A position in defense whose job is to defend any attacking moves which get past the main defensive line. The term comes from the idea they ‘sweep up’ the ball from an attack.

What is the role of a Sweeper?

The main role of a sweeper is to defend, however, in modern soccer a sweeper can be used in many different roles. In modern soccer, the sweeper role can be played by a goalkeeper or a midfielder. A ‘sweeper keeper’ can be used in many formations to help out their defense.

The most common role is to play in a 5-3-2 formation and sit behind the center-half, clearing the ball after any attacking move or defensive mistake. A sweeper usually has to be an intelligent player who can read the game well.

A midfield sweeper is usually used to play defensive and offensive in a match. Positioned just in front of the defense their role is to break up attacking moves in and around the penalty area. It is also important the player can help in attacking moves by winning possession and passing the ball to a teammate.