Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 13822

Other 9/18/2006

RE: Adult

Peter of Seattle, Washington USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 13786

Sorry ref but you got this one wrong. A Center Half is a Center Back. Sami Hyppia is a Center Half, John Terry is a Center Half. In the old formation there used to be one Center Back, called a Center Half, and two full backs

Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Sorry I screwed the pooch in your mind. I try only to report what I know and what others have taught me...

Must have been Mr. Lane's fault because when I played at Whitney Institute, Smiths Parrish, Bermuda in the mid 50's he lined us up with two fullbacks -- left and right; five forwards -- left and right wings, inside left and right, centre forward; three half backs -- left and right and, lo and behold, a centre half back.

My memory must be shot because the guy behind me when I played inside right was Michael Bormann, the centre half and when I played right half the guy to my left was the centre half, Mike. Argue if you want but the question was what is the old time centre half called now? He played in the middle of the field not as a central defender. in a 2-3-5 there was no central defender. It was not until the Hungarian national team created total football did formations change to the more defensive 4-4-2 we see today.


Read other questions answered by Referee Chuck Fleischer

View Referee Chuck Fleischer profile

Answer provided by Referee Jeroen Krijvenaar

The job of the centre-back ? also called centre-halves or central defenders ? is to stop opposing players, particularly the strikers, from scoring, and to bring the ball out from their penalty area. As their name suggests, they play in a central position. Most teams employ two centre backs, stationed in front of the goalkeeper. There are two main defensive strategies used by centre backs: the zonal defence, where each centre back covers a specific area of the pitch, and man-to-man marking, where each centre back has the job of covering a particular opposition player.Centre-backs are often tall, very strong and have a good heading and tackling ability. An ability to read the game well is also a distinct advantage. Sometimes, particularly in lower leagues, centre-backs concentrate less on ball control and passing, preferring simply to clear the ball in a "safety-first" fashion. However, there is a long tradition of centre-backs having more than just rudimentary footballing skill, enabling a more possession-oriented playing style.
The position was formerly referred to as "centre-half." In the early part of the 20th century, when most teams employed the 2-3-5 formation, the row of three players were called halfbacks. As formations evolved, the central player in this trio (the centre-half), moved into a more defensive position on the field, taking the name of the position with them.
Good examples of centre-backs in the modern game include Alessandro Nesta, John Terry, Fabio Cannavaro, Lilian Thuram, William Gallas, Lucio, Carles Puyol, and Roberto Ayala
Hope this answers your question, sorry if we were given you wrong information before.

Read other questions answered by Referee Jeroen Krijvenaar

View Referee Jeroen Krijvenaar profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 13822
Read other Q & A regarding Other

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.