel Messi: While primarily known as an attacking midfielder or winger, Messi has often played as a false nine, which is a variant of the center-forward position. His remarkable dribbling & goal-making skills have redefined the role of the modern forward.

There have been many exceptional center forwards in Soccer. We mentioned only five of them. No wonder, how splendid Gerd Muller or Karim Benzema were as center forwards for their own team. 

Last Words 

Here, we are at the end of our article. Today, we learned about the Soccer Center Forward Position. But follow up with us and we will discuss other positions elaborately too. 

Soccer is a sport of fun and thrill. The rules and positions are simple. But if you don’t understand them, you may ruin the fun of the game. 

We are here to provide you with the support and resources you need. Stay tuned to us. Also, don’t forget to share our article with your friends and other soccer lovers and tell them about us! 

Leave a comment below and let us know what you think of the Soccer Center Forward Position. 

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Andrew Kovacs

I am a Head Boys Soccer Coach at Amherst Regional Public Schools in Massachusetts. I have coached for the past five years and I am currently working on my master's degree in Exercise Science. I coach soccer because I love the game and I enjoy being around the kids. It is rewarding to see them develop their skills and grow as individuals. LinkedIn