Read the other posts in this college soccer recruiting series on Defensive Center Midfielders, Goalkeepers, Center Backs, Outside Backs, Strikers, Wingers, and Attacking Center Midfielders.
The winger (#7 or #11) has to be aggressive, direct, and have a desire to attack the goal. The winger might have the most physically demanding position on the field because you need to play defense and cover your opponent’s winger in addition to your critical roles on the offense.
The #7 and #11 are not just service machines providing crosses. Great wingers will also be able to finish and score goals in multiple ways, whether that means breakaways, off the service, on the weak side, or right around the penalty spot off of an inline service.
Key things to include when sending your winger highlight video to college coaches:
- 1 vs. 1 skills are the most important thing to show in highlights. Within the first five moments of your Trace iD playlist for college coaches, wingers should have 2 to 3 different types of 1 vs. 1 moments, whether the winger is taking defenders to the outside, getting to the inline, or dragging them to the inside. Depending on the style of play and a college’s game model, you’re going to be isolated. That’s the point right, so displaying 1 v 1 particularly within those first five moments is crucial.
- Show different crossing techniques. Wingers will be crossing more than other positions, so you have to cross quickly and avoid being blocked by defenders. There are a lot of similarities between outside backs and wingers in particular when it comes to crossing skills. It’s important to be sophisticated with your services; different types of runs require different types of services, so show these variations in your highlight video.
- Dribbling skills are critical. Wingers are moving up and down the sidelines, which are less crowded than other areas on the pitch, so dribbling skills are more important. Show that you can keep the ball under close control, dribble with your head up to see what’s happening around you, and use dribbling techniques like feints to throw off defenders and keep them off balance.
- Include instances where you drive toward defenders. Wingers need to have the skills to confidently drive toward defenders, draw them towards you, and force them to make mistakes. You’ll get bonus points cut inside and aggressively go for goals in this position as well.
- Include penetrating runs. Show college coaches that you can run on the weak side, get in behind the defense while the defenders are pre-occupied, and allow your teammates to make a pass and play you in behind the defense.
- Show athleticism. The winger is probably the most physically demanding position on the field. Very similar to the outside backs, wingers have to have the power, the speed, and the fitness to play long stretches of time at a very very high pace with precise skill. Wingers are the ones that are transitioning extremely fast; they might be playing defense one moment and in the next moment be inside the box of their opposition.
Watch a Sample Winger Highlight
- Watch this sample Trace highlight
What the Trace moment shows college coaches: As this moment builds on one side, the winger (in white) will set this defender up with an intelligent outside-to-end movement. The winger is getting the defender to open a little bit, turn his hips, and then exploits the space in between the center back and the outside back. As he goes into it, the ball gets played in behind, but he doesn’t finish it.
So this might seem to some like an incomplete moment, but it’s showing something important for a college coach. What’s important is what was done prior to what got him into that really dangerous scoring opportunity. “For me, I really like this it’s not your typical wide moment,” states Tim Bennett. “But here he is darting in behind the center back great little pass, the chance goes wide, pretty decent save, and he showed so much bravery. He could have gotten hammered, but he displays that goal-scoring mentality.”
Even though the winger didn’t score, he’s willing to do that in order to get a result. Wingers are not going to score every time, but there are coaches that love to see players taking chances because wingers don’t score goals if they play it safe.