As anybody who has played or watched soccer will know, there is a seemingly endless list of abbreviations for the different positions that players can take up on the pitch.
If you do not have an in-depth knowledge of soccer terminology these terms can seem alien, and it can be very hard to understand what they all mean.
And when it comes to soccer terminology, you not only have to understand what the terms mean but also what these positions do on the field.
To help you out, we’ve put together this guide which is packed with absolutely everything that you need to know about soccer abbreviations and what they mean.
From attacking positions to defending positions, we’re looking at them all to ensure that you know everything there is to know about soccer terminology.
So whether you’re an ambitious high school soccer player, a parent who wants to know more about the sport their child is playing, or just someone who enjoys playing FIFA, you are in the right place. With no further ado, let’s get started.
First, let’s take a look at the attacking positions. You may notice some duplicates as positions that complete the same job are sometimes called different names or given different abbreviations.
To avoid any confusion we’ve included all the abbreviations, but we’ll let you know when any two positions are similar.
CF - Center Forward
First, you have the ‘CF’ which stands for Center Forward.
This player is positioned very forward on the field and is one of the closest players to the opposition’s goalposts out of the entire team.
As you would expect from an attacking position, it is the center forward’s job to score goals for the team, and also to set them up so that other attacking positions can also score goals.
LF - Left Forward
Next, we have the ‘LF’ which is, of course, the Left Forward. The left forward is positioned on the attacking side of the field, on the left-hand side of the attacking line.
Similar to the center forward, it is the left forward’s job to score goals and create opportunities for other attacking players to score goals.
However, they do so from a left-hand position on the field rather than a central position like the center forward.
LS - Left Striker
Another attacking position which you might hear spoken about is the ‘LS’, which stands for Left Striker.
This position is located on the left-hand side of the players at the front of the pitch near the opposition’s goal.
Again, it is this position’s job to score goals when the ball is in their area and set them up for other players on the field.
RF - Right Forward
Following that, you have the ‘RF’ which means Right Forward. This position can be found at the front of the field, positioned to the right on the opposite side of the field to the left forward.
This position has the same job as all of the other attacking positions, to set up and score goals.
RS - Right Striker
Next, you have the ‘RS’ which stands for Right Striker.
This position completes the same job as the left striker, but the player will be located on the right-hand side of the field rather than the left.
Just like the other attacking positions, the right striker is required to add to the team’s goals and help other attacking players score.
SS - Second Striker
This position you may not have heard before, but ‘SS’ stands for Second Striker.
You can find this position just behind the main striker on the soccer field, and very close to the opposition goal.
While the second striker does score goals themselves, more often than not the second striker will spend their time setting up goals for the striker, which brings us to the next abbreviation.
ST - Striker
This position you definitely will have heard of as ‘ST’ stands for STriker.
Striker is the main goal scored on the soccer field and they are positioned very close to the opposition goal, usually towards the center of the field.
In most games of soccer, the striker is the player that you will watch the most as they are the players who will usually win the game for your team.
WF - Wing Forward
The final attacking position which you will find on the field is the ‘WF’, Wing Forward.
You may also know this position as ‘LWF’ or ‘RWF’ which stands for left or right-wing forward depending on where the wing forward is playing on the field.
These players are usually located on edge of the field, and it is their main job to support other attacking players and to help them score goals, rather than scoring themselves.
Next, let’s take a look at the midfield positions. There are considerably more midfield positions than attacking positions on the field, so this list is a bit more lengthy.
Again, we will let you know if there are any crossovers between any two positions so that there is no confusion.
AM - Attacking Midfielder
The first midfield position that you have is the ‘AM’ which stands for Attacking Midfield. It is easy to confuse this position as an attacking role due to its name, but this role is actually in the center of the field.
The attacking midfield is the closest player to the attacking positions out of the midfield roles which is why they are given the ‘attacking’ name.
AMC - Attacking Midfielder Center
Next, you have the AMC which stands for Attacking Midfielder Center.
This position is fairly similar to the ‘AM’ position which is why it is easy to get confused, but the main difference is that the ‘AMC’ is positioned in the center of the field.
AMF - Attacking Midfielder
Again, the ‘AMF’ is very similar to the past two positions that we have looked for, and it stands for Attacking MidFielder.
This is one of the most important players on the field as they are key in getting the ball to the attacking players so that they can score goals.
AML - Attacking Midfielder Left
Next, we move onto a player that is different from the ‘AM’, ‘AMF’ and ‘AMC’, and that is the ‘AML’ which stands for Attacking Midfielder Left.
This position has a similar job to all of the attacking midfield roles that we have looked at so far, except they do this job from the left-hand side of the center of the field.
AMR - Attacking Midfielder Right
On the opposite side of the field, you have the ‘AMR’ which as you can probably guess, stands for Attacking Midfielder Right.
Similar to the other positions that we have looked at so far, the ‘AMR’ does the same job as the attacking midfielder left, except they do it from the right hand side of the field.
Players for these positions are usually chosen depending on which is their dominant foot.
CAM - Central Attacking Midfielder
The final attacking midfield position which you will find is the ‘CAM’.
This is not just a nickname for your friend who’s called Cameron, it also stands for Central Attacking Midfielder.
This position stands in the center of the field, just behind the attacking forwards and they complete the role of supporting the attacking players and ensuring that the ball goes to the area that it is supposed to.
CDM - Central Defensive Midfielder
In the opposite position to the ‘CAM’, you have the ‘CDM’ which stands for Central Defensive Midfielder.
This position plays in the center of the midfield area and is positioned close to the defensive positions which we will look at a bit later on.
It is the furthest back on the field out of the midfield players, and because of this, it is sometimes confused with the defensive players.
But it is not a defensive player, it is a midfield player which bridges the gap between the midfield and the defense.
CM - Central Midfield
Next, you have the ‘CM’ which stands for Central Midfield. This position can also be found in the center of the field and it plays between the attacking and the defensive players.
This position plays a variety of roles as they support both the defensive players and the attacking players which is why it is one of the busiest positions that you can play on the field.
CMF - Central Midfielder
Following on from the ‘CM’, you have the ‘CMF’ which stands for Central Midfielder.
As you will probably guess from the name, this position is exactly the same as a ‘CM’ and they both play the same role on the field.
However, different areas call this position by different names so you may sometimes see it referred to as ‘CM’ or ‘CMF’ depending on where you are.
DM - Defensive Midfielder
This is another position that is commonly confused with a defensive position as ‘DM’ stands for Defensive Midfielder.
This position is located at the back of the field, closer to the defenders than the attacking players.
While some midfielders have the job of aiding the attacking players, it is the defensive midfielder’s job to protect and support the defending players from the opposition team and to help stop goals from being scored.
So even though this position has a defensive role, this position is actually part of the midfield.
LM - Left Midfielder
Moving onto the left-hand position, you have the ‘LM’ which stands for Left Midfielder.
This player has a midfield position on the soccer field, but they are positioned slightly off-center towards the left of the pitch.
This job requires a fast player as they must support both the attacking and the defending members of the team when necessary which requires a lot of running.
It also requires a lot of skill with the ball as you will need to pass it around a lot if you play in this position.
LW - Left Winger
Following that, you have the ‘LW’ which stands for Left Winger.
This position is found on the left hand side of the field and close to the edge of the field as it is a wing position.
Similar to the center midfield position, it is the left winger’s job to help both the attacking players and the defensive players.
Due to this, the left-winger position is also a busy position to play as it requires a lot of running around to both attack and defend when needed.
M - Midfielder
Moving on, you have the ‘M’ which stands for Midfielder.
This position plays a similar role to both the center and left midfielder, however, they cover a wider area as they are not limited to a specific space on the pitch.
This role helps both the attack and the defense and is essential to winning games, so while this role might not be as flashy as a striker position, without them, your team would not win.
RM - Right Midfielder
Next up, you have the ‘RM’ which, of course, stands for Right Midfielder.
This role completes the same job as the left midfielder, except they do so on the opposite side of the field, with the right hand side of the pitch being their domain.
So, the right midfielder supports both the attacking and defensive players when necessary on the right hand side of the field.
RW - Right Winger
The final midfield position that you have is the ‘RW’ which stands for Right Winger.
Similar to how the right midfielder completes the same job as the left midfielder, the right-winger completes the same job as the left-winger.
Both players complete an essential role in defending the defensive players and helping the attacking players, so it is a very busy job to complete.
Finally, let’s take a look at the defending positions.
Similar to midfield positions, there are a lot of defending positions so buckle up and get ready to learn about all the different abbreviations for defensive positions.
CB - Center Back
The first defensive position you have is the ‘CB’ which stands for Center Back.
On a soccer field, the center back is found in the center of the field just in front of the goalkeeper defending your goalkeeper.
This position acts as an extra level of defense to prevent the opposition from scoring goals so that all of the pressure is not on the goalkeeper.
CH - Center Half
Next up is the ‘CH’ which stands for Center Half, which is a sort of outdated term now as this position is now replaced by the ‘CB’ or Center Back which we have just looked at.
They complete the same job on the field as one another so you will often see these abbreviations used interchangeably on the field.
GK - Goalkeeper
This player you definitely will have heard of, and that is the ‘GK’, aka. The GoalKeeper.
You probably already know what this position does, but just in case you didn’t, it is the Goalkeeper’s job to stop the other team from scoring goals by physically blocking the ball with their body.
This position is the only person on the field who is allowed by soccer rules to touch the balls with their hands.
LB - Left Back
Moving on, you have the ‘LB’ which stands for Left Back.
The left-back is an essential part of the defensive team, and it is positioned on the left hand side of the field in the defensive area.
This position has the job of protecting the left hand side of the soccer field and preventing the ball from entering this area to stop the opposition from scoring goals.
LCB - Left Center Back
Following on, you have the ‘LCB’ which is the Left Center Back. This player completes a similar role to the left-back as they must protect the left hand side of the field.
However, this position tends to stand further forward on the field than the left-back in a more central location, hence the name the left center back.
LH - Left Half
Next, you have the ‘LH’ which stands for Left Half.
Traditionally, you would find the left half on the left hand side of the field completing the role of supporting both the attack and the defense on the left hand side of the field.
However, this term is one that is used a lot less often now as more commonly this position is now known as the ‘left midfield’ player, and is classed as a midfield position rather than a defensive position.
LWB - Left Wing Back
But what about the ‘LWB’? Well, this position stands for Left Wing Back which is a position that you can find on the left hand side of the pitch.
It is this position’s job to defend the left hand side of the field while staying close to the wing.
As well as defending the left hand side of the field, this player must also help pass the ball upfield to the attacking players.
OB - Outside Back
This abbreviation is one that is common among a variety of topics, but in the case of soccer, ‘OB’ stands for Outside Back.
This position is very versatile as they can be found on both the left and the right hand side of the field.
No matter where this position is being played from, it is this position’s job to protect the goalposts and stop any attacks from the opposition on either side of the field.
RB - Right Back
Then you have the ‘RB’ which stands for Right Back.
Just like the left back, the right back completes an essential part of the defensive team, but they do so on the right hand side of the field rather than the left.
RCB - Right Center Back
Following on, you have the ‘RCB’ which stands for Right Center Back.
Again, this player completes the same role as the left center back except they do so from the right hand side of the field
RWB - Right Wing Back
Next, you have the ‘RWB’ which stands for Right Wing Back.
Just like the other roles, we have looked at, the right wing back mirrors the role of the left wing back, doing so on the right-hand side of the field.
SW - Sweeper
Then you have ‘SW’ which stands for Sweeper. This is a defensive position found directly before the goalkeeper which acts as an extra line of defense before the goalkeeper.
Sometimes the goalkeeper will double up and cover this position.
WB - Wing Back
Finally, you have the ‘WB’ or Wing Back.
This position is exactly the same as both the ‘LWB’ and the ‘RWB’ but the player in this position is not limited to a single area of the field.
Instead, they can travel between the left and right hand side of the field to support the defense when necessary.
In conclusion, there you have it, a complete guide to all the abbreviations that you could encounter on the soccer field.
So if you want to find out what an abbreviation means, simply check out this list to find out.