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Soccer is the most popular sport on the planet and fans from all around the world watch the sport with great excitement and joy but if you are a beginner at the sport you might not even know how many players are on a soccer team at one time.
There are eleven players per soccer team allowed to be on the field at one time, so that is a total of twenty-two players. There can be adjustments made mid-game due to substitutions but the number will not increase or decrease. The number can decrease due to sending offs or injuries when all substitutions have been used.
You might be a beginner to the beautiful game and want to know how the game of soccer is played then you need to start with the basics.
The best place to start is with how many people it actually takes to play a game of soccer and what might be some of the rules.
How many players are on a soccer team?
On the pitch, there will only ever be 11 players for each team but in the squad, there can be 25 registered players in the top flight’s football, in other leagues there can be an unlimited number of players as long as they are fully registered. This allows for transfers between teams.
Teams will then choose from their squads and create what is called a matchday squad of players that they can choose from on the day of their game.
How many players are on a soccer team including substitutes?
So you have 11 players on the pitch at one time for your team but that does not include your substitutes. There have been many changes to the rules for substitutions over the past 200 years of the beautiful game and they are ever-increasing.
When the game was invented there was no such thing as a substitution and it was not until 1965 that a substitute was allowed to replace an injured player and not replace another player for a tactical decision.
By 1987 this was increased to two substitutes and by 1994 it was three but one of them had to be a goalkeeper. But the following season it was any player not specifically the goalkeeper.
Since then matchday squads have kept on increasing and teams can name a much bigger squad to make substitutions from. Now squads can name 3-12 substitutions on their benches and can choose to bring them on when they see fit.
However, there is a restriction, depending on the game, on how many substitutions you can make but usually, it is 3 substitutions allowed.
Due to the effects of COVID-19, we have seen the number increase in some competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
How many players are on a soccer field?
In a game of soccer, you will need 11 players. A team can only have that many players on the pitch at once and they cannot have any more than eleven otherwise they will face certain sanctions from the governing bodies.
However, teams may have fewer players than that if they are struggling to field a team but a match cannot start unless there are fewer than seven players available.
Players’ numbers can also be reduced during the game through sending offs and injuries (if all substitutions have been used) but again they cannot continue if they have fewer than seven players available.
There are also adaptations to the rule of eleven players with certain games allowing a different format which can include 5 a side game, 7 a side game, and even in some cases 3 aside.
However, all of these formats are adapted from the 11 a side game which is predominantly played.
Overall there are 22 players on the pitch at one time. Both sides with 11 players on each side.
There is also a referee and two assistant referees in all forms of 11 aside games but in the professional leagues, there may be up to three more additional assistant referees.
How many positions are in soccer?
There are many different specific positions in a game of soccer depending on what formation and tactic the manager has decided a player should play.
Players are often grouped for the area of the pitch they play in. These players come under the categories of goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and attackers.
As said these areas can be divulged into even more with players playing a certain role in the area they play and they can even go further into that role by having a name associated with their style of play.
It is vitally important that the players know what position they are playing.
In a standard 4-4-2 formation, there will be 8 different positions for players to play in, with some of the players doubling up in the same role to fill the 11 available spaces.
What are the eleven positions in soccer?
There are not specifically eleven positions like we touched on in the previous section because of the changes to tactics.
However, if we took the standard 4-4-2 formation that has been used in the sport for many years, these positions include goalkeeper, left-back, center-back (two), right-back, left midfielder, center midfielder (two), right midfielder, and striker (two).
However, if you change the formation new roles and positions are created for example in a 3-5-2 formation the left and right back become wing-backs which allows them the freedom to attack more than the traditional full back.
A change in position can also come when teams play a 4-3-3, as this makes the left and right midfielders play higher up the field and their name changes to wingers.
The same can happen in an adaptation of the 4-4-2 and a manager may create a diamond shape meaning that the two central midfield players change their roles.
One will push more forward and be called a central attacking midfielder (CAM) and the other will drop more defensive to be called a central defensive midfielder (CDM).
All these different roles make the game of soccer more adaptive and tactical.