What Does It Mean to be a Forward?

Article: What Does It Mean to be a Forward? by Jonathan Lewis

My Football Facts ⇒ Articles

By Jonathan Lewis | 10th JAN 2022

Football is the world’s biggest, and favorite sport. With close to 5 billion fans, and close to 600 million people playing it recreationally, it is, far and beyond all other sports, boasting double the amount of fans of cricket, and more fans than tennis and hockey put together. It is the biggest sport in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, and despite not being the biggest in North America, it is still massively popular among the immigrant population.

Football is also the number one, most popular sport when it comes to betting. Up until the mid-20th century, horse racing was the absolute, undefeated king of betting sports, but with the growth in popularity of football, and with the creation of FIFA, football soon overtook horse racing, and is currently the biggest betting sport, both in land-based betting shops, and when it comes to online betting sites. BetStation has ranked the best sportsbooks online.

Football teams are comprised of 11 players and a goalie. According to where players are placed on the field, they are separated into three positions: forward, midfield, and defense. In this article, we will focus on exactly what it means to be a forward, and what are the three types of forward in football.

What is a Forward?

The definition of forwards is quite simple. Forwards are, simply put, the football players who are nearest to the opposing team’s goal. A forward’s primary purpose is to score goals, or create an opportunity for other players to score a goal. In either case, it is the duty of a forward to make sure their team is scoring the goals. It is common in modern football to have formations that feature one, two, or three forwards. It is not unheard of for a team to feature more forwards, especially if a team has weak defense, though this practice is rare, and unorthodox. As far as the different kinds of forwards go, there are three different kinds of forward players.

Center Forward

The center forward position was initially developed by the Hungarian national team in the mid-20th century. The position can best be described as something between a mid-fielder and forward, and has often been called a shadow striker, or support striker. Center forwards are a diverse lot, focusing both on striking when they have the chance, and (more often) on creating opportunities for the true striker to do their job.


Wingers are the forward whose job it is to control the “wings”, meaning the left or right flanks of the striker. The attribute which wingers are known for is simply speed. It is their job to dribble the ball through the defense, and set up an opportunity for the striker to score a goal. Wingers have a long tradition in football, however, there have been successful many teams that do not utilize wingers at all.


The striker is, probably, the most popular position in association football, and the simplest to explain. As the name suggests, it is the job of the striker to “strike” the ball and score a goal. Some of the most popular players in the history of football have been strikers, including the current top ranked and most highly paid player, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Jonathan Lewis is an MFF sports writer

What Does It Mean to be a Forward?