Soccer outside back

Soccer Outside Back – Position, Roles, Difficulties And Tips

Soccer teams are divided into many roles, each individual performing a unique role. Soccer outside backs are exciting to watch because they do different things in the game. Although outside backs are rarely noticed, they play an important role in both defending and scoring.

Position of a Soccer Outside Back

In soccer, an outside back, also known as a full-back, typically plays a defensive role but with the added responsibility of supporting the attacking tactics of the team. 

Defense’s outside backs are positioned on the left and right flanks of the defense, and their main purpose is to provide defensive cover and prevent opponents from making dangerous gains down the wings.

soccer outside back position.

What are the Roles of Soccer Outside Back?

Outside back plays both offensive and defensive roles in the field, we will discuss the roles of outside back players.

Defensive Roles of an outside back

The primary responsibility of an outside back is defensive solidity. This involves marking opposition players effectively and executing timely tackles and interceptions. A successful outside-back must be adept at one-on-one defending and possess a keen understanding of the game’s variation.


1- The Defensive Wall

A defensive wall refers to a group of players who form a barrier to block or deflect a direct free-kick or penalty kick taken by the opposing team. This defensive strategy is commonly employed close to the goal, and the wall’s primary objective is to obstruct the path of the ball, making it more challenging for the kicker to score.

2- Marking Wingers and Wide Attackers

One of the most critical duties of an outside back is marking opposing wingers and wide attackers. Their task is to shadow these players, prevent them from making dangerous runs, and block their attempts to deliver crosses into the penalty area.

3- Intercepting Passes and Preventing Crosses

In addition to marking, outside backs must excel at reading the game. Intercepting passes intended for the wings and cutting off the supply to the opposition’s forwards are vital defensive skills.

4- Supporting the Team’s Defensive Shape

Outside backs play a crucial role in maintaining their team’s defensive shape. They provide cover for the central defenders and ensure there are no gaps for opponents to exploit.

See Also: Striker Soccer

Offensive Roles of an outside back

Contrary to the traditional view of defenders, outside backs are expected to contribute to offensive plays. This includes making overlapping runs down the flanks and providing crucial assists. The ability to seamlessly transition between defensive and offensive roles is a hallmark of a top-tier outside back.

Sergio Ramos

1- Attacking the Flanks

Attacking the flanks” in soccer refers to a strategic approach where a team focuses on utilizing the wide areas of the field, specifically the left and right sides (flanks), to create goal-scoring opportunities.

2- Overlapping Runs and Providing Width

To provide width to the team’s attack, outside backs often make overlapping runs down the flanks. This stretches the opposition’s defense, creating space for other attackers.

3- Delivering Precise Crosses

Accurate crosses into the penalty area are a trademark skill of outside backs. They create goal-scoring opportunities by delivering well-placed crosses for their teammates.

4- Joining the Attack

Outside backs must be ready to join the attack when the opportunity arises. They can exploit space on the wing, dribble forward, and even take shots on goal.

See Also: Sweeper Keeper

difficulties for an outside back

The life of an outside back isn’t without its challenges, which require both physical and mental adaptability.

Marcelo a brazilian defender

Balancing Defensive and Offensive Roles

A crucial challenge for outside backs is balancing their defensive duties and contributing to the attack.

Facing Fast and Skillful Opponents

They often face speedy and skillful wingers and wide attackers, requiring quick reactions and solid defensive skills.

Stamina and Fitness Demands

Outside backs cover a significant amount of ground during a match, making excellent stamina and fitness levels essential.

Decision-Making Under Pressure

The position demands the ability to make quick, accurate decisions under pressure, especially when transitioning from defense to offense.

See Also: Soccer Clean Sheet

Tips for Soccer Outside Back players

Players must invest in specific aspects of their game to excel as an outside back.

Roberto Carlos

Improving Crossing and Passing

Accuracy and technique in crossing and passing are critical skills for outside backs. Practicing these skills regularly is essential.

Defensive Drills and Positioning Exercises

Drills and exercises focused on defensive skills and positioning help outside backs become more effective in marking and intercepting passes. These drills will also help you to improve your soccer skills.

Enhancing Speed and Endurance

Speed and endurance are prerequisites for this position. Incorporate speed and endurance training into your regimen.

Mental Preparation and Situational Awareness

Understanding the game’s dynamics, reading your opponents, and anticipating their moves are vital for outside backs.

See Also: Average Soccer Player Height

Names of Some Soccer Outside Back players

Some outside back players in the history of soccer with their country and club.

Dani AlvesBrazilSão Paulo FC
Philipp LahmGermanyRetired
Roberto CarlosBrazilRetired
Paolo MaldiniItalyRetired
Lilian ThuramFranceRetired
Sergio RamosSpainParis Saint-Germain
Jordi AlbaSpainFC Barcelona
MarceloBrazilReal Madrid
Andrew RobertsonScotlandLiverpool
Benjamin PavardFranceBayern Munich
Achraf HakimiMoroccoParis Saint-Germain
Nelson SemedoPortugalWolverhampton Wanderers
Kieran TrippierEnglandNewcastle United
Joao CanceloPortugalManchester City
Virgil van DijkNetherlandsLiverpool
Trent Alexander-ArnoldEnglandLiverpool
Joshua KimmichGermanyBayern Munich
Hector BellerinSpainReal Betis
Aleix VidalSpainEspanyol


What are outside backs?

Outside backs in soccer are defensive players positioned on the flanks of the field, responsible for both defending against opponents and contributing to attacks from the wings. They play on the right and left sides of the defensive line.

How can I get better at outside back in soccer?

To improve as an outside back in soccer, focus on developing speed, stamina, and defensive skills. Work on accurate crosses and overlaps and study positioning to contribute effectively in both defense and attack.

How do outside backs contribute to goal-scoring opportunities?

Outside backs contribute to goal-scoring opportunities by providing accurate crosses and creating space with overlapping runs.

How do outside backs cooperate with wingers and midfielders?

They cooperate by providing width to the attack and maintaining communication with wingers and central midfielders to ensure a cohesive team effort.


Soccer outside Back plays an important role in the game. They have defending and offending power. They also help the midfielders stabilize the game, and sometimes, they also help the striker score the goal. You can understand the position and can elevate your game as a soccer outside-back by this article.

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