Can Soccer Defenders Score?

A defender’s primary role in soccer is to stop attacks and prevent the other team from scoring. But can soccer defenders score? This guide has the answers.

While the primary role of soccer defenders is to prevent the opponents from attacking, they can also score. There are no restrictions, limitations or rules when it comes to soccer defenders to score. They can score, just like any other player on the pitch.

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Can Soccer Defenders Score


The primary role of defenders is to prevent the other team from scoring. And, they do this through various interventions such as taking the ball away from the opponents, blocking crosses, shots and passes from the other team, challenging 50/50 balls, winning balls in the air and dispossessing the opponents.

Simply put, defenders are primarily tasked with preventing opponents from scoring. And this brings us to the question, can soccer defenders score? We’ve conducted exhaustive research on this topic and the answers are right here.

Can Soccer Defenders Score

As we’ve highlighted above, defenders occupy positions in front of the goalkeeper. And their primary responsibility in a game of soccer is to prevent the other team from scoring, through various interventions. So, can defenders score?

According to the laws of the game, the ability to score a goal in a soccer game is not restricted to strikers alone. In short, any authorized player on the field during the game can score a goal. And, this also includes the defenders, both the center backs and the full backs.

Simply put, there are no rules or laws preventing defenders from scoring goals in soccer. As much as scoring goals may not be the primary responsibility of defenders, it’s completely within the rules of soccer for defenders to score.

Situations Where a Defender is Likely to Score

Defenders are positioned furthest from the opponent’s goal since their primary role is to defend and not to attack. But as we mentioned earlier, there are no rules or laws restricting defenders from scoring. Therefore, they can also help their team in attack, whenever the situation allows. Here are some situations where soccer defenders are likely to score.

Free Kicks

Free kicks are awarded whenever a player from one team commits a foul. The foul can be a handball or an aggressive challenge against a player from the other team. And, the referee can award such free kicks in any area of the pitch. The attacking team can opt to go for a direct or indirect free kick.

Indirect Free Kicks

In an indirect free kick, the attacking team will whip or deliver the ball into the opposition team’s goal area. And during such free kicks, the defenders may sometimes go up-field closer or into the opposing team’s goal area.

The strategy behind this is to increase the possibility of one of the players from the attacking team receiving the ball when the free kick is taken. And, if the defender receives this ball in a dangerous position, they have a possibility of scoring.

Direct Free Kicks

In such a free kick, one of the players in the attacking team will shoot or strike the ball, with the aim of scoring. Since modern full-backs are quite good at delivering crosses to the box, they also tend to be decent free-kick takers. And, these defenders can also score during such free kicks.

Corner Kicks

Defenders can also score during corner kicks. Corner kicks are awarded when the ball goes out of play over the goal line having been last touched by the defending team’s player and a goal isn’t scored.

A corner kick is essentially some type of a free kick – or a set piece if you prefer. In this set piece, the ball will be delivered into the opposing team’s goal area from the corner arc. The attacking team can then score via shots or headers.

Usually, defenders are stronger and taller than the majority of the outfield players. Also, they have powerful ball-heading capabilities. Therefore, there’s the possibility of them getting on the end of such deliveries with powerful headers and scoring. The majority of goals from defenders occur through corner kicks. 


In soccer, a penalty will be awarded whenever a player commits a foul inside their penalty area. For instance, if a player deliberately handles the ball with their arm or hand inside their penalty area, the referee may award a penalty to the other team.

When a penalty is awarded, any member of the attacking team can step forward and take it, including the defenders. And, this provides yet another opportunity for defenders to score goals. If a defender has precise finishing and composure, they can step up for their teams and take the penalties.

Moving Upfield

Just like other outfield players, defenders are also welcome to join their teams during attack. So, instead of simply sitting back and waiting for the other team to attack, the defenders can also be part of progressing the play forward.

And as the ball moves closer to the opponent team’s goal, an opportunity can present itself for the defender to shoot the ball goalwards. Consequently, such a shot may lead to a goal, if it’s well-taken.   

How Soccer Defenders Can Become Better at Scoring

As a soccer defender, no rule or law prevents you from scoring. And as you can see, you have numerous opportunities where you can score goals and help your team to win more games. But, you will need to enhance certain aspects of your game to become better at scoring. These areas include:


Once the ball has been launched into the penalty area, a defender will need significant physical strength to outmuscle or beat their man-marker and head the ball toward goal. A stronger defender will be in a better position to chase down the loose balls close to the other team’s penalty area.

Jumping Reach

Jumping goes hand in hand with physical strength. Defenders who can jump higher and outmuscle their opponents are highly likely to connect with the ball properly and score regularly.


It’s equally important for defenders to enhance their finishing skills. While you may have robust physical strength or decent jumping reach, you will struggle to score goals if your finishing is poor. So, if you are looking to become a better goal-scoring defender, you must be ready to work on your finishing.

Key Takeaways

  • Defenders occupy positions furthest from the opponent team’s goal
  • Defenders are tasked with preventing their opponents from scoring
  • There are no rules, limitations or restrictions on soccer defenders scoring goals
  • A game of soccer presents several opportunities where defenders can score goals

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