Although it’s now seldomly used in the professional game, the stopper position is a very common feature in youth soccer and is a great way to teach young players how to defend. Paired alongside a sweeper in the centre of defence, the stopper is expected to win every tackle and aerial challenge and not be afraid to put their body on the line, time and time again.
A stopper and a sweeper are the last line of Defence. The job of a stopper is to win every aerial challenge and tackle. Stoppers are expected to put everything on the line. They are expected to do this every time to win back the ball and not be afraid. A stopper is the more aggressive of the two central defenders.
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As used below the term Stopper means a player who plays between the Fullbacks & Midfielders who is good at stopping attacks up the center of the field. The Stopper is like a pushed up Fullback and there can be one or two. Their job is to slow down the attack so Midfielders have time to recover to help defend.
In soccer there are four basic positions: Goal Keeper, Defender, Midfielder and Attacker. Of these four positions there are two speciality positions. The Stopper which is a speciality player that can be placed on defense or the midfield. The Sweeper is a special defensive player.
Although all players on the field can defend, the stopper or central defender is truly the first line of defense. The stopper can assist the left and right defenders and midfielders. This stopper position meets any balls that break through the midfield and send them back upfield. The stopper acts as a safety net and a reset option for the midfielders.
There are also 2 special positions that some, but not all, teams use; a "Sweeper" and a "Stopper". A Sweeper will play behind the Fullbacks and a Stopper will play between the Fullbacks and the Midfielders. These positions add additional layers of defenders and give you defensive strength in the Center of the field.
As stopper is simply another term used to describe a centre back in soccer or a player who plays just in front of the backline as cover, usually as a defensive midfielder. Depending on what type of formation the team is playing with, there can sometimes be two centre backs for example with the 4-4-2 formation (four defenders- two centre backs).
4/5 – Center Back (CB): Also known as the central defender, center fullback or stopper, this position plays in the middle of the rear defensive line. A 4–4–2 formation will have two center backs, which will hang back to protect the goal.