What is a Fullback in Soccer? – The Definition and Role

A fullback is a player who lines up on the left or right side of the field in the defense or midfield and is considered to be the “opposite” of a winger. In other words, the player lines up on the right or left side of the field and has specific defensive responsibilities, as opposed to a winger who does not.

The role of a fullback is quite specific in soccer. They are expected to defend, rather than attack, and are often assigned to mark opposing players. 

Their primary job is to stop the opposition from attacking down the wings, and they do this by cutting off those angles of attack.

This means that the fullback needs to be quick, strong, and good at interception. They will need to be good at dealing with crosses, as well as passing and receiving.


It is not uncommon for a team to have both a left and right fullback. This makes sense, as the goal is to stop attacks down the wings. These fullback positions in soccer are referred to as right-back and left-back. It also means that the fullbacks are going to be marking players, rather than attacking or moving into space.

READ: What Does a Defender Do in Soccer?

A fullback should be comfortable on the ball and good at running with the ball. They are usually not the best dribblers, as that is the job of the winger. You will see a lot of fullbacks who are very good passers and have a good eye for the game. 

How to Become a Fullback

There are a variety of ways to become a fullback in soccer. The most common way to become a full back is to play the position at a lower level of competition, and then move into the position for your club or country. You can also train to be a fullback by focusing on these soccer skills and understanding the role of a fullback.

  • Short passing: This is very important for a fullback. You will need to be able to thread the ball through multiple defenders.
  • Dribbling: You will need to be comfortable dribbling with the ball at your feet. This is essential to becoming a full back.
  • Combinations: Once again, you will need to be comfortable combining with your teammates to create space and scoring opportunities.
  • Marking: As a fullback, you will be expected to mark opposing players. This means that you need to be strong, fast, and physical. You will need to use your hands to ward off opponents while using your feet to stay in position.

The Skills of a Fullback

Here are the skills you will need to be a successful fullback.

1 v 1 defending

You will be marking players 1 v 1 a lot, so you need to be good at defending against such players. You should be able to use your speed and good footwork to stay

Closing down the ball

As a fullback, you need to be able to get to the ball as soon as it is played. This means that you need to be good at closing down the ball carrier, or getting to the ball before the opposing team does.

READ: What is a Tackle in Soccer?



As a fullback, you need to be able to cross the ball. You will need to know where teammates are in case a cross comes into the box. You also need to be able to hit a cross with accuracy, which will require good technique.

Meanwhile, a decent fullback should know the kind of cross to give especially when they are complementing their attacking teammates from the flanks. Know when to give a low or high cross, simple pass, or even take a shot when the chance comes. The decision-making ability should be top-notch.

What is the Difference Between a Fullback and a Wingback?

A fullback is expected to defend, while a wingback is expected to be more attack-minded. These are the main differences between a full back and a wingback.

  • A fullback lines up on the right or left side of the field, while a wingback can be anywhere on the field.
  • A wingback is more likely to overlap the fullback, while a fullback is more likely to stay in their own half of the field.
  • A wingback may have specific attacking responsibilities, but a fullback does not.

Why is it Important to Know the Position of Full Back in Soccer?

Knowing the position of fullback can help you to understand the defensive aspect of the game. Knowing that you are the fullback can help you to focus on the defensive side of the game, rather than worrying about when you are going to attack. Knowing what the position entails can also help you to play to your strengths as a player.


READ: What is a Red Card in Soccer? Full Guide

Conclusion – What is Full Back in Soccer?

As you can see, becoming a full back in soccer is not easy. It requires a lot of skill, as well as the ability to focus on the defensive side of the game. 

If you are interested in becoming a full back, you should work hard on your ball skills, as well as your defensive abilities. With time, dedication, and the right training, you can become a successful full back.

We’ve seen some fullbacks that have carved a niche for themselves in modern-day soccer. The likes of Marcelo of Real Madrid, David Alaba in his time at Bayern Munich, and Dani Alves of Barcelona, amongst others, have been among the best at a point in their careers.