AM (CAM / LAM / RAM) - Attacking Midfielder (Central Attacking Midfielder / Left Attacking Midfielder / Right Attacking Midfielder). The off-centre playing positions are also known as Inside Forward (Inside Left / Inside Right).
W (LW / RW) - Winger (Left Winger / Right Winger). Also known as Outside Forward (Outside Left / Outside Right) and Wide Forward (Left Forward / Right Forward).
S (CS / LS / RS) - Striker (Central Striker / Left Striker / Right Striker). Also known as Centre Forward (Central Centre Forward / Left Centre Forward / Right Centre Forward).
These playing positions are shown in the diagram below. The team's own goal is on the left and the opposition team's goal is on the right. The diagram is not to scale and is only meant to show the relative nature of the different playing positions.
Traditional Playing Positions
The traditional eleven playing positions used in the late 19th century were:
The goalkeeper playing position.
Two full back playing positions (left back and right back) occupying the modern centre back playing positions.
Three half back playing positions (centre half, left half and right half) occupying the modern centre midfielder playing positions.
Five forward playing positions (outside left, outside right, inside left, inside right and centre forward) occupying the equivalent modern playing positions.
All other playing positions and terms included in the list of main playing positions above have been added during later development of the game.
Categories of Playing Positions
The following broad categories of playing positions are referred to in this guide:
Outfield playing positions (outfield players) - All playing positions except the goalkeeper playing position.
Central playing positions (central players) - Sweeper, centre back, defensive midfielder, centre midfielder, attacking midfielder and striker.
Wide playing positions (wide players) - Full back, wing back, wide midfielder and winger.
Defender playing positions (defenders) - Sweeper, centre back, full back and wing back.
Midfielder playing positions (midfielders) - Defensive midfielder, centre midfielder and wide midfielder.
Forward playing positions (forwards) - Attacking midfielder, winger and striker.
Attacker playing positions (attackers) - Wide midfielder, attacking midfielder, winger and striker.
Central defender playing positions (central defenders) - Sweeper and centre back.
Central midfielder playing positions (central midfielders) - Defensive midfielder and centre midfielder.
Central attacker playing positions (central attackers) - Attacking midfielder and striker.
Wide defender playing positions (wide defenders) - Full back and wing back.
Wide attacker playing positions (wide attackers) - Wide midfielder and winger.
More advanced playing positions - Those playing positions closer to the opposition team's goal.
Deeper playing positions - Those playing positions closer to the team's own goal.