What’s in a Number?… A Soccer Jersey Number That Is

I never really thought about what jersey numbers my girls wore.  The first day of U9 they handed out uniforms smallest to largest and that’s how the girls got their numbers.  They’ve had those numbers now for 3 or 4 years and have them embroidered on backpacks and jackets.

Our club is about to get new uniforms and our coach thought it would be a great time to reassign all the girls according to their positions.  As usual, I had no clue what that meant so I went straight to the source…Google of course.  Here’s what I found…

The jersey number traditionally denotes the position of a soccer player. Despite the establishment of squad numbers, jerseys 1 to 11 are often given to the first choice line-up according to their positions on the field.

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


But there are really three numbers that have special meaning…

1.Number 10
The Jersey number 10 is now worn exclusively by the greatest players. The soccer scoreboards showed that it was worn by the legends of the game, Pele, Maradona, Zidane are only a few to name, and now it is worn by Lionel Messi, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Rooney etc. Jersey number 10 is now regarded as a legacy and is given to only those who deserve this honor. Players like Messi, Kaka, Rooney and Ronaldinho certainly are the deserving ones as they brought laurels for their respective countries. Players who wear number 10 are regarded as great players who have changed the game in some way, and who raised the bar of the game for the future.

2.Number 7
Number 7 is worn by Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal. Ronaldo is known as one of the best players in the world. Although some people think that he is overrated and that fans love him more for his looks and because he has the same name as Brazil’s Ronaldo. I disagree though; Ronaldo is a great player and has brought a lot to the game of soccer. David Beckham, when started his career also wore the number 7 jersey, but he does not wear the same number now.

3.Number 23
Two players come to mind when you hear or see the number 23; Michael Jordan and David Beckham. Beckham, after moving to Real Madrid, wore the number 23 jersey as a tribute to Michael Jordan. He wears the same number when he plays his the national team, England.

4. Number 9
Though this number is not famous right now, at one point in time it was. Number 9 was worn by the Brazilian footballer, Ronaldo. He has now made way for the greats of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo but he was outstanding in his day. He was a part of the Brazilian winning team in thew 2002 World Cup.


Well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my little soccer girl was so excited when her coach listed her as the mythical#10. Not sure if she’s going to change, but she might even be to convince me that it’s worth a new jacket and backpack.

Update: Little soccer girl loved wearing the #10, but when she switched teams it was already taken.  She chose #23 after David Beckham…and I had to tell her about Michael Jordan was.  lol

7 thoughts on “What’s in a Number?… A Soccer Jersey Number That Is

  1. loved this post! I have a “soccer son” who is number 10…I’m certain the soccer greats and their past use of this number is why he chose it several years ago. I, however, had no clue. Thanks for the background info, he’ll be so impressed with my new knowledge!

    1. the soccer jersey # doesn’t matter its just to keep the team in order like instead of names they use numbers. this also is used when a player scores, or gets carded.

  2. Wow. All these years of soccer and I’m still learning. Our girls get numbers just by picking and first dibs. And they are both #10! But we’ve been all over the board. At club last year, we even had girls in the 70’s, because they moved and we altered the numbers to blend with the new team. But 10…that’s been a good number for both my girls…way better than 70, haha.

  3. Great article and very informative. My daughter is 8 and a U9 player in New Orleans. Her first number was # 7 (after seeing Dad’s Beckham jerseys) but she idolized Lionel Messi and hence wore the 10 shirt for several years. She has somehow channeled Cristiano Ronaldo and is now wearing #7 (along with his Nike vapor cleats!). Numbers matter to about 90% of her team which is awesome. Will be looking for more posts. Again, well done Real So Cal Soccer Mom

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