The Usual Suspects – Types of 5-a-siderLeave a Comment
Words by Andy Peterson
As is the case with all team sports, different players have different roles within a squad, and we’re not talking about positions on the field (well, not exclusively.). We’ve taken the time to watch, observe and study our 5-a-side leagues in an attempt to highlight the most common types of 5-a-siders out there, so have a read below and see where you fit in!
Not all teams have the luxury of a keeper. Such is their value, they’re regularly courted by other team captains and seen playing multiple matches in an evening. The keeper is arguably the backbone and most important player of any 5-a-side team. We reckon they’re worth at least 9 points a season. Why?
- The keeper’s presence means the top scorer can be left to what he does best for those extra precious few minutes instead of having to do his shift between the sticks.
- Not having to rotate in goal allows you to stick to your formation, which as you may recall from one of our previous blog posts, is a crucial aspect to any successful campaign.
- You have someone who knows what they’re doing and isn’t just willing, but actually enjoys strapping on the gloves and sliding their knees along the astro-turf to make that last ditch save to protect that precious clean sheet he holds so dear.
Keepers might be crazy, but there’s simply no overstating their value!
The Resident Ringer
You know who you are, and we salute you. You’ll all recognize him, because he will almost certainly have played for your team at some point or another. Not just that, he’ll probably have scored a few goals and picked up the man of the match award too! They might live in the area, they might play with another one of the teams in your league, or they may just be incredibly keen footballers. He won’t be registered, but he might even end up playing more than some of the ‘regulars’, such is their endless thirst for more football. Ringers are part of the bloodline of 5-a-side, and are often game savers (literally!). You probably know who I’m talking about in your league, and you probably have his number on speed-dial for those wet and windy Wednesdays, but if you don’t – get it!
Not dissimilar to some premier league teams, the captain isn’t necessarily the best player, but he’s certainly a cornerstone. Not only was he able to sell you the idea of ‘getting the gang together’ to join a 5-a-side league, he took the initiative to get you all registered. What else? In 5-a-side, the captain is rarely just a captain; he’s also often the manager, the moneyman, and sometimes even the kitman! Like the keeper his true presence is most felt in his absence. Our hats be tipped to those who take on this monumental burden.
The Young Starlet – AKA. “The Whipper Snapper”
This player is easiest to spot in teams who’ve been around for a few years, and a big reason why they’re able to keep coming back each season – fresh blood! They may be a younger relation, new work colleague or someone who’s earned their way into the side by simply being able to run forever. They might start out playing in a desperate attempt to field a full team at first, but once people realise how handy a player with endless energy can be they’ll be invited again, and again, and agian. Any longstanding 5-a-side team will know the importance of having your very own ‘youth academy’ is!
The one who only shows up for the trophy
Okay, the tagline might be a tad harsh. Usually full of enthusiasm, but for injury, unexpected work commitments or an inability to resist beer in those precious hours between leaving the office and kick off, they haven’t been able to play in eight of the ten matches. Crucially, he has made it for the team photo (see example below). Credit where it’s due, when they do show up these guys offer valuable support and often adopt the role of team manager standing at the sidelines offering valuable insight into the team’s performance, even if their team mates might actually wish they were ready to play instead.
The goal scorer
Suffice to say, this person is likely responsible for somewhere between 60 to 90 percent of the team’s offensive output in any given season. Like ‘keepers, goal scorers are rare gems, and once discovered are often subject to team captain promising to buy all of their beers at the end of the season do as a ‘signing bonus’. Despite this, we don’t put their value above a pair of golden gloves!
So there you have it, a brief but hopefully insightful view into some of the major stereotypes found at your night of 5-a-side. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little exploration, and some of you may have even have found some tactical inspirational in your preparations for the coming season. You may already have all these guys in your squad, and if you do – feel lucky! If you haven’t already won a league title then the odds are good that your next trophy isn’t too far away.