In soccer, what does it mean to be given the # 10 shirt?

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    Unlike any jersey number in any other sport, the No. 10 jersey in soccer carries with it a certain caché, a sense of prestige, a sign of respect. For as long as I can remember, the 10 shirt has been the hottest commodity on the youth level and what the best players strive toward earning.


    But how did that come about? It’s partially because the game’s all-time greats, including Pele and Diego Maradona, donned the number while starring on the biggest stages for their countries. A generation of children worldwide grew up idolizing everything about them, from their fancy footwork to their passing panache to the shirts on their backs. Kids identified with everything about them, extending to what number they wore.


    Fixed numbers assigned to each player, called squad numbers, for the duration of a competition was introduced first during the 1954 World Cup. 40 years later, The Football Association (governing body of English football) abandoned the required use of 1-11 for the starters and squad numbers became the rules during the 1993-94 English Premier League season. Nowadays most of the top football leagues in the world adopted the squad numbers system.

    Below is the traditional numbering of players in a modern 4-2-3-1 formation:

    1 – GoalkeeperSoccer jersey numbers by position

    2 – Right fullback

    3 – Left fullback

    4 – Center back

    5 – Center back

    6 – Defending/Holding midfielder

    7 – Right midfielder/wingers

    8 – Central/Box-to-box midfielder

    9 – Striker

    10 – Attacking midfielder/Playmaker

    11 – Left midfielder/wingers

    Because the assignment of jersey numbers by football position is a tradition and not a rule, teams are free to give numbers to their players as they want.

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