SoccerViza LLC

Phone: +1 (203) 604 -1211

365 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive

Norwalk, CT


What Makes a Good Defender? (Center Back Edition)

October 16, 2019

In the world of football, there are many styles one can have at certain positions. For example, wingers, are all different. Some rely on their speed and others rely on their technical abilities. Forwards --  some like to run in behind, others like to check in for the ball. Styles vary.  


Center Backs 


Center backs come in different styles and sizes. Some center backs are better on the ball, some off, some are fast, some slow, some like to hit long balls only, some opt towards playing short every time. Joe Funicello, professional scout, former professional player and professional coach, also the director and CEO of SoccerViza, tells us a what he thinks is a good center back. 


“A good center back is composed, fearless, and reads the game well,” said Funicello. “I always think the game evolves from the back so if a center back can lead by example through winning a ball, we must have ourselves a good defender.”  



Although Funicello played center back throughout his varsity years in high school, he was placed as an outside back while playing professionally in the United States and in Europe.  


“When I got to the Metrostars I got placed as a right back because they wanted big center backs,” said Funicello. “In Europe, I also played center back during friendlies and I did really well, but coaches were scared to place me at center back in a real game because of my height."


“It just goes to show that even at the professional level, it’s all a game of opinions because there are players who are considered short that can outplay a big at the center back position. It all depends on what the coaches want,” said Funicello.  


Historically, small defenders have made an impact in football worldwide. Fabio Cannavarro, captain of Italy’s world cup winning team in 2006, was listed at 5’9”. He ended up winning the Balon d'Or that same year. Carles Puyol, former captain of FC Barcelona and, at times, Spain’s national football