What is a Forward in Soccer?

What is a Forward in Soccer?

Essentially, a forward is a player on the soccer team who is responsible for scoring goals. While there are many different positions on a soccer team, the forward is often considered to be one of the most important.

The forward is typically positioned closest to the opponent’s goal, and their job is to create and convert goal-scoring opportunities for their team.

This soccer position involves a combination of speed, agility, and strategic thinking, as the forward must be able to outmaneuver the opposing team’s defenders and find ways to get the ball into the goal.

Depending on the team’s strategy, there may be one or more forwards on the field at any given time.

Soccer Forward Overview

The main objective of a forward is to score goals and create opportunities for their team to score. A forward can be identified by their position on the field, which is usually in the attacking third of the pitch.

Soccer Positions

The Role of a Forward

The role of a forward is to be the primary goal scorer for their team. They must have excellent ball control, shooting accuracy, and the ability to create scoring opportunities for themselves and their teammates.

Forwards must also be able to read the game and anticipate where the ball will be, as well as be able to make quick decisions with the soccer ball.

Types of Forwards

There are different types of forwards in soccer, each with its own specific strengths and weaknesses. Some of the most common types of forwards include:

  • Center-forward: A player who is tall and strong, and is used to win aerial duels and hold up play to bring teammates into the attack.
  • Striker: Most times used interchangeably with ‘Center-forward’, the Striker uses their ability to get by defenders and run into space to receive the ball in a good goal-scoring position.
  • Attacking Midfielders: A hybrid between a striker and a midfielder, the attacking midfielder is responsible for creating scoring opportunities for their team.
  • False 9: A player who drops deep into midfield to create space for their teammates to run into. They are usually very technical and have excellent passing ability.
  • Winger: A winger is an attacking player who is lined up in a wide position near the touchlines.

Overall, the success of a team’s offensive strategies often relies heavily on the performance of their forwards.

An elite forward can make all the difference in a game, and understanding the different types of forwards and their roles can help a team build a successful attack.

What Does CF Mean in Soccer?

The abbreviation “CF” in soccer stands for “Center Forward.” This is the player positioned furthest forward on a team and operates closer to the opposition’s goal than any other player on the team. The primary role of the Center Forward is to score goals for the team.

There are several qualities that a Center Forward in soccer should possess to be successful. These include:

  • Aerial skills and strength to win headers and hold up the ball.
  • Good positioning and movement to create space and opportunities for themselves and their teammates.
  • Clinical finishing ability to convert chances into goals.
  • Physical attributes such as speed, strength, and stamina to outpace and outmuscle defenders.
  • Good decision-making skills to know when to shoot, pass, or hold onto the ball.
  • Mental toughness to handle pressure and stay focused throughout the game

Qualities of a Great Forward

There are certain qualities that a forward must possess to become an effective player, they include:

  • Finishing Ability: This is obviously at the top of our list but a forward should have excellent finishing ability and be able to score goals consistently.
  • Speed: Speed is an important attribute for a forward, as it allows them to make runs behind the opposition’s defense and create scoring opportunities.
  • Strength: A forward should also have good physical strength, which allows them to hold off defenders and win aerial duels.
  • Ball Control: A forward should have excellent ball control and be able to dribble past defenders to create scoring opportunities.
  • Vision: A forward with good vision is able to see and create opportunities for teammates.
  • Work Rate: A forward with a great work rate will be able to add more pressure to the goalie, defenders, and midfielders.
  • Confidence: A forward should have confidence in their abilities and be willing to take risks to create scoring opportunities.
  • Teamwork: A forward who prioritizes the team over themselves, will make passes to set up teammates for their scoring opportunities.
  • Mental Toughness: A forward should have strong mental toughness and be able to handle pressure and adversity, especially in high-pressure situations.

Defensive Strategies

Defending Against Forwards

As a forward, your job is to score goals. But as a defender, your job is to prevent those goals from happening. Here are a few strategies you can use to defend against forwards:

  • Stay goal-side: When defending against a forward, it’s important to stay between them and the goal. This means positioning yourself on the side of the forward that’s closest to the goal.
  • Stay compact: Defenders should work together to stay compact and limit the amount of space the forward has to work with. This means communicating with your teammates and shifting as a unit to close down space.
  • Pressure the ball: When a forward has the ball, it’s important to pressure them and limit their options. This means closing them down quickly and forcing them to make a decision.
  • Force them wide: If a forward is making a run towards the goal, try to force them wide. This will make it harder for them to get a shot on target and give your goalkeeper a better chance of making a save or intercepting a cross.
  • Use the offside trap: The offside trap can be an effective way to catch forwards off guard and limit their scoring opportunities. To execute the offside trap, defenders step up at the same time to catch the forward in an offside position.

By using these strategies, you can help your team keep a clean sheet and prevent the opposition from scoring.

Difference Between Forward and Striker

What is the difference between a forward and a striker? A striker is a position that is categorized as a forward.  There is a subtle difference between the two positions that can affect how a team plays.

A forward is any player who plays in an attacking position for the team. This can include players who are stationed out wide, such as wingers or wide midfielders, as well as players who play in the center of the field, such as attacking midfielders or center forwards. Basically, any player who is tasked with creating chances and scoring goals can be considered a forward.

A striker, on the other hand, is a single player positioned nearest to the opposition goal. This player’s primary responsibility is to score goals, and they often receive the majority of the team’s attacking support.

While forwards can be tasked with creating chances for their teammates as well as scoring goals themselves, strikers are primarily focused on putting the ball in the back of the net.

In youth soccer, it’s worth noting that the terms “forward” and “striker” are often used interchangeably, and many players can play both positions effectively.

Best Forwards in the World


The best forwards in the world are those who consistently perform at a high level and are able to make a significant impact on the game.

Here are some of the best forwards in the world:

  1. Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)
  2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Al-Nassr FC)
  3. Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)
  4. Erling Haahland (Manchester City)
  5. Harry Kane (Tottenhem)

Lionel Messi is widely regarded as one of the best players in the history of soccer. He has won numerous awards and has consistently performed at a high level for both his club and country.

Cristiano Ronaldo is another player who is often mentioned in the conversation of the best players in the world. He has won multiple Ballon d’Or awards and has scored over 700 career goals.

Robert Lewandowski is a prolific scorer who currently plays as a striker for Barcelona and captains the Poland national team. Previously, he moved to Borussia Dortmund, where he won two Bundesliga titles and reached the UEFA Champions League final in 2013. In 2014, he transferred to Bayern Munich, where he won numerous domestic and international titles, including seven Bundesliga titles and the UEFA Champions League in 2020. Lewandowski is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in the world and has won numerous individual awards to show for it.

Erling Haaland currently plays as a striker for Premier League club Manchester City and the Norway national team. Haaland has the unique combination of power, speed, agility, and aggressiveness to make him a unicorn of a scorer. Haaland is regarded as one of the best young talents in soccer and has won numerous individual awards, including the Golden Boy award in 2020.

At the time of this article (April 24, 2023), Harry Kane is a striker for Tottenham Hotspur and the England national team. He has won the Premier League Golden Boot three times and has scored over 200 goals for Tottenham in all competitions. Kane has also been a key player for the England national team, helping them reach the semi-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and winning the Golden Boot at the tournament. He has won numerous individual awards, including the PFA Young Player of the Year award twice and the Premier League Player of the Season award in 2021.


Now that you know what a forward is in soccer, you can appreciate the important role they play in the game.

Forwards are responsible for creating and scoring goals for their team. This requires a combination of skill, speed, and teamwork.

To be a successful forward, a player must possess certain traits such as composure, patience, and a strong work ethic. They must also be able to handle pressure and maintain calmness in high-pressure situations.

Remember, being a forward is not just about scoring goals, but also about creating opportunities for teammates and contributing to the overall success of the team.

With hard work and dedication, a player can become a skilled and valuable forward in the game.

Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created soccernovo.com to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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