4-3-3 TEAM (Easiest)
DEFENDERS consist of four players. The defensive positions consist of a left and right fullback, a sweeper and a stopper. The left and right fullbacks play in front of the goalie and behind the midfielders on their respective sides of the field. The sweeper plays in the middle of the field and is the very last defender. The only player behind him is the goalie, so this player needs to be very reliable. The stopper also plays in the middle of the field and is the first line of defense. He / she is positioned approximately 10 yds. in front of the sweeper. Set up correctly these four
players should form a diamond shape.
Left and Right Fullback- These two positions are probably the most varied positions in the game when it comes to skill level. At young ages (5-12) these players should focus mainly on defending their side of the field, and clearing the ball when necessary. They are responsible for sending balls long into space (up the field to open areas of the field) for the forwards to run onto as well as looking to play the ball into the feet of open midfielders. Speed is not all that essential for outside fullbacks at a young age. Now as the level of play increases (ages 13 through college) the outside fullbacks become much more then just defensive players. These outside fullbacks become essential members of the offense making runs up the sideline, at appropriate times, and looking for crossed balls for scoring opportunities. They can also carry the ball down the sideline and look to get crosses in themselves. In this case it is very important to have speedy outside fullbacks. They must be able to get up and down the field very quickly in case of a counter attack (much like their counterparts playing midfield). It is very important that outside fullbacks do not get “caught” on the attacking side of the field. They must be able to determine whether or not they will likely touch the ball or create an opportunity to take a shot. Furthermore they must not make unproductive trips into the attacking zone as they run the risk of getting tired and not have the ability to get back and take care of their defensive duties.
Sweeper Responsibilities - The sweeper position is one of the most important positions on the field and should be manned accordingly. A sweeper needs to be smart, fast, skilled and very comfortable with his / her ability. Because they are the last line of defense they very rarely make offensive type runs. Their job is to control the back. They are the leader of the three defenders and it is their job to back the other two up at all times. He/she must be able to see the play of the opposing offense before it develops and thus anticipate where the ball is going. The sweeper must be extremely vocal with his/her defense letting them know what he/she sees, if they are out of position, and if they must pull up for an offside trap. If the opposing team is coming down the right side of the field the sweeper needs to be ready and able to back up his right fullback if he / she gets beat. The sweeper needs to do it all. He / she must be able to clear the ball, send the ball to open space for the forwards (generally aiming for the corner flags), clear balls out, control the other defenders, stop breakaways from happening as well as work with the goalie in setting up defensive situations such as corner kicks, free kicks etc. The sweeper is an extremely important player.
Stopper Responsibilities- The stopper is generally a bigger player. Speed is not a must here but one thing that is a must the ability to play consistently. This player must do things the same way constantly and not be sporadic. The stopper has one responsibility stop attacks from happening. He / She is to tackle the ball away from the opposing player and move the ball to either the open space of his / her midfielders. The stopper is not a playmaker or a showboat. He / she is the simplest player on the field and the first line of defense. Win possession of the ball and get it to another player on your team. Although limited in his / her tasks, the stopper is still an extremely important player.