Thursday, 25 Jul 2024

Can Defenders Score in Soccer?

If you’re a defender in a soccer game or a fan watching one, you might wonder if defenders can score goals. The role of a defender is primarily to prevent the opposition from reaching the goal, but there are moments when a defender can find themselves in a scoring position. So, can defenders score in soccer? The answer is yes! There are no restrictions on any player, including defenders, when it comes to scoring goals. Regardless of their position on the field, any player is allowed to score.

Being in the Right Position on the Field Is Key

In soccer, goal-scoring opportunities can arise from set pieces or open play. The player who is in the best position to direct the ball towards the goal and score is typically the striker. However, there are times when a defender finds themselves in a potential goal-scoring position. This can happen during sustained periods of attacking by the team, where defenders push forward to keep the pressure on the opposition.

Two soccer players trying to win the ball
Image Source: Your Soccer Home

It’s Harder for Defenders to Score Goals

While defenders are allowed to score goals, it’s not something you see in every game. This is mainly because defenders play at the back of the field, closest to their own goal. Their primary focus is on defending rather than attacking. The further away a player is from the goal they want to score in, the harder it becomes to actually score a goal.

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Situations Where Defenders Are Most Likely to Score

Although players are expected to stick to their positions in a team formation, there is flexibility allowed. Defenders can sometimes push forward during sustained periods of attacking, increasing their chances of being in a scoring position. Another common situation where defenders score is from set pieces, such as free-kicks and corner kicks. Defenders often use their height and strength advantage to contest for the ball and score.

The 5 Highest Scoring Defenders in Soccer

Throughout the history of soccer, there have been defenders who have excelled at scoring goals. Here are the top five highest-scoring defenders in the world:

1. Ronald Koeman (253 goals)

Ronald Koeman, the Dutch-born defender, holds the record for scoring the most goals by a defender. He was a free-kick and penalty specialist, scoring the majority of his goals from dead-ball situations. Koeman also holds the highest goal-scoring record for Barcelona, where he scored 90 goals.

2. Daniel Passarella (175 goals)

Daniel Passarella, the Argentine central defender, was not only a prolific goal-scorer but also one of the best defenders in soccer history. Despite being relatively short for a defender, Passarella scored many goals with his head, along with free-kicks and penalties.

3. Fernando Hierro (163 goals)

Fernando Hierro, a Spanish player known for his leadership as a captain, was a dominant presence in both his own and the opposition’s goal areas. He scored many goals with his head from set-pieces, in addition to being the main free-kick and penalty taker for his teams.

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4. Laurent Blanc (153 goals)

Laurent Blanc, originally an attacking midfielder, spent most of his career playing in defense. He scored numerous goals from set-pieces for his clubs and also contributed 16 international goals for France, including during the 1998 World Cup.

5. Graham Alexander (130 goals)

Graham Alexander, a Scottish defender, was a penalty kick specialist throughout his career. He was also skilled at positioning himself to score open-play goals during attacking periods by his team.


  1. Are there any restrictions on where a defender can go on a soccer field?

    • No, there are no specific restrictions on where a defender can go on the field.
  2. Can defenders cross midfield in soccer?

    • Yes, defenders can cross midfield in soccer. While their primary role is to defend, they can also contribute to the team’s attack.
  3. Why is it harder for defenders to score goals?

    • Defenders play in the back of the field, away from the opposition’s goal. This distance makes it more challenging for them to reach scoring positions.


Defenders can indeed score goals in soccer, although it may not be as common as it is for strikers or attacking players. These scoring opportunities often arise from set pieces or during sustained periods of attacking by the team. Some defenders have made remarkable contributions to their teams’ goal tallies throughout soccer history. With the right positioning, skill, and determination, defenders can leave their mark on the score sheet. So next time you watch a soccer game, keep an eye on those defenders. You never know when they might surprise you with a goal!

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For more information about soccer and defensive positions, visit Pesstatsdatabase.