Soccer Winger:
The Wide Position

The winger or wide midfielder is one of the more offensive players. This player will run up and assist in the goal scoring by sending crosses from the side, helping drive the ball, and sometimes shooting from a side angle.

However, the he is supposed to assist in the defense as well.

He needs to be able to drop back to a defensive position quickly once the team loses the offense.

Position of Play

There are usually two wingers on a soccer team.

The winger runs the side of the field along with the fullback (shown as the marked area below). Usually the he will play more forward with the fullback a short way behind.

In this way, the winger plays more offensively and the fullback plays more defensively.

In an offensive set up, the wingers play in a line with the strikers.

Most of the offensive work that is needed from the side is done by them. They perform tasks such as driving the ball up the wing and sending crosses from the edge of the field to the goalie box for easy shots or headers by the strikers.

They also do a lot of working together with the fullbacks who will be coming up behind to assist in the offense.

Many times the a fullback will cross to the front of a winger for a pass to beat an opposing defender. When this play is used, the two players will swap positions until the game allows them to return to the original set up.

On the defense, the wingers drop back to form a line with the center midfielders and defend against the wide attacks.

Usually, they will be defending against the opposing fullbacks while their own fullbacks fend off the opposing wingers.

Last Note

Originally a winger and a wide midfielder were actually two different positions.

The winger would just do the offensive part. The wide midfielder would play a short way behind on the offense and would drop back on the defense. The fullback stayed only on defense with the stopper.

Teams that were set up like this usually only used one striker and one center midfielder.

Now, this set up is not all that common (though there are some teams that still use it) and most people will refer to the wide midfielder as the winger.