Soccer Stopper:
The Center of Defense

The soccer stopper (central defender) is the backbone of the defense on a team. For this reason, the player should be quick, have good passes, and be one of the better tacklers on the team.

Position of Play

Usually there are two stoppers on a team (full team set up is given on soccer positions page), though some teams will drop one of their stoppers to the position of sweeper.

The soccer stopper's main job is to prevent the opposing offense from scoring.

This means that he/she should generally be sticking with the opposing strikers and will usually not go beyond his own side of the field as shown below.

When the stopper's own team goes on the offense, he/she should remain behind and cover the opposing strikers who will probably be waiting for a pass to drive at the goal.

The stopper is not restricted to covering the strikers, however. He/she will sometimes need to cover another player to prevent a goal from being scored.

It could actually be better to get in your mind, if you are a stopper, that your job is not to cover the striker, but to cover a potential goal (though this usually does mean covering the striker).

Last Note

One thing that really gets to me when I'm playing soccer, is when a stopper who has pretty good passes but cannot dribble steals the ball, and tries to drive it up on his own.

Generally, a stopper is the back line of defense, so when he steals the ball from an opponent, he should pass it to an open player (this pertains to stoppers who can dribble as well).

When you are the last player before the keeper and you steal the ball, if you lose it again, then the player who takes from you is going to have a perfect shot exactly where you were originally trying to prevent one.

So once again, if you steal the ball in front of the goal and do not pass it, then the chance of the opposing team scoring is very high. So, to prevent great heartache and an angry team, just pass the ball.