Building a Team: What Do Clubs Need to Succeed?

Jordon TefftCorrespondent IDecember 10, 2008

January, June, July, and August all have one thing in common in the world of soccer, transfers.

There are times when a club will introduce several new faces to the team and others when very few changes are made. No matter the quantity, the goal of transfers is simple, improve the team.

The biggest question often brought up is where do you start? What is it that a team actually needs to compete at the highest level?

Well, I am going to attempt to break it down.

The 'Keeper

A saying I have heard often is, "Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships." While in a business aspect ticket sales are important a manager should be more concerned with the defense. Where to start is an easy question.

The 'keeper. Without a quality goalkeeper, a team would be unable to win any match. Once one is found, it is very uncommon for his role to be questioned. Being a backup 'keeper is one of the toughest roles as no one will want to risk switching out the savior of the team's mistakes for someone untried.

As George Graham once said, "the goalkeeper is the jewel in the crown and getting at him should be almost impossible. It's the biggest sin in football to make him do any work." So next on the list should be the...


In my experience of watching the beautiful game a good defense is made of two player types, enforcer and sweeper.

The more important would be the enforcer. This players job is probably the most simple and the most important. They must disrupt the flow of play. Enforce their dominance a cause a slightly bad touch or pass. By doing this they open up the ball to the sweeper who can then make the clearance. The enforcers are the left and right backs and then either a defensive midfielder or center back.

Now the sweeper has to be quick on their feet and able to clear the ball at any angle given. Once the enforcer breaks the flow of play the sweeper needs to react quickly and move the ball in the other direction. An enforcer is worthless with out a quality sweeper to make his work worth while.

This pairing creates the ultimate defense. All top level clubs try to find the best for each role. Once a defense is established teams then need...


So a manager has put together the best defense in the history of the sport. Where to next? It is a rule in many fields that the more chances created the better chance of succeeding. The same goes for soccer.

There are many proven tactics that can be used. Clever short passes up the middle, accurate crosses, and multiple through balls are the favorites. None is more or less effective than the other. If each can continuously be done eventually goals will be produced.

It has been shown time and time again that the team with the most opportunities to score has the better chance to win. Occasionally luck is against the better side. The only way to fight being unlucky is to find a good...


The last in the line of essentials is the finisher. These players make the most money and are transferred for the highest bids. A good finisher can make a goal from any supply line they are in the receiving end of.

Filling In

Once these role are filled, the last thing to do is fill in the missing pieces. Add in a second finisher and try to combine supply routes and you will have yourself a top team.

Many top clubs build using this format, regardless of the league. When a team attempts to build backwards or from the middle they often fail.

Look at your favorite club and determine what part they are missing (then maybe say in the comment section!). Maybe they need to completely rebuild or they are lacking an enforcer.