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Five types of player you always find at 5-a-side football

Words by Nathan Irvine

The one who doesn't turn up, didn't turn up in this list.

I've played 5-a-side football all across the world. From parks in Manhattan and stadiums in Seville, to waterlogged pitches in Dublin and part-time car parks in Bath.

Right now I'm plying my increasingly laboured trade on the pitches in the UAE. But it doesn't matter where I've played football, I always seem to come across the same type of players.

It doesn't matter where in the world they're from, there seems to be a universal code that these five specific types will turn up sooner or later.

So here are five types of player you will always find at 5-a-side football.



The Ringer

You know how it is – it gets within an hour of kick off and someone messages the group to say they can’t make it. They’ve forgotten their shorts this time. But you know who never forgets their kit ever? The Ringer. These people pack a sports bag every single morning just on the off chance they’re called to make up the numbers at short notice. They’re like superheroes – quickly changing from their everyday clothes into a footie kit before dashing across town to save the day. All hail The Ringer.


The Greedy One

This is one player that you simply don’t want on your side. Even in the warm up they’ve got tunnel vision for shooting at goal – just missing the face of the unaware keeper as he stretches out. It gets worse when the game begins. They’ve picked up a few tricks from playing video games such as FIFA and now fancy themselves as Neymar. Sadly, he's nowhere near as good. To make matters worse, their end product is usually awful. So whilst you don’t even get a sniff of the ball due to their refusal to pass, you have to repeatedly watch them lose possession or hoof the ball over the fence for an hour.


The Cut Above

They could’ve gone pro. It’s not that they’ve mentioned this to anyone, you can just tell by the instant touch and body swerves they effortlessly blow through during the game. They’re almost impossible to take the ball from and defenders seem to bounce off them. This could be a really one-sided affair, but this type of player operates at around 40% of their abilities. You know, just to keep it fair. At any moment they could burst into mazy run and finish like a young Zinedine Zidane. But it’s too easy. Instead they make sure every player gets a touch of the ball even if you are screaming at them to unleash hell on the opposite team’s goal.


The Fouling Machine

You stand staring at the heavy-duty leg brace that this one is cranking around their appendage. There’s a knee support on the other leg. Just how fragile is this guy? Two minutes in and a slide tackle flies in from nowhere and suddenly the body armour makes sense – they’re going to war with the opposition. It’s “bodies on the line” stuff. There’s shirt pulling. Trips from behind. And was that rabbit punch to the kidney you just felt? Yes. Yes it was. The worst part is that they always say “sorry” after each incident. The apology means nothing, mind – they do it every week.


The Leader

At first you’re a bit concerned about all of the instructions that are being barked and wild gesticulations thrown your way. “They’re taking it a bit serious” you think. But then it all makes sense. This loud person is, in their own way, guiding you to victory. They’re like Roy Keane in his pomp. Sure, you may shrivel when you play a pass in the wrong direction and they chastise you. But play a neat one-two that leads to a goal and they’re the first person to shout something positive. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions for 60 minutes, but at least this leader is guiding you from the front.

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