Soccer Writer's Style Guide


North America's first and only soccer-specific style guide

Players and positions


  • Goalie and keeper are also acceptable (note the closing apostrophe on ‘keeper).
  • Never write goaltender.

defense, backline

  • Defensive positions include defender, left-sided defender, right-sided defender, central defender, left back, right back, center back and full back.


  • Midfield positions include midfielder, left midfielder, right midfielder, central midfielder, holding midfielder, defensive midfielder and attacking midfielder.
  • Use the casual term playmaker to describe a tactical-minded attacking midfielder who controls the flow of the game and creates scoring chances. Examples include CuauhtĂ©moc Blanco, David Ferreira and Santiago Hirsig. Sometimes this player is called the No. 10, though be careful using this if the player does not wear the No. 10 shirt.

wing, flank

  • Wingers can be considered part of either the midfield or the attack. Write left winger and right winger.

attack, offense

  • Attacking positions include forward, striker (often used synonymously, though use striker to identify a pure goalscorer), center forward, withdrawn striker and second striker.
  • Use the casual term target man to describe a forward who generally plays with his back to goal, which means the player seeks space in front of goal while awaiting a pass from the midfield. Examples include Conor Casey and Brian McBride.

head coach, coach

  • Do not capitalize any of these words.

See also: MLS tournaments and awards, Player biographies


Filed under: Players and positions